In a world of job portals and hiring black holes, just getting an interview can feel like an impossible task. I’ve been there. Now that I’ve seen the other side of the curtain, I can disclose in our defense that HR departments and recruiters are parsing through hundreds of resumes on a regular basis. Those are intimidating odds where every interaction counts.
Phone interviews can be used to speak with candidates who are geographically unavailable, but more often than not they are merely the first hurdle in a hiring process. Phone screens allow employers to get a brief look into the personality and skill set a candidate brings to the table without blocking key decision-makers’ schedules, reserving conference rooms, and struggling through an hour-long interview that’s clearly not a fit. Phone interviews also allow employers to evaluate a larger number of candidates before narrowing down the talent pool.
If all goes well, you’ll get an interview with the hiring manager and team. If the phone call is botched, you’ll go back to canvasing LinkedIn and Indeed. Follow the tips below to dial-up success.
- Set the scene. A corner booth at a busy Starbucks is no place to have a phone interview. It’s loud. It’s distracting. And your interviewer won’t think you respect their time. Find a quiet place that allows you to hear and be heard.
Eliminate any and all distractions including cell phone notifications, televisions, pets, children, and computers. Some experts recommend keeping a laptop open in case you need to quickly research something. This is a terrible idea. Interviewers can hear you typing and there is no feasible way you can continue a conversation while Googling the answer to the last question.
- Talk the talk. During a phone interview, you and the other caller obviously aren’t able to read non-verbal cues. One of the most common mistakes candidates make during phone interviews is demonstrating very poor listening skills. Elaborate on all of your great experience, but make sure you’re leaving enough time for the interviewer to provide insight or follow-up questions.
Don’t forget that we’re relying solely on verbal communication. You must also use proper grammar and pronunciation.
- Don’t forget your body language. We can’t see you, but your non-verbal cues do influence how you sound. First, sit up straight. You should not conduct a phone interview on an overstuffed couch or comfy bed. Sitting at a table or desk will prevent you from sounding groggy.
Dress professionally. If you’re wearing your jammies, you’re definitely not going to feel confident and prepared.
Most importantly, smile. It changes the inflection in your voice and interviewers can hear the difference.
- Use a cheat sheet. Your interviewer can hear you typing on a laptop, but we surely cannot discern your pencil jotting notes. Have your resume and a blank sheet of paper available in order to take notes and write down questions along the way.
A phone interview is not the time to be nonchalant about your preparation. It can be even more difficult to impress someone without shaking their hand and looking them in the eye. Take a little effort with the suggestions above and you’ll have no problem standing out from the crowd – in a good way.
Written by: Hannah Spellmeyer
We have all gone through some sort of interviewing process to land a job in our professional careers. Being interviewed can be somewhat intimidating; however, it should be very informative for both the employer and candidate alike. As a candidate, you should gather as much information as possible to make certain that the company/opportunity matches what you are looking for. Consider asking questions throughout the process–asking questions (always in a respectful manner) is perfectly acceptable and is certainly welcomed by hiring managers. It serves two distinctive benefits. The first benefit is that you will be provided with valuable information in your decision making process. The second benefit is that it conveys a high level of interest to the company along with the fact that you are taking the interview seriously.
Always do the appropriate amount of research prior to the interview. Be sure to know the company (i.e. history, size, and products/services provided). There are always the generic questions to ask such as company growth/ goals/direction; however, consider exploring the history of the position itself. An obvious question to ask (but often ignored) is why is the role open? The best answer you can receive is that your predecessor was promoted and has moved up in the organization. Obviously, this is a good sign because it demonstrates growth potential from within. If they divulge that the incumbent was terminated or resigned, I would recommend investigating further. Due to confidentiality, the interviewer may not be able to give specific details why that person is no longer in the role. Ask how long they were in the role. If it was a short period of time, ask about the person in the position before the most recent incumbent. Try to establish a history or pattern about the role. If you discover that your predecessors were in the role for short periods of time, this may not be the best opportunity.
Engage the interviewer in conversation regarding their time and history with the organization. Ask about their previous work experience and how they came to be in their current role. Also, ask them to elaborate on their successes as well as challenges within the organization. In my experience, most hiring managers enjoy talking about themselves especially if they have had a positive experience with the company.
Finally, ask for the job! If you are satisfied with the information that you have gathered and you feel the opportunity is a great fit, then ask for the job itself. At the very least, ask the interviewer if there was anything during the interview that would prevent them from hiring you. If they say no, then ask for the next step. Interviewers really like that level of confidence, especially if it is for a sales role. Don’t be shy, close the deal!
Written by : Chad Hardin
Chad Hardin is a Technical Recruiter at Godshall Professional Recruiting and Staffing. He has been with the company for over 2 and half years. Hardin has more than 15 years of recruiting experience and has additional experience in training, business management, office operations, marketing, and sales. Hardin graduated from the University of South Carolina Upstate with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and completed the General Motors Marketing Internship Program as an undergrad.