The telephone interview is usually the first step in any interview process. Hiring managers use the call as a screening tool to see if you’re a quality candidate. If you make a great first impression during the short round of questions, you’ll most likely be selected (among other applicants) for further screening. These candidates are then drawn into a pool of potential hires that the company will interview face-to-face at a later date.
So how to you get started with the process? Below for some expert tips to assist you on phone interviews:
- Keep your resume near you at all times: When the phone does finally ring out of the blue, will you be ready to discuss your work history? What about dates and details, specifics surrounding your accomplishments? If you’re expecting to “guesstimate” and hedge some answers – then expect to hear a click on the other end of the line. Your interviewer wants to hear hard facts and clear answers, so it’s alright to keep a cheat sheet in front of you to prevent any misunderstandings. Even interview pros like yourself can get caught off guard once in a while. To quell any fears about forgetting your qualifications, keep a copy of your resume folded up by your phone or in your wallet at all times. That way, you’ll have an instant reference guide if you need to do some split second fact checking.
- Be positive and energetic about everything: No one wants to hire a boring candidate. If you come off as sluggish and dull over the phone, then you’ve blown your chances at landing an in-person interview later on. Keep your enthusiasm up and you’ll find your interviewer’s attitude will naturally begin to match your own. Be kind, courteous, and grateful for your interviewer’s time. Likability is a huge factor as a potential candidate, so you should start fostering a positive perception of yourself right from the get-go. Never speak poorly of a previous employer. If anyone asks, just give glowing reviews. You want to present yourself as a blockbuster hit, so leave out all excess baggage.
- Treat every question as an opportunity to market yourself: Remember, this call is your time to shine – hit on all your strong points and turn every question you hear into a marketing opportunity. The product you’re marketing is of course, yourself. By the end of the call, your interviewer should be head over heels, enamored by the sounds of your best-fit qualifications. Use the opportunity to inquire about future conversations. Your interviewer may let their honest opinion slip.
In the end, you really only get out what you put in. Don’t expect the glide through the phone interview process halfheartedly. But as long as you keep your resume close by, charisma in your voice, and confidence in your heart, you should be on your way to the next round of interviews.