The Phone Interview: Based on a conversation with Tish Noble, Executive Director of The O’Neil Search Group
At the request of our clients, we’ve been setting up more and more phone interviews between clients and candidates lately. Employers use the phone interview as a pre-screening process. Before employers invite a candidate in and clear the schedules of everyone who needs to meet with them, they want to make sure that the candidate is worth exploring as a future employee.
Important Tips for the Phone Interview:
Prepare for a phone interview much like you would prepare for an in-person one. Do extensive research on the company and the position. Do some thinking about what makes you the right person for this company and this job. Look at the bios of people with whom you will be working.
The interviewer will most likely call you at the appointed time. Make sure you are in a quiet place where you get good reception. If there is a lot of background noise or the call gets dropped, you may be out of the running before you even get to make your case.
As in any interview, communication is key. However, in this case, you cannot communicate via body language or facial expressions. So make an effort to sound upbeat, intelligent and professional. And remember to smile! Although your interviewer cannot see you, you can always hear in someone’s voice when they are smiling. (Most people have no idea how they actually sound on the phone, so it is not a bad idea to practice with a friend beforehand.)
Make sure you use this opportunity to get to the next step – an in-person interview – by making use of the preparation you have already done. Mention that you have done research on the company and tell them why you think you would be a good addition to the company. Tell them you have looked at bios of the other employees and that these are the people with whom you would like to align your career.
At the end of the phone interview, thank your interviewer for his or her time. If they have provided you with an email address, it is never a bad idea to send a thank you note.