Candidates used to be able to breeze through a phone interview in 15 minutes. These days, phone interviews can last up to an hour! Recruiters and hiring managers are raising the bar on the phone interview and catching many job seekers off guard.
Phone interviews allow employers to pre-screen candidates to make sure they meet the minimum requirements before scheduling an in-person interview. Nowadays, employers are looking for much more. Candidates can be asked to recite specifics of their resumes, indicate exact stats that illustrate their skills and describe details for how they would act in certain work situations.
To ace your next phone interview, follow these 5 rules:
Rule #1: Prepare for the real thing
Prepare for the phone interview as if you are going to meet in-person. Review the company website, read recent news about company and familiarize yourself with industry trends. Doing your homework in advance will help respond more effectively and could save you time if you end up getting an interview.
Rule #2: Reduce background noise
The only thing that the interviewer should hear on the line is your professional voice. Make sure to choose a quiet room without distractions such as screaming children, TV noise, music or nearby traffic. Cell phones can create distracting noises as well and there's nothing more awkward than a dropped call--so opt for a landline if possible.
Rule #3: Have a cheat sheet handy
While you may know your work history well, having a hard copy of your resume in front of you will ensure that you have the correct titles and dates as well as key accomplishments at the front of your mind. Think of it like an open-book test since the interviewer is most likely looking at your resume on his or her end.
Rule #4: Practice FAQ
Practice your answers to frequently asked interview questions such as:
- What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
- What's your most notable achievement?
- What did you like/dislike about your last job?
- Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
- What interests you about this position?
Writing your answers down can also serve as a reference in case you get nervous and the answer slips your mind.
Rule #5: Ask Questions
Asking questions is your primary tool to influence the interview. Before you begin, ask the interviewer if you should address questions as they arise or wait until the end. Prepare a list before hand and write questions down that arise during the conversation so that you don't forget them. Asking questions shows that you are actively listening and can give you valuable insight into the job and company.
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