Telephone interviews are popular for a first screening interview. Many companies choose this method for first interviews for prospective interns. Arranging for candidates to fly or drive in is expensive and can be time-consuming for everyone. This first meeting might be with a company recruiter. It can last between 20 minutes to an hour. Your success at this critical juncture will often earn you either a phone or live meeting with the hiring manager.
5 Secrets for a Great Phone Interview
Make the Right Choice
If the company asks if you wish to meet in person or have a phone interview, always choose the live meeting. Typically you don’t have a choice, but sometimes you will. Being face to face always puts you in the best position to impress and connect with the interviewer. It is usually always worth taking the extra time and effort to meet in person, especially if the employer is within driving or commuting distance.
Do the same preparation for a phone interview that you would for a normal one. Study the company; know their products and capabilities. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to find out what they are communicating socially. Look up your interviewer’s profile on LinkedIn to find out things about them that you may have in common. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile before your meeting too. It makes sense to practice answering some basic interview questions. Practice the answer to “walk me through your resume” so you are succinct and hit on the key points. Be ready to explain why you want the job and why you would succeed.
Make sure you set the appointment for a time when you can talk without interruption or background noise. Preferably you are in a quiet room on a landline, and not walking back from lecture surrounded by classmates. Always be ready to be flexible too. Your interviewer might request a Skype or video interview or a change in time at the last minute so be ready for anything.
Stand and Smile
Stand up during the interview because your voice will project much stronger than if you are sitting down. Another recommendation is to smile while on the phone. Hiring managers want enthusiastic and optimistic employees and interns. Standing and smiling is a great little trick to make you sound even more strong and positive.
You don’t want to simply answer each question without some active engagement. If you need to think of an answer to the recruiter’s question, ask the interviewer to rephrase or repeat. Engagement also means active listening so take notes about important things you learn. Don’t interrupt, but also try to mention something you have learned about the company that you find interesting or learned on social media. Ask questions naturally during the interview if it feels appropriate. You also want to save some great questions for the end. Most interviewers will ask “Do you have any other questions” at the close of the meeting so you need to be prepared. One of your final questions will be “What are the next steps?”
Telephone interviews are critically important for job seekers to master. What are your secrets to success with a phone interview?