The purpose of a phone interview is to help the hiring manager narrow down the playing field of candidates to bring in for the face-to-face interview.
If you made it to this step, it’s because out of 100’s of resumes, your accomplishments, experiences, and skills matched their needs well.
The phone screen (telephone interview) allows the company or hiring manager an opportunity to connect with a group of candidates and again eliminate those who don’t quite measure up.
Here’s how to prepare for phone interview so you’ll know what to expect and get to the next step in the process…the face-to-face interview.
Research the Company & Product(s)
If you applied to the company, something obviously already interested you about their reputation and/or product(s).
Start doing more research, assume you will be passed on and prepare like a top candidate.
Don’t know what to research? Start with a SWOT analysis of the company and division you’re applying to, if applicable.
- S – Strengths
- W – Weaknesses
- O – Opportunities
- T – Threats
Why? Learning about the company and product line will help you to track with the interviewer and ask meaningful questions.
Questions to Prepare For
The phone screener will probably schedule a 30-minute call. They want to get a general idea of your qualifications.
These are possible questions they’ll ask you:
- What are your current salary requirements?
- When are you available to start?
- Describe your current job responsibilities?
- Why are you interested in leaving your current company?
The questions the interviewer asks will allow her to observe how you communicate and articulate.
Questions to Ask
Most likely the phone interviewer will give you an opportunity to ask a couple of questions, so have a couple of targeted questions ready to go.
- Why is the position available?
- What is the timeline for filling the position?
You may also have follow up questions from something the interviewer brought up. Now is a perfect time to ask.
Remember, you’re also interviewing the company. Asking introductory questions will help you to understand the company culture.
Close the Interviewer
It is very important for a salesperson to ask to be passed on. Close the deal.
Not closing at this stage might be a red flag to the interviewer.
When the interviewer is starting to end the discussion, they might tell you that you are being passed on to the face-to-face. Great!
If you are told you are being passed on, clarify what you should do next and when you should expect details on the face-to-face.
If the interviewer has not given you the green light, summarize your accomplishments and skills and ask if your qualifications make you eligible to be passed on to the next step.
Professional Phone Interview Skills
- Take the call in a quiet area with no distractions.
- Make sure to have a glass of water close by, take a sip before your call.
- Don’t chew gum or eat during the call.
- Have your resume with you as reference.
- Make sure you have a pad of paper, a pen, and your calendar handy.
- Speak slowly and clearly.
Above all, convey enthusiasm and smile, these nonverbals will come across in a positive way.
Getting contacted for a phone interview is exciting!
It’s the first step to a new opportunity and preparing for it properly will increase your chances of being passed on to the next step.
The last tip, and just as important as the rest, follow up with the interviewer with a thank you note.
A thank you note communicates appreciation for the opportunity and a chance to interact again with the interviewer and to keep you top of mind.
Have you been through a phone interview recently? What tips would you add?
Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!