Monday, November 29, 2010

How To Handle The Phone Interview

“Today is yesterday’s pupil.” – - Thomas Fuller

Recently, hiring managers and recruiters have turned to the phone interview as a method of cutting down their enormous list of applicants to a select few who are eligible for an in-person interview. The method has grown in popularity because it can help make the search process more efficient and also cost-effective. Unfortunately, that means it also creates a bigger obstacle than you would like to deal with if you hope to go on to do the in-person interview. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed at a phone interview. You just have to be aware of how the context of a phone interview means you must do more to make a meaningful connection and impression. Here are a few things to consider as you get ready for that phone interview.


You used to be able to go into a phone interview expecting a few questions and nice ten minute chat, but nowadays, phone interviews can last between thirty minutes to an hour. So what are you going to talk about for so long? Well, everything you normally would in an in-depth personal interview. The preparation here is very similar to what you would do before showing up to meet the recruiters in person. Likewise, you should also prepare your schedule. Make sure you have plenty of time before and after the time slot so you have flexibility to adjust to a change in schedule.

Set the Scene

A phone interview is a little different than an in-person interview because it lets you have a home-field advantage. You can do the interview when and wherever you’d like, within reason of course. This means that you can make yourself as comfortable and prepared as possible, which you wouldn’t be able to do in a meeting room. Try spreading out your notes, resume, and letter of application on your kitchen. By doing this, you can make sure you have all the necessary information within easy reach.

Observe Phone Etiquette

This may seem like common sense to you, but you’d be surprised how many horror stories are out there about poor phone interview etiquette. For example, don’t do an interview while you’re in the car or eating lunch. One thing to do is to answer the phone clearly and state your name. This will show the interviewer that you are expecting the scheduled call. It will also save him or her the hassle of asking to speak to you if all you had said was ‘Hello?’ when you picked up. And because you do not have visual clues to help you in following the conversation, don’t be afraid to ask for the interviewer to repeat a question. Similarly, refrain from speaking while the other
person is speaking. And lastly, be aware of the circumstances that go along with having a phone call. Try to establish a way of getting back in touch if the call drops. If you can remain calm and collected over the phone, think of the success you’ll have at the in-person interview. Good luck!

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