From a Recruiter’s Viewpoint Vol. 16

Phone Interviews – The Need To Be Prepared

Job seekers often mistakenly underestimate the importance of phone interviews. They are a critical first hurdle in landing a job. The goal of a phone interview is to build a relationship and secure an in-person meeting. Recruiters use it to qualify candidates and narrow their list of prospects. Candidates are screened out more often than not based on their phone performance. Phone interviews are no less formal and just as important as face-to-face meetings. They are seldom just friendly icebreakers.

You can increase the odds of passing this initial screening if you pay attention to these tips:

1. Minimize Distractions

Plan to be in a private place with no interruptions. If the call was unexpected, it is okay to ask to reschedule. Avoid children and barking dogs in the background. Don’t pause to take another call or answer an email. Avoid using a cell phone. Calls can end prematurely if the signal is problematic. Concentrate, visualize and try to connect with the interviewer.

2. Sharpen Verbal Skills

Given a phone interview’s lack of eye contact and body language, candidates are largely evaluated by what they say and how they say it. Interviewers listen for passion, professionalism and clarity of response. Turnoffs include gum chewing, smoking, eating and unpolished jargon or vulgarity. Saying too much is just as bad as saying too little. Listen to the interviewer and answer the question asked.

3. Prepare in Advance

Have your notes and resume in hand. Search the internet for the latest press releases about the company. Talk to your recruiter for insight about the interviewer. Check out their website. Be prepared or don’t bother to take the interview. Your motivation for pursuing an opportunity should be evident.

4. Follow-up

After a phone interview, send a thank you note or email that recaps your best selling points. The face-to-face interview won’t happen if you don’t treat a phone interview with the same gravity.

The best jobs in America are communicated via phone by a recruiter. Even if you are not interested in a new position, you may want to talk to a recruiter the next time one calls. You may know someone qualified for the position the recruiter is trying to fill. An industry specific recruiter may also provide you with valuable industry insight and be a great asset to add to your network.

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