Many candidates express concern when we contact them to set up a phone interview with a potential future employer. This worry comes from individuals with a couple years of experience all the way up to Senior Executives. It really isn’t surprising since most of us are uncomfortable and don’t know what to expect in the interview process regardless of whether it is in person or on the phone.
After all, most of us don’t go through a stressful process like a job transition very often. The good thing is we as a company do this every day. One thing I tell candidates to consider is that a phone interview is just like any other interview and should be taken just as seriously. After all, it is the hiring manager/HR manager or recruiter’s first impression of you.
- Preparation starts from the moment you received a phone interview request. Note: If they ask if you can do a phone interview now, I would recommend you say no unless you know the company, role and are well prepared. Most often you may not remember the company and what the role was for if you have been applying for numerous jobs in a short period of time. It is okay to say you that right now isn’t a good time, but you would love to schedule another time. What time would the interviewer be available? I recommend you provide them some other dates and times where you could ensure you are well prepared and would not be disturbed or pre-occupied.
- Be ready for the call 10-15 minutes before the scheduled phone interview time. This is like any other interview. You want to make sure you have everything ready; you are in the “zone” and ready to “talk about yourself” and not think about anything else.
- Be prepared and dress for success. Would you interview in your PJ’s? Dress the way you would in person. You want to make sure you are in “Character” and feel like you are in a professional interview.
- Have a copy of your resume, the job posting (if available) to be able to reference if needed. Do not read directly off of your resume as you will sound scripted and not very confident about your background, work history and what you accomplished. After all, your resume should accurately reflect who and what your potential new corporation would be getting in you as a new member of their team.
- Have a glass of water on standby just in case you do a lot of talking and your mouth gets dry. The last thing you want is to have a coughing spell or sound unclear when speaking.
- Interview in a private area where you will not be disturbed and are free from distractions and noise. Dogs barking in the background disturbs your train of thought and your interview.
- Standing when you are on the phone is helpful as it reduces pressure on your diaphragm and helps you speak more clearly and confidently.
- Have a pen and paper available to write down any important questions or additional information during the interview process.
- At the end of the interview thank them for their time and the opportunity to be considered for a position with their organization. Most importantly, express your interest in the role and ask them if there is anything that they need further clarification on. This is you one opportunity to address something they may have missed or misunderstood. It is also an opportunity to clear up communication with the future employer by handling any of their questions or potential objections they provide during the interview process. There is no such thing as too much detail when trying to demonstrate your abilities. Remember, the goal is to move you forward in the interview process.
- Send a Thank you email reiterating your interest in the opportunity and look forward to the next interview. This is probably missed 50% of the time.