Wednesday, February 15, 2012

5 ways to excel in a telephone #interview

Well #workinggirl , you've created a great eye candy resume, you found a fab job on and submitted your application, keeping your fingers crossed that you hear back.

A few days pass and there it is. You've Got Mail.

Your future employer wants to set up a quick, informal "chat".  Congratulations sister!  You have managed to cut through the HR key word search and pass the recruiter quick screen.  However, don't be too overjoyed just yet.  This "chat" is far from informal so if you really want to excel, check out these 5 tips.

  1. Be flexible.  Try to be as accommodating to your interviewer's schedule as possible and accept one of their suggested times to talk.  The last thing you want to do is appear to be difficult.  If you need to cancel that hair appoint to accommodate them, do it.  
  2. Find a quiet environment where you can speak freely.   You don't want your interviewer to have to strain to hear you.   Avoid anywhere that has dogs barking, children playing, or general background noise.  Also ensure you can speak freely.  Don't take the call in the break room at work if there is a chance others will walk in.  You need to speak without hesitation and without the whole office knowing you are interviewing.  
  3. Know your audience.  Exactly who will you be speaking with?  Is it the HR recruiter, the actual hiring manager, or a group of people?  The HR recruiter will ask basic questions about your work experience and education and will try and determine if you are worthy of passing on your resume.  The hiring manager is likely to ask you more specific questions related to the position to determine if you fit the skills needed.  Finally, if you are interviewing with a group on the phone, be prepared for a range of topics and stop talking when others speak.  It's rude.  
  4. Do your research.  Although this is not a formal face to face interview, it doesn't mean you get a pass on preparing for your conversation.  Ensure you are familiar with what you put on your resume and have a copy of the job description in front of you.  Do some light LinkedIn stalking on those you'll be speaking with to identify some common interests and be familiar with their background.  Finally, make sure you know some basic facts about the company.
  5. Let your personality shine.  Phone interviews can make it difficult to make a real connection to the interviewer.  You will have to work even harder to build a rapport than if you were face to face.  Avoid giving one word answers - short anecdotes often will show more depth.  It is important to NOT speak too much.  Allow yourself to pause at least every 30 seconds so the interviewer can interject, if necessary, so the conversation flows smoothly.  
Hopefully the conversation went well and you are talking next steps to arrange an in person interview.  Nice work girlfriend!

Cheryl Reynolds
College Girl to Working Girl

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