Often the first step in the interview process, is a phone interview, which could be between you and a recruiter, hiring manager or a team lead. The purpose of this initial call, is to do several things.
- Ask you some basic qualifying questions
- Check out your interest level
- Check out your communication style
This may be your only opportunity to get your foot in the door for a full interview, so you’ll want to impress your caller. Here are some tips:
Prepare for Your Phone Interview
1. Research your caller by looking at their LinkedIn profile and look for something you have in common. Perhaps you attended the same school or have a common connection. If the opportunity presents itself, make a comment about this commonality – it will warm them up to you.
2. Research the company and the position. Look at the company website and at the very least, know what market they serve and what their key products are. Read recent press releases and be aware of what they bring to their market. Also look for a detailed job description and have it handy during your phone interview.
3. Compile a few questions for your caller. It’s always good to have two or three questions ready for when your interviewer is done with their questions and they ask you “do you have any questions?” If they don’t, they could be pressed for time and it is perfectly ok to allow them to end the call. You can save your questions for the next step or the next interview. Check out our post on Interview Questions here.
During Your Phone Interview
Here are a few tips for when you are on a phone interview:
• If at all possible, do not use a cell phone for your call. Even though technology has gotten better, there is still the risk of a call being dropped and/or poor quality. Additionally, your interviewer may be calling from a cell phone and if you are both using one, the delay and interruption can be a barrier to good communication. So, when possible, opt for a land line.
• It’s also recommended that you find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. If you are at work, find a private conference room. If you have to use a cell phone, do not schedule the call for when you are commuting or otherwise in transition. You want to be able to focus on your interview to give it your best.
• Finally, if your interviewer doesn’t invite you for an in-person interview, it’s ok to bring it up. You might say, “is there a time when we could meet in person to discuss this opportunity?” or “I would be very interested in speaking to you in person about this great opportunity!” Employers like enthusiasm and people who are proactive. Go ahead and try to get them to the next step, but don’t be too pushy.
By taking the time to prepare for your phone interview, you will feel more confident and the interview should go smoothly.