Goliath’s ‘Master the Interview’ series is a 5 part playbook of tips and best practices enabling job seekers to stand out in all interviewing formats – over the phone, in a one-on-one setting or in a group interview.
It is easy to take a phone interview lightly.
After all, getting to a phone interview can feel like a long haul – much easier than the work you’ve done in applying for numerous positions over the past few months with the company.
Fight the urge to that the phone interview for granted – this initial conversation can make or break your chance at landing your next job.
Here’s how we’d suggest you go about acing your phone interview:
Tip #1: Pick your spot
It may seem like a no-brainer, but most phone interviews are doomed from the start by a candidate selecting a poor time, taking the call in a location with too many distractions or selecting a location with poor cell reception.
It is easy for a hiring manager to be distracted by the distractions happening in your environment – whether it be a screaming infant or a loud jobsite.
Our first tip is an easy three step process: (a) find a quiet spot with (b) good cell reception (c) at a time where you’ll be at your best.
Doing anything less is getting your interview off to a bad start.
Tip #2: Recite your resume
The hiring manager will likely have your submitted resume and job description in front of them when they start the phone interview – so should you.
Take the time to know your career chronology inside and out – developing a story about how your career has evolved. As a master of your resume, now consider how you might explain your professional evolution to a person that is unfamiliar.
Take note, though, that less can be more during a phone interview. Don’t be too eager to tell the interviewer all about you. Let the interviewer take the lead – taking you in the right direction.
When the hiring manager does ask about your resume, be concise – directing them to specific parts of your resume that will highlight experiences that will distinguish you from the other candidates.
Tip #3: Develop a virtual rapport
A phone interview attempts to limit personal interactions between interviewer and candidates – more of a fact finding mission than a friendly chat.
In fact, many candidates find it difficult to create a professional relationship with a hiring manager over the phone. This difficulty could be an opportunity for you.
If you can create a professional decorum with the hiring manager over the phone, you’ll have a leg up in potentially moving to the next round.
It may sound corny, but smiling as you talk over the phone conveys enthusiasm for the interviewer.
As you talk with the hiring manager, pay attention to your body language – your words will tend to follow your posture, position and perceived level of confidence.
Lastly, be sure to express gratitude for being included in the interview process – telling the hiring manager that you understand they looked through many resumes but allowed yours to pass.
Tip #4: Mix in research tidbits
As you answer questions, it should become clear to the hiring manager that you’ve done adequate research leading up the phone interview.
Not only should you understand the qualifications of the position you’ve applied for, you should know the company (their locations, projects and any recent news) and have researched the individual doing the phone interview (via LinkedIn).
In completing this research, you’ll send a message to the hiring manager and the perspective company that you are thorough, interested and ready for the interview.
Tip #5: Be memorable
As you close the interview, put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager – likely headed to another phone interview with another candidate as you hang up.
Did I stand out?
How will the hiring manager describe me to others?
Will I get an on-site interview?
Simple ways to make sure you’re memorable could include asking questions of the hiring manager, preparing a closing message that restates qualities you want the interviewer to remember or re-emphasizing your gratitude in having been selected to interview.
An article by Forbes, provides some concrete statements that can adequately close a phone interview. No matter the approach, though, we’d suggest that you fit the closing to your style, expertise and build upon the rapport you’ve created during process so far.
The bottom line: do not take the phone interview for granted.
Using the tips above will not only show the hiring manager that you are serious about the job, it will emphasize your interest in getting to the next step in their hiring process.
Be prepared, be thankful, be educated – that is, if you want to be hired.
Need help with an upcoming interview? Contact the Goliath team today.