Phone interviews are de rigueur with many organizations.
Companies conduct phone interviews for a number of reasons.
It's a way to screen out the dead wood.
It gives the next interviewer baseline information from which to work.
It saves money.
So, how do you prep for a powerful phone interview?
And how is it different from a face-to-face interview?
Recently, three of my clients aced their phone interviews.
Here's what we learned works.
Prepping for the phone interview:
If you need to call from work or from a phone booth or a cell phone, tell the
screener/interviewer what the circumstances are. It's better to explain ahead
of time than to suddenly have to stop midway through because of noise or an
Stand up. You project stronger energy when you stand. Or even better,
walk around. Remember, the interviewer has only your words and the sound of your
voice with which to judge you. You will come across more upbeat and enthusiastic
if you stand.
Even for a phone interview, you need to do your homework. The
interviewer will be asking, "Why do you want to work at XYZ Company?" and "What
do you know
Be prepared to answer classic questions, such as: "Tell me about a
difficult situation you handled well," "What are your areas of development?" or an
all-time favorite: "Why should we hire you?" If you need help in formulating answers
to these questions, see the suggested reading section below.
Keep your responses brief, 1 - 3 sentences maximum. Choose your
words carefully, and be focused. Answer the question. Do not go off on a tangent.
This is even more important in the phone interview stage, where the interviewer will
appreciate your succinctness.
Have water and throat lozenges handy. If you get dry mouth (don't you
hate that), these can be lifesavers.
How is a phone interview different from a face-to-face interview?
You can use crib notes. And I would. Just in case you get the jitters or
have a senior moment, have your responses written out (in bullet form). It's better
than any security blanket.
The timbre and inflection of your voice is critical. Modulate your voice to
avoid sounding monotone. When I was a recruiter and conducted phone interviews,
I could pick up immediately by the tone of the person's voice whether they had the
requisite drive for the job.
A phone interview is brief, sometimes 20 minutes or less. It is oftentimes
a screening rather than an interview. There won't be a lot of follow-up questions
based upon your responses. You won't get to connect with the interviewer. It may
feel formulaic. The interviewer asks a question, and you respond. This is normal.
You will know immediately if you have done well. They will tell you they
are passing you on. If you haven't done well, you will get a vague response. Ask
when you should follow-up.
Finally, like a face-to-face interview, always send a thank-you note. A
handwritten note is best. Sending an e-mail is acceptable, but less personal. Thank
the interviewer for her time. Say you enjoyed the conversation and look forward to
taking the next step. Indicate you will follow up within the appropriate time frame.
A successful phone interview is a wonderful prep for the in-person gig. You've
learned what your top lines are. You've done your research. You've made it to the
next step. And your confidence level is up.
So, when you get the chance for a phone interview, embrace the opportunity. It's
practice for the main event.
Dale Kurow, M.S., is an author and a career and executive coach in NYC.
Dale works with clients across the U.S. and internationally, helping them to become
better managers, figure out their next career moves and thrive despite office
politics. Visit Dale's web site at http://www.dalekurow.com/newsletter
to sign-up for her free monthly ezine "Career Essentials," chocked full of
useful career tips and strategies you can use immediately.