Phone Interview Tips

Phone Interview Tips
Phone Interviews: Five Tricks for Standing Out
By staff
Phone interviews are a useful tool for potential employers — the conversations help screen candidates quickly and determine who’s worth a face-to-face meeting. So when you’ve sent out and uploaded your resume online, it’s essential to be ready to kick booty when the phone rings. Here’s how:

Know what you speak of: Make sure you have a copy of your resume, the cover letter you sent and the original job description in a folder near your phone. It’s also nice to add information about the company, the person who may be calling to interview you and any potential questions you know you’ll want to ask. Be sure to be armed with a pencil and paper for taking notes.

Rehearse your responses: Prep for the conversation by thinking about the job and the qualities a candidate must have. How do your strengths match up? What are your weaknesses? Anticipate questions you might be asked and consider how you’ll answer them. Bounce ideas off a friend if you’re concerned about a particular aspect of the job description or use Monster’s Advice Forums to gain information from others in that industry.

Watch your language: In a phone interview, it is important to speak slowly and clearly. Remember, the quality of your conversation and your ability to answer questions is all the interviewer has to go on over the phone. Keep the “ums,” “ahs” and “you knows” to a minimum (think about the Caroline Kennedy debacle. Don’t use slang or other informal language.

Think before you speak: Take the time you need to answer the interview questions completely and thoughtfully. Be sure not to interrupt or begin answering the question before the interviewer has finished speaking; there may be more to the question than you realize. If the interviewer calls at a time that is inconvenient for you, while you’re at work or in a noisy environment, arrange another phone meeting in the near future.

Ask for a meeting: If you feel the interview has gone well, be confident and direct enough to request a face-to-face by saying, “Would it be possible for us to meet in person and continue our conversation? I’d really like to have the opportunity to meet you.” If the interviewer says no, or shies away from making a commitment, be sure you understand what the next step will be. Will they call if they want to meet you? E-mail? If you are out of the running, will they let you know? Taking the time to close the deal proves your competence once again. Understanding the next step will help you sleep easier at night — always a good thing when you are on the job hunt.

About Nicole:

Career expert and best-selling author of Girl on Top, Nicole Williams is redefining the world of work — making it glamorous, entertaining and relevant to modern women. Nicole founded WORKS by Nicole Williams in 2006 with the vision of building the first media and content company focused on career development specifically for the highly dynamic and powerful market of young professional women. Her Web site,, is the go-to destination site for modern working women.

Monday, November 23, 2009
How to Thrive In a Job Phone Interview

"Job hunting starts at the phone interview. To get the job, you need to present yourself well over the phone - say the right things, mind your tone, and be confident overall. To see how you can do this, read this article so you can land a job."

Phone interviews are frequently used by companies to save time by pre-qualifying your interest and expertise. The following are some recommendations to ensure your next phone interview is successful for you.

Isolate Yourself
Phone interviews place you at a disadvantage because you only have one tool of communication, your voice. The interviewer's impression of you is shaped by all the sounds coming through the phone. Insulate yourself from distractions and background noises. Do not have your phone interview when you are surrounded by a lot of noise like an outdoor café at a busy intersection. If the call is on your cell phone make sure the caller can hear you clearly.

When the phone interviewer first contacts you, make sure it is comfortable for you to talk on the phone for at least 20 minutes. If it's not convenient, recommend scheduling another time for the call.

Schedule the Phone Interview
If you can not speak comfortably when the first call arrives, ask the interviewer if you could schedule a specific time for the phone interview. Be sure to define who will call who. It is recommended that you offer to call the company. This ensures you are fully prepared and in a situation where you can speak without interruptions. Schedule the phone interview just like you would any face-to-face interview.

Stand Up
During the call standup, walk around and smile. All these things make a big difference in the projection and quality of your voice.

What's Next
At the conclusion, ask the interviewer about next steps and timing of their hiring process.

Get Face-to-Face
If you are interested, ask for a face-to-face interview. Remember that your objective (during the phone interview) is to secure a face-to-face interview. You will be most effective discussing your background and assessing the company in a face-to-face meeting.
Prepare Your Responses
Phone interviews follow a similar pattern of questioning with the purpose of screening you out of consideration. Below is a list of questions most phone interviewers ask. Write down and practice your responses.
- Tell Me About Yourself.
- What do you know about our company?
- How did you learn about this position?
- What is our current salary?
- What are your compensation requirements?
- Why are you looking for a new position?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Do you have any questions?

Questions You Ask
Questions are your primary tool of influence with an interviewer. Questions help you direct the conversation and assess if the company is right for you. Here are some questions to ask during a phone interview.

Opening Questions:
Questions you ask at the beginning of the phone interview.
- What is your position with this company?
- How much time would you like to speak on the phone?
- What position are you considering me for?
- What are the key things you'd like to learn about my background?

More Questions:
Questions you could ask in the middle of the interview.
- What business imperatives are driving the need for this position?
- Describe the three top challenges that I'll face in this job?
- What are the characteristics of people who are most successful in your company?
- What are the key deliverables and outcomes that this position must achieve?

Closing Questions:
Questions you ask at the end of the phone interview.
- What additional information would you like me to provide?
- What concerns do you have at this point?
- When is the best time to follow up with you?

Best of luck on your next interview. It is the most important moment in your search for a better position.

Michael R. Neece, CEO Interview Mastery

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