Some employers use phone interviews to shorten the list of candidates for face-to-face interviews. No problem- a phone interview is just like any other interview, right? Not exactly…
Employers sometimes conduct a round of phone interviews to narrow down the list of people they want to invite for a personal interview. So most phone interviews are essentially an extension of your resume. The goal isn’t to close the deal, but to convince the employer that you deserve a face-to-face meeting.
Typically, phone interviewers will ask a list of boilerplate questions designed to clarify the qualifications that are described in your resume. But they are also looking for verbal cues to assess your personality and your ability to communicate with clarity.
With that in mind, here are several tips you can use to nail phone interviews and move on to the first round of face-to-face interviews.
Find a quiet place
Leverage printed materials
Respond with enthusiasm
Be comprehensive, but high level
Expect the interviewer to ask for a phone number where you can be reached at the designated interview time. Unless you have no other options, don’t provide the employer with a mobile phone number. In many locations, mobile coverage is simply too unreliable. Instead, find a landline located in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for up to an hour.
Before the call, arrange your space with printed materials that can be leveraged during the interview. At a minimum, lay out a copy of resume, the job description and any notes you have made about the employer’s company.
One of the tricky things about a phone interview is that it can be difficult to remain focused while the interviewer is talking. The visual cues of a face-to-face interview won’t be available to you, so you’ll need to listen attentively to avoid having to ask the interviewer to repeat questions.
Another drawback of a non-visual interview is that the interviewer won’t be able to read your face for signs of passion or interest. Don’t overdo it, but respond to the interviewer with the same enthusiasm as you would in a face-to-face interview, allowing your voice to project your excitement about the position.
A phone interview usually isn’t the place to go into exhaustive detail about your work experience and hiring credentials. Remember: the purpose of the phone interview is to clarify your qualifications for a face-to-face interview – not to solicit an immediate job offer. So while you should answer the interviewer’s questions as completely as possible and include a few quantitative measurements of your achievements, try to keep your responses at a fairly high level.
Take notes throughout the interview and document any additional information the interviewer provides about the company or the position. If you meet the interviewer in person, your notes can form the basis of a strategy continue and deepen the conversation in the face-to-face interview.