Telephone Interviews

It is typical for companies to setup a telephone interviews in their recruiting and hiring decisions. A good telephone interview can give you an advantage prior to meeting a potential employer. Because preparing yourself is the best way to be effective in a telephone interview. Please see the following tips that lead to success.

Before the Call
• Quiet environment. Make sure the environment at your home or office is clear of other people and extraneous noise, such as radios, TVs, etc.
• Have your resume in front of you
• Prepare a list of accomplishments for each of your positions prior to starting the call—keep this list in front of you.
• Research the company, products, revenues, and other pertinent industry information.
• Prepare questions based on the position’s responsibilities, goals of the division, cultural style of the company, or the interviewer’s background, if it is the hiring manager.
• Be on time.

Beginning the Call
• Be enthusiastic. The first 15 seconds are crucial and interest in your voice is key. Just the way you answer the phone has an impact on the caller. Talk distinctly and with confidence.
• Establish a connection. Ask about the caller’s experience with the company or mention something you have read about the company. Also try touching on a common experience.
• Ask for an overview. Once you are comfortable, ask the interviewer what they are looking for and why the position is open. If you don’t already have this information, this will provide you with good information so you can plan your responses.
During the Call
• Know your resume. Don’t assume that the person on the other end of the phone knows your background or is familiar with the companies listed on your resume. Assume that you have to illustrate your entire background. Make your resume “come alive”. Try to anticipate what a company may ask about your background.
• Demonstrate a career plan. The interviewer may start with the question, “Tell me about yourself.” One approach is to begin by saying, “Let me tell you how and why I am in my current position”. If you have had a number of other titles at one company, explain how value you added to the company resulted in promotional opportunities.
• Demonstrate accomplishments. Review a problem that you turned into a positive situation for each position that you list. Help the interviewer understand the problem, your specific role, what path you took to resolve it, and the final result. Paint a picture. Also, try to quantify accomplishment in each position (e.g. Increased sales by X percent; Oversaw budget of $Y).
• Ask questions from the list you prepared. Asking good questions illustrates that you are already thinking seriously about the position and joining the company. Potential employers expect to be asked questions and welcome opportunities to talk about their companies and/or their own backgrounds.

Ending the call
• Give up control. The end of the call is always a tricky thing. A good suggestion is to thank the caller for his or her time and say that you are interested in the opportunity. If the interviewer has not asked you about your schedule or availability, it is a good idea to ask, “What would the next step be in the process?” Let the interviewer reestablish control of the interview with this question.
• Confirm information. If you don’t already have it, be sure to ask for the interviewer’s exact title and name spelling, along with a street or email address, so that you can send a thank you note.

Good Luck!

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