Phone interviews are becoming more and more common in the job search process. They save the company and the candidate a lot of time. If you are in the job market, it is important to prepare yourself for a phone interview.
- Schedule it for a quiet time. If you have the opportunity to schedule the time of the phone interview, be sure to schedule it when you know you will be able to give them your full attention. Make sure the kids are busy, the dog is outside, and it is the most convenient time for you. You do not want to have any distractions or any loud noises that may be distractive to you and/or your interviewer; this can be a huge turnoff. However, in many cases you might not have the opportunity to previously set up the time of the call, so read the tips below to be prepared for that unexpected call.
- Have your resume next to the phone. Be sure it is the same copy you had sent out to the employer who is calling. Your interviewer will be looking at your resume throughout the interview, and you want to be sure you know exactly what he/she is talking about. It will help make the interview run smoothly if both parties are looking at the same guidelines of your history. You do not want to come off as being unsure of some of the details of your work history.
- Prepare notes. Have prepared answers ready to some basic questions like, “why do you want to work for our company?” or “why should I hire you?” Take advantage of the fact that this is over the phone. Use your notes to help you say exactly what you want to say. It is a good idea to use easy-to-read bullet points so you are not reading it out loud. Pick out areas on your resume that you might want to elaborate on. Remember, so far your resume is the only tool your caller has to know who you are. Sell yourself more than your resume does. See ResumeDoctor’s “Top 15 Interview Questions” to be better prepared.
- Research the company. Make sure you know the company. Use the Internet or make some phone calls to find out more about their product or mission. You should jot down a few things in your notes that you can refer to in case questions that require company knowledge come up. You will be remembered more than another candidate if you show interest and knowledge about their company.
- Have questions ready. Show your interest in the employer rather than focusing only on yourself. Have a few questions prepared in your notes that you might want to know about. Make the interview a bit more personal and more like a comfortable conversation; ask a question for them here and there.
- Know your schedule. If your interviewer is interested in setting up an actual face-to-face interview, know what your availability is. The last thing you would want to do is succeed in a phone interview only to tell them to call you back because you are not sure when you can meet them. Chances are, you will not hear from them. Have a copy of your schedule next to the phone also.
- Plan a closing. How many times have you thought of something you SHOULD HAVE said AFTER you left an interview? Do not let that happen again. Know that you have said everything you want to say before you get off the phone. Again, write down some notes as to any last things you might want to add or how you might want to close it.
By Mike Worthington, ResumeDoctor