I recently read a blog post on Job.com that gave practical tips to recruiters who will be conducting phone interviews. “Employers: How To Conduct a Phone Interview” by Lauren Riley gave several great tips for making the most of the interview experience without having the benefit of meeting face-to-face. For today’s blog, I take each recruiter-based tip and apply it with the job seeker in mind. Check it out!
Keep it Succinct.
The article addresses the time-saving features of the phone interview and advises recruiters to carefully choose their questions and not allow the candidate to ramble about things that are irrelevant. (Point to take home: don’t ramble during your phone interview!
What are some things you as the job seeker can do to keep it succinct?
- Practice. As you would for a performance or oral presentation, practice your responses. Make sure you can say everything you need to say without going off on tangents.
- Time your answers. I’m serious about this! Get out the timer app on your phone and time each response as you practice. See how long it takes to actually give a quality response. If you need to tweak, now is the time!
Also try to anticipate what types of questions you will be asked. Imagine if you were the recruiter—what would you want to know about the candidate?
Recruiters are advised to have the candidate’s resume in front of him/her while conducting the phone interview. Guess what? You should too! Naturally, you should know your work history backwards and forwards, but when there is a particular fact or detail, you can refer your interviewer to its location on your resume.
Note: there are several other ways to ensure that you are prepared for an interview, too many for us to outline in this blog. Stay tuned for future blogs on just this topic!
Pick an appropriate location.
I cannot stress this enough! Ensure that you can secure a quiet place in which you will not be disturbed by friends or family members, text message alerts, or even outside noises. If you often hear loud sirens or other street sounds, you may want to consider shutting the windows or finding an alternate location.
Ask more open-ended questions.
Remember that if your interviewer does ask close-ended questions, you are not obligated to provide only a yes/no answer. Give more clarification wherever you need to (in a succinct manner!). This will ensure that your interviewer will learn more about your skills and accomplishments.
Take notes during call.
This is essential for your thank you note! From the notes you’ve jotted down, take a few key points that outline the best “sound bites” of your interview. Consider including a sentence about topics on which you connected with your interviewer, your accomplishments and experience, for which job responsibilities you would be a good match, or any “conversation piece” that you discussed with the recruiter.
End on a friendly note.
The recruiters were urged to remember that they are representing their companies and to avoid being rude to any candidate, regardless of how unsuitable for the position he or she may be.
As the job seeker, take the same advice—remember you are representing yourself and your “personal brand.” Even if the job does not offer the benefits you want/need, or the high level of responsibility you think you can handle, be cordial throughout the interview and still send a thank you note. Don’t burn a bridge.
As a job seeker, we’re sure you have waited in vain for many an employer to get back to you regarding your candidacy. In the article, the recruiters were advised to follow up with each candidate—whether it’s a rejection or an invitation to the next round of interviews.
For your part, remember that you are entitled to follow up with an employer—whether that’s because you haven’t heard back in a timely fashion or you want to alert them to a facet of your experience you hadn’t mentioned during your interview. Also keep an employer up-to-date when you take another job offer or would like to retract your application from an opportunity.
Using the tips given to recruiters can give job seekers a lot of great insight. Hope you found this post helpful—share in the comments the tips you will implement first!
–Victoria Crispo, Dec 2014 Career Coach