Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Phone Interview and You

In the interest of saving both time and money, many employers have opted to use Phone interviews as a common way for employers to screen potential employees during the hiring process. Unlike traditional, in-person job interviews, phone interviews are usually short, require less preparation, and may even be outsourced by the employer if deemed necessary. These features make phone interviewing an effective way to narrow down the list of candidates before scheduling face-to-face interviews. If the prospect of a phone interview makes you nervous, these tips can help turn an awkward interview into a confidence-inspiring success.

Tip 1:
Preparation is the Name of the Game

When preparing for a phone interview, don’t forget that not all recruiters and employers schedule them ahead of time. At any moment, a recruiter or potential employer could stumble across your résumé and decide to call you with regard to a recent application. Your chances for success in your job search will be greatly improved if you try to always expect the unexpected (especially during a job interview).

Tip 2:
Keep Your Résumé Near You and Your Phone

In an ideal situation, you should be able to go to where you store all of your job search related information. If that is not possible, at the very minimum, you should keep a copy of your basic résumé with you at all times.

Tip 3:
Always have access to a notepad and pen during a phone interview

Write down the interviewer’s name, key questions he or she asked, and your responses. If you have a copy of the original ad in front of you, it will be easier to identify what the potential employer is looking for in a candidate. If a particular qualification is listed in the ad, then it is important to the potential employer so, try to list how your skill set and qualifications speak directly to what the potential employer is searching for in their ideal candidate.

Tip 4:
Practice (and a Cheat Sheet) Makes Perfect

Just like with a traditional job interview, you should try to anticipate questions the interviewer might ask. If you have come up with examples and practiced your answers ahead of time, you will sound much more intelligent and confident in the interview. Moreover, since the interviewer cannot see you, there is nothing to stop you from referring to a “cheat sheet” – notes to help you remember your practiced answers, so that you never sound like you have been taken off guard.

Tip 5:
Create a System for Keeping Track of the Résumés You Send

Take the time to record and catalogue the basic information on each company, position title, contact name, date the position was applied for, and qualifications for the job. Keep the original ad as well at a copy of the cover letter and résumé you sent in. If you have a chance to research the company, make a file with that information, and keep it near the phone as well.

Treat phone interviews in the same manner as any other kind of interview. If, as a result of the interview, you have not been scheduled for a second interview, you should still take the time to send a follow-up note to thank them for their consideration. If you feel that you could have answered some of the interview questions in more detail, you should include this additional information in your follow-up note.

Just as an aside, take the time to remove all of the 'cutesy' messages on your answering machine. And, if you are one of those few who do not have call display, train your children to NOT answer the phone when you are looking for a new career opportunity.

Copyright © 2010, Career Matters. All Rights Reserved.Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Copyright © 2010, Career Matters. Reprinted by permission of Mary Salvino.“Career Matters” is a blog hosted by Mary Salvino, Senior Consultant for SMART Career Planning.com. This blog is dedicated to those who are seeking advice on managing their career and future job opportunities. We welcome readers to share their experiences, post their comments or ask questions about career related matters. For any questions or comments that are better addressed privately, please feel free to e-mail Mary directly at Mary.Salvino@shaw.ca