Some people believe that the hardest part of the interview process is the initial phone interview. Refining your confidence and technique will help move you to the next step in the interview process.
First, if you have been chosen for a phone interview feel confident in your skills and abilities. Over the course of the first few days of a job posting, hundreds of resumes have landed on the hiring manager’s/recruiter’s desk. Out of all those resumes, yours was chosen, so you definitely have something they are looking for!
The initial phone interview is typically 30 to 45 minutes long. After the initial introduction and small talk, the hiring manager/HR recruiter should have enough time to ask about 10 questions to determine whether you are the right fit for the company and whether you have the skills to perform the requirements of the position. A key tip for preparing for the interview is to print out the job description and make specific notes about your work experience that correlates with the tasks of the job. That way, when you are asked specific questions about your experience, it will be fresh in your mind and you can focus on building rapport with the interviewer instead of trying to think of specific work examples.
The phone interview is a great opportunity to obtain more information on the company you are interviewing with as well. The recruiter or hiring manager should provide you a bit of background on the company during the introduction. Please keep in mind that it is important to ask questions as well. Be certain not to ask questions that are too general or about information you can find on their website. You want to make sure they know you did research prior to your phone interview. Example questions could be: What do you like best about working here? What does a typical day look like if I were to take this position? I see your company has been in the Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies, can you share what has spurred that growth?
The best way to prepare for any interview is to practice. It may sound silly, but practicing in a mirror or with a friend is a great idea! Make sure your answers are thorough but not too lengthy. It is ok to say at the end of an answer “does that answer your question?” if you are not sure if you got your point across. You want be sure to speak concisely and clearly and to develop a strong rapport with the interviewer.
Questions that are commonly asked during an initial phone screen are:
- Please walk me through your job changes.
- Why are you looking for a new position now?
- What interests you about this position and our company?
- Please give me an example of your greatest accomplishment.
- What is your greatest weakness?
- If I called your former manager, what would he/she say about you?
- What is your long-term / 3-year / 5-year plan?
- Why should we hire you?
Finally, If you have a phone interview coming up, prepare well thought out and complete answers. Make sure you focus on building a rapport just as much as answering questions – and be sure to thank the interviewer for his/her time before ending the call. All of this preparation will make for a successful phone interview and will lead you to a face to face interview for sure!