How to Prepare for a Phone Interview
Phone interviewing can often be an important step in landing your dream job. Here are a few tips to help put your best foot forward.
If you know in advance when you are going to have a phone interview, make sure you are in an area conducive to interviewing. Find a place away from room mates, kids, and other sources of noise and distractions. Turn the TV off. If interviewing with a cell phone, make sure it is fully charged beforehand and you may even want to plug it into the charger while talking.
Also I find it beneficial to have a copy of your resume in front of you. Recruiters will sometimes refer to things on your resume so it can be beneficial to keep that handy. Also, if you are stumped on a question, looking through your resume may spark an anecdote to help answer the question and showcase a skill or competency you have.
Lastly, make sure you have a pen and note pad so you can take notes and keep track of any questions you may have throughout the interview.
When phone interviewing, take the time to dress up some. While this may seem silly since the interviewer can't see you, you will likely feel more confident and professional when you are wearing more than a bathrobe and undies. Also it may be good to stand up and walk around a little through out the interview as it may also make you more loose and relaxed. Don’t get winded or break a sweat pacing while on the phone, but standing can sometimes make you feel more alert and in control. Overall, you want to be able to think and speak clearly.
Do Some Research
One of the best ways to begin preparing for an interview is to research the company. Go to the website and look up the values, opportunities, and overall mission of the company. Also, if you do not already know, make sure you know what services or products the company provides in general. Keep in mind the company is trying to gauge your interest in the company. When available, make sure to look up the position you are applying for. Search for information on what the job requires and what skills are beneficial or necessary for it. That way when you are asked questions like “why should we hire you for the job” or “what makes your right for our company” you can now elaborate on the relevant skills you have and how you fit within the company values and culture if you did your homework. While not as critical as the other research topics it is good to read up a little on recent company news if you have time. These sources can potentially be elaborated upon during your interview to show your knowledge of current events within the company. Lack of knowledge of the company can often appear as a red flag, so when you can take some time to learn the basics.
There are a lot of questions that are commonly asked during interviews. To prepare for these questions, I would recommend searching “popular interview questions” on the web and see what questions the first few sites provide. Then, use these questions as a practice for yourself. Start thinking about your own responses. If it will help, make a list of some of your life experiences or key points you may want to refer to as questions comes up. I would NOT recommend writing out the answers for an array of questions though because when you read off the paper, the interviewer may be able to tell it is a more canned response.
Also, keep in mind that you are often better off with demonstrating how you have a competency as opposed to listing what competencies you have. In other words, saying, "I was a full time student while working 20 hours a week at McDonald's" means more than stating "I am a hard worker". On the flip side, telling a story about something that shows you in a negative light may not help you land a job. This is particularly true if you can not capture what you learned from the mistake and how you used the experience to improve. Overall this exercise is meant to prime you and is really most helpful if you are rusty on interviewing. When thinking about how you answer, consider how these anecdotes demonstrate:
-Responsibility/Ownership of Work
-Respect for Others
-On the Job Training/Learning from Experience
-Conflict Resolution/Anger Management
Even if they ask different questions, the fact that you took the time to get in the mind set of answering this genre of questions makes it easier to answer questions of a similar scope.
Are You Ready?
This is your time to shine. They liked your resume enough to set up an interview, so this is the time to showcase the person behind it. You have the credentials, now you just have to talk about yourself and why you are interested in the opportunity. I hope you found the hub useful.
Good luck! What tips and tricks have worked well for you?