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Phone Interviews – Part 1: Preparing for the Phone Interview


This is the first article in a 2-part series about phone interviews; to read part 2, please visit the link at the bottom of the article.

Phone interviews are a pretty popular screening tool in the interview process.  You may find yourself in two or three “screening” calls before ever speaking with a hiring manager.  Whether your phone interviews are happening with an outside recruiter or an HR professional with the hiring company, there are some simple ways to make sure you make it from the pre-screening to the actual interview.

Prepare in advance

This step can never be overstated; there is nothing more rewarding than feeling prepared when you are asked questions in an interview.  I have found the best way to prepare is two-fold; first by preparing for “job specific” questions you may be asked, and second by researching the company itself.

Job Specific Questions are best prepared for by printing out the online job description and highlighting all of the required skills that you already have and are comfortable speaking about.  The skills that are left un-highlighted are the ones you will need to address during the phone interview with either a transferable (similar) skill or by giving a detailed and demonstrated example of how you picked up a new skill quickly on the job, successfully.  If you have no transferable skills or work examples of learning quickly on the job, then be honest – admit you don’t have the relevant experience, but that you are willing and eager to learn and fill in any gaps in your experience.

Research the company.  Know who you are interviewing with.  In the case of interviews with third party recruiters, it is still impressive to them when they know that you have researched their client – it shows them that you will present well to the hiring manager in actual interview.  When interviewing with the hiring company directly, it is invaluable to know that this company has a reputation for treating their workers well, was recently named to a top 100 employers list, or something else that shows that you invested the time to adequately prepare for this opportunity.  Show the potential employer that you are excited about the company as well as the position.

Bonus Tip: If you are a LinkedIn user, and know the name of your interviewer – look them up.  See what their background looks like.  Do you have something in common?  Are you Alumni of the same college?  Do you share any contacts?

What happens during the phone interview is just as important as the preparation you have put into getting ready for the phone interview.  Check out Phone Interviews – Part 2: During the Phone Interview for more phone interview tips

 

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