Phone Interview Tips -- Good Read!

I've had my fair share of phone interviews, but I recently received the following info from a headhunter prior to a call he had set up for me. I was impressed by the quality and wished that I'd had something like this back when I first started looking for jobs.

I figure there'd be a few folks out there who would appreciate it, too. :)

Note: It's written for a contract-to-hire position, so some items wouldn't apply for a folks applying directly for a position.

Enjoy!


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Phone Screen Preparation
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For managers, the goal of the phone interview is not to decide whether or not to hire a candidate, but rather to decide whether the candidate has the essential capabilities for the job to justify an in-person meeting.

For candidates, the goal of a phone screen is to move to an in-person interview.

If you create the proper first impression on the telephone, your chances of being invited for an in-person interview are greatly enhanced.

Here is what you need to do:

1. Preparation
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First, you can prepare for a phone screen. Get in a good spot physically – you have to be able to talk freely and there can’t be too much noise in the background.

Spend time reviewing the job description and company web-site, and really think about what the company wants, and how your experience and technical skills can help the company.

Be prepared to answer the following questions:

Why are you leaving your present position? (Have a positive reason for this move)
What are your strong/weak points?
What were your biggest accomplishments in your last position?
What specific projects have you worked on?
What contributions can you make to our company?

You can prepare a few questions, but do not ask questions that appear to be selfishly motivated. Ask questions that relate to the job, and will make the interviewer want to have a more in-depth discussion with you.


2. Attitude
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This is so important, especially for a phone interview!

Be assertive and enthusiastic -- you don’t have the benefit of expression and eye contact, so try to smile when you talk and relay an image of confidence.

Some people suggest that your voice sounds stronger if you speak while standing up, but if this feels uncomfortable to you, by all means sit down. The most important thing here is to be relaxed and comfortable.

Avoid speaking too fast, chewing gum or smoking, and speaking too close to the receiver.


3. Money
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Do not discuss your contractor pay rate with the hiring manager.
Any questions regarding your pay rate can be directed to your recruiter.

BUT be prepared to discuss conversion salary (direct hire salary) expectations if this comes up… What you’re looking for and why… and what you’ve made in the past.


4. The Close
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Here are two great questions to ask at the close:
"Now that you’ve had a chance to hear more about my background, do you have any concerns about my ability to do this job?”

This allows you to address concerns right now, or know what they are for the next step
"Thank you for your time – I am very interested in the position (for the following reasons). I look forward to meeting you in person. Can I provide you with additional information?”


5. The Thank You Note
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A quick e-mail thank you note, sent through your recruiter, is a nice touch
This will lay the groundwork for the next steps.

Comments

  • BlackBellaBlackBella Posts: 33Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    icon_thumright.gif I so needed this 2 weeks ago when AT&T called me for a leadership program. I boomed that phone interview, but it was a unexpected 10pm phone interview. Le sigh!icon_sad.gif
    GSU- BA International Studies
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  • ssampierssampier Posts: 224Member
    Excellent. I think a quiet environment is pretty important. Close your office door. Or if you have children at home, ideally someone else will take them for a walk or something so their shouts and play aren't heard. Second, don't forget common courtesy.

    As for the 10 pm interview, I usually don't answer the phone at all after 9 pm. After that it'd better be a life-or-death emergency ;)
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  • BlackBellaBlackBella Posts: 33Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    I have a problem with answering unfamiliar #'s icon_silent.gif
    GSU- BA International Studies
    WGU BSIT-Database
    (10/01/2010-03/31/2011)
    Classed needed to graduate: WFV1,TEV1,TTV1, AKV1, GTT1, LET1, GUT1, WSV1, WDV1, TPV1, TSV1,MGC1, ORC1, TWA1, PFI6, CPW6, ALV1, AMV1
    1st term goal: EWB,WFV1, TEV1, TTV1, AKV1, GTT1, , GUT1
    Certifications::study: One day soon
  • BradleyHUBradleyHU Posts: 912Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    BlackBella wrote: »
    I have a problem with answering unfamiliar #'s icon_silent.gif

    if you're applying for jobs, the company will leave a vm if you dont answer the phone, so this shouldnt be an issue, unless they sent you an email, or called you already and ya'll set up a time for when the phone interview will happen, thats a #fail on you for not answering your phone around the time when you should be expecting a call.
    Link Me
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  • BlackBellaBlackBella Posts: 33Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    BradleyHU wrote: »
    if you're applying for jobs, the company will leave a vm if you dont answer the phone, so this shouldnt be an issue, unless they sent you an email, or called you already and ya'll set up a time for when the phone interview will happen, thats a #fail on you for not answering your phone around the time when you should be expecting a call.

    Seeing as I made no prior arrangements with them, received no emails, and applied for the program well over 6 months ago, I don't think I had much control over a 10pm call. Fail and shame on me, I presume! icon_cool.gificon_rolleyes.gif! I am ok with not getting the postion, and everybody has a off day.

    *I wouldn't arrange for somebody to call me for a interview at that time anyways. *

    Other then that, I am more then familiar with how the system works, and I always specify my preference for e-mails mostly or calls at 9am-1pm only.

    Anyways, the tips are most appreciated Bert. I have two job interviews Monday and Tuesday.

    Haben Sie vielen Dank!
    GSU- BA International Studies
    WGU BSIT-Database
    (10/01/2010-03/31/2011)
    Classed needed to graduate: WFV1,TEV1,TTV1, AKV1, GTT1, LET1, GUT1, WSV1, WDV1, TPV1, TSV1,MGC1, ORC1, TWA1, PFI6, CPW6, ALV1, AMV1
    1st term goal: EWB,WFV1, TEV1, TTV1, AKV1, GTT1, , GUT1
    Certifications::study: One day soon
  • ssampierssampier Posts: 224Member
    Calling a potential candidate for a position at 8 am through 5 pm is normal and expected. If you currently hold a job and can't take time off calling after 5 pm is also normal and expected.

    Calling someone out of the blue at 10 pm is just rude, IMHO.

    If you had to call at 10 pm a recruiter/secretary/administrator should have contacted beforehand and confirmed it's okay to conduct a phone interview at that time.

    Respect goes both ways. If a recruiter has that little of respect for you, why should you show any respect back?
    Future Plans:

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