Chances are that you will have to do a phone interview when looking for a job. Most large companies like IBM, Kraft or Apple won't bring you in for an interview until you've passed the interview with one of their recruiters. As a job seeker this is the first step to being considered for a position with a company.
The recruiters at companies are there to make sure that you have the basic skills and experience needed for the job opening they are attempting to fill. They are not the hiring managers, yet if you don't have a great initial interview with them you will not make it to the next step, so you need to be your best when speaking with them on the phone.
Phone interviews are tricky and more difficult to master than a face-face where you have an opportunity to get to know your interviewer. Most people perform better in person then on the phone. Here are some tips to help you make it past the "gatekeeper" to the next stage in hiring.
(10) Tips for a phone interview:
- Make sure that you do your interview from a land line versus a cell phone. You want to make sure you have good reception when you are interviewing. This is not the time for a "dropped call" from AT&T
- Schedule an interview at a time that you are most focused. If you function better in the morning after your coffee, than do the interview then.
- Find an area were you have no distractions. If you are at home make sure that there are no children or dogs or deliveries to worry about. You need to remain focused on the interview not other household responsibilities.
- Be prepared with the company information printed out and a list of talking points on the firm you are interviewing with. Have you resume and cover letter printed and in front of you for reference.
- Make sure you are not over caffeinated, drinking (believe me, so people actually drink when interviewed) or over tired.
- Listen to the interviewer's questions carefully before you respond. Better to say less than to ramble on about something they didn't ask.
- If they ask if you will relocate, say "yes" even if you don't want to move. You can work this out with a company when you actually get in front of a hiring manager and know more about the position.
- If you don't know what the compensation is for the job position, this is the time to ask what the pay is. You have a right to know this before you meet with a company. This should be the last question you ask the recruiter.
- Treat the company recruiter as you would the hiring manager; with respect and tolerance. They have the power to pass you on or toss your paperwork into the trash can.
- Be cordial, upbeat and specific in describing what value you can offer the company. Thank the recruiter for their time and ask when you may hear back from them and what the process is for selecting a candidate for the position.
Learning to master a phone interview will increase the number of interviews you have with hiring managers and the chance of getting a job. It all starts with the phone interview. A great phone interview will insure you get in to meet the decision makers and have an opportunity to tell them what value you bring to their company.