If an interview by phone seems daunting, take heed. Though the non-verbal dynamics of phone and in-person interviews differ, their purpose and content do not. In both cases, employers are assessing talent, experience, and motivation—and deciding whom to invite for the next step, usually a face-to-face meeting.
Without the visual cues of a personal meeting, you might feel disoriented at first. With preparation and experience, however, you’ll make phone meetings manageable, productive, and even enjoyable.
Take a look at the following checklist. If you take the action outlined below, you’ll be well-equipped to make the most of your interview opportunity.
►Note the name and title of the person who contacts you about the interview. It’s often a representative from Human Resources (HR). Occasionally, it is a member of a search committee.
►Request the name (including spelling) and title of the person who will be interviewing you.
–If your interview is with an HR representative, it’ll probably be for “screening” purposes (brief and general) to determine which candidates should get a follow-up meeting with the Hiring Decision Maker (HDM).
–If your interview is with the HDM, the interview will be more specific to the job, and it may take longer.
►Ask about the interview’s time frame: 10 minutes? A half-hour? An hour?
►Schedule the interview at a time and location that are free of distractions. If it’s during work hours and privacy isn’t possible, try to arrange the call for your lunch hour, or take time off. Make sure you’ll be comfortable. Avoid an interview call in your car.
►If you use a cell phone, make sure it’s fully charged and that you’ll have good reception at the place where you’ll be interviewing.
►Make sure you understand the logistics of the call—who calls whom when, what number(s) to use, time zone differences, etc.
►Just as for a face-to-face interview, do your homework. The more you understand about the organization and its industry trends, the more targeted your conversation can be.
The Interview Itself
→ Be ready for the call.
→ Get names (including correct spellings) and titles of interviewer(s).
→ Have water nearby in case you cough or your voice breaks.
→ If you have a headset, use it—especially for a longer call.
→ Remember that the interviewer has no visual cues either. The only non-verbals either of you have are voice-related.
→ Stand up during the call. It’ll allow your voice more “room” and help convey more natural energy. A smile conveys energy, too.
→ Prepare as you would for the content of an in-person meeting. Expect questions like: Tell me about yourself. Why do you want to work here? Why did you leave your last job?
→ Keep notes, key points you want to make, and questions you’d like to ask within sight. Maybe even keep something inspiring in your field of vision.
→ If you’re interviewing from home, consider dressing as you would for a face-to-face meeting.
→ Ask about the next step and take responsibility for follow-up.
• Send a thank you message to your interviewer. Keep your letter brief and direct.
Phone interviews are on the upswing. The extra layer of contact lengthens the hiring timeline, but it reduces the chance of inviting the wrong candidates for face-to-face meetings.
Using this phone interview toolkit will ensure that your call’s logistics are managed well. By handling the details unique to phone meetings, you’ll reduce your stress and come across more clearly and confidently.
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! CONGRATULATIONS !
Lisa Schechter, Ph.D., will move from the academic world to a position as a Senior Scientist in the Microbiology Research and Development program at bioMerieux.
Liz Brennan, who formerly worked in retail management, was hired by US Bank for a management position.
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Consider a CAP (Career Action Planning) Session if you:
> Feel stuck or stalled in your career
> Are worried about a layoff
> Wonder if it’s not just a new job but a new career you need
> Have been looking for work but not getting results.
In this 90-120-minute meeting, we can get to the root of your career problem and come up with a plan to solve it.
For more information call me at 314-752-1373 or use the comment form on my website.
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