Whether you make the cut for a job may depend on your success in a telephone interview. For many companies, this is the first step in determining if a candidate is a good fit to join their team. For instance, if a hiring manager is interested in 15 candidates, they may call all of them and based on what they hear, narrow the field to anywhere between three and seven people to call back for personal interviews.
How do you make the most of a telephone interview with a prospective employer?
Before: Be Prepared
Your phone interview may be scheduled in advance – or not. So, be prepared either way.
- Do your homework. Thoroughly research the company and your interviewers. One of the nice things about a phone interview is you can make some notes and have a “cheat sheet” in front of you – as long as you don’t read from it, word for word!
- If you’re caught off guard by the call, schedule another time to talk. Nobody will blame you for saying you are not at your desk and want to give them the full attention they deserve.
- Create a comfortable environment. Do whatever it takes for you to be at ease during your phone interview. Shut out any distractions and background noise. Print out your resume and highlight the key points you want to bring up. Be ready 10 minutes early and if using your cell phone, be sure it’s fully charged. If you plan to interview on a landline, turn off your cell. Have pen and paper handy to take notes; clicking on a keyboard can be very distracting.
During: Be a Pro
Now, more than ever, is the time to practice your active listening skills – and come across as a consummate professional.
- Let your interviewer take the lead. Listen first. Take notes so you can respond when it’s your turn to talk. Be attuned to things you have in common and look for ways to make connections. For instance, you may respond by saying, “We had a similar situation at XYZ Company. Here’s what I did …” Then, describe your successful results.
- On the phone, you must make a good impression with your voice. Smile as you speak. As you talk about what you’ve done, ask questions and share your enthusiasm, it will make a difference.
- Finish strong. End the call on a positive note and set the stage for follow-up. You might say something like, “Thank you for this opportunity. I’m confident I could fill the role, and I’m very interested in joining your team. What’s the next step?”
After: Be Patient
In many ways, a phone interview parallels an in-person interview. Afterwards, you don’t want to be a stalker, but you do want to follow up as a means of reiterating your interest and fit for the role.
- Send a thank-you note. Email it within one business day, but not immediately following the call. Reconfirm your interest and desire to take things to the next level.
- Follow up one week later – and again after two weeks. After three weeks, send one more message. After that, it’s up to the employer. Although disappointing, it’s probably time for you to move on to an even better opportunity.
For additional advice and guidance in your successful job-hunt strategy, partner with the pros at PrideStaff Modesto. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.