The objective of the Phone Interview for a Hiring Company is to screen out the interviewee so they won’t waste time in aface to face meeting. Here are 10 Steps for the interviewee that will position them successfully to get the invite for a face to face meeting:
This is a screening out event and little will happen if you are not taken to the next step! The “interview day,” is where you’ll get a sense if the role is a good career move or you can see yourself fitting in with the company culture (phone screens are poor vehicles for learning much of this), so focus on positives only.
Every example or point that is made on the call should demonstrate how excellent you are at the work that you do. Everything said should provide a reason to want to hire you. Leave your “concerns” for the face to face meetings and only “sell” your career brand to the phone screener based on their specific questions. Demonstrate your knowledge about the role, industry and company.
This is not the time to bring up queries of any type having to do with benefits, compensation, commute, vacation, etc. – only topics that will prompt an invite. This is not the venue to learn if the job is the right one or not (unless it is way off the mark) – but to impress the phone screener that you communicate well, are a confident “get it done” person, are positive and upbeat (be charming & smart).
You SHOULD ask questions – but only about the role itself to better understand it (you should already know enough about the company so avoid questions about it). Demonstrate that you know your business based on the questions that you ask (questions can tell more about a person than their answers…).
Keep your answers short and to the point, no longer than 2 minutes. This will keep answers focused and on target (two minutes is a long time!).
On the other hand, avoid monosyllabic answers – they want to hear what you have to say (just don’t go past two minutes…)
Do not speak over the phone screener’s words (let them talk - they’ll appreciate you for it and it will eat up the clock). Wait until there is a pause then wait another second before charging in – this will portray a thoughtful interchange.
Most importantly, relax and have fun with the call – if you are working with a recruiter, they’ve already told the interviewer a lot about you and they’re basically checking to make sure that they’re right – so the job is pretty much over before it begins if you just be yourself. Look at the phone screen as a “Professional Conversation” between two industry veterans who are sharing ideas about industry topics.
Think of the call as an “advanced networking” event where you are able to make a new contact who if impressed can potentially help advance your career progression or professional development.
Don’t read too much into whether you are asked to meet in person or not – there is really very little anyone can tell about someone from a phone call – so there is no reason to get upset! (…can you tell we’re not a fan of these calls?).
In addition to the above, it is important to do a bit of research so you come across as confident and professional. The more “unknowns” you have the greater the possibility that you will seem unsure of yourself. Eliminate as many of the unknowns as you can beforehand:
ü Review the objectives for the role (short term and long term)
ü Understand who the hiring manager is and look them up on the Internet (LinkedIn)
ü Understand how the team and division is organized (get this from the recruiter)
ü Review the company business value propositions, their size, the typical clients, products and services – what makes them successful…
ü Review your resume and memorize the dates, job titles and companies you have work with throughout your career
ü Be able to expand on 2-3 functional accomplishments that you have done in the last 2-3 years that is aligned with the type of work you will be asked to do
Finally, you certainly want to be personable and likeable on the call, so spending a few minutes establishing a human link (breaking the ice) is a good thing. If there is something in the phone screener’s background you can genuinely mention a connection with – do so! At the very least the weather or a past visit to their city is always easy to talk about (avoid any gossip, joke or innuendo that may get misconstrued…).
Most importantly, good luck!