Understanding how to prepare for a phone interview is extremely important. The phone interview oftentimes determines whether you are granted a face to face interview with the hiring company. So it is critical that you put in the necessary time to prepare.
Ideally, you should be in a room that is quiet where you can speak freely with the interviewer. In the event there is a phone or computer disconnection please be sure to exchange phone numbers before the start of the interview. Be sure to have in front of you the following:
- Note pad
- index cards with key questions you want to ask throughout the interview
- Responses to important company information you captured from their website
- Your STAR* Interview Prep Guide
- Value Proposition Statement sharing why you are the ideal person for the job
- Job description
It is important that you have done your homework prior to the interview. The interviewer will ask basic questions about your knowledge of the company, its products/services and the market in which they compete. This information can be found on the company’s website. To help you with a lot of this information the index cards can be used to capture a lot of information you can refer to during the interview.
Dress For Success
While it may sound silly to some, many candidates have found it to be helpful to dress for success during a phone interview. Remember, the phone interview is a formal interview and should be treated as such. When you are professionally dressed you have a different tone to your voice and the level of professionalism comes across impressively over the phone. So for that reason, we advise our candidates to take the phone interview seriously and dress for success. With technology allowing us to conduct video interviews dressing for success would be required when interviewing via Skype etc.
What To Expect During The Phone Interview
Introduction (5 min): The Interviewer usually will call the candidate. They will start off with a formal introduction. During this introduction, you will be provided with the structure of the interview and what to expect with the potential next steps provided. This introduction allows the Interviewer to tell you about their company and the role they will have in the interview process. The Interviewer will also share their experience and qualifications.
Job description (5 min) this time is intended to allow the Interviewer to share all of the information about the company. This would include job description, benefits, compensation, training, and expectations.
Candidate input (15 min) This is where you will need your STAR Interview Prep Guide. This is the time to share your relevant experience and job qualifications. For the next 15 minutes, you have the opportunity to share why you should be hired. This would be the time to verbalize your Value Proposition Statement. This time can seem like an eternity so be prepared. Be prepared for the Interviewer to interrupt you occasionally with questions as you review your qualifications. Again, this is where having index cards with notes can be helpful. Be prepared to support your comments with facts and documentation (verbal at this point). Be sure to have the job description in front of you to assure that you have addressed everything that is listed in the description. This gives you the confidence to know that you haven’t omitted anything during your discussion. Don’t forget to review the STAR Guide and get comfortable answering questions in the STAR format.
Be Prepared To Ask Questions
Questions (5 min) These 5 minutes are to be used to ask relevant questions. Now, are you seeing the importance of having the index cards handy? You should ask questions that will help you make a decision about whether this is the right company for you. Ask questions about their training program and the ability to get involved in company initiatives in the community etc?
The ABC’s Always Be Closing
Close Well…you will now need to put your sales hat on and “ask for the business”. Make no mistake about it. You are selling your qualifications to the prospective employer. Your close should go something like this: Mrs.Jones I want to thank you for the opportunity to present my qualifications for this position with ACE Industries. I know that my experience and documented successful past performance will allow me to immediately contribute to ACE sales objectives. Can I count on your support to advance me to the next phase of the interview process?
Understanding how the phone interview works will help you as a candidate. You are now prepared to move one step closer to your new career.