A phone interview can potentially open the door to a new job opportunity, just as long as you are able to make a good impression. Though recruiter calls are typically shorter than on-site interviews, they are no less important. In fact, the main purpose of the phone interview is to help the hiring manager decide if you have something to offer that warrants a face-to-face interview. If you do not convincingly sell yourself during this initial interview, you may not get another chance to prove that you are indeed the right candidate for the position.
Despite the importance of the screening call, don’t be nervous, be prepared! With the help of the following phone interview prep tips, you will have a clear understanding of what you need to do in order to deliver an exemplary performance when the hiring manager calls.
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5 Tips for Prepping for Your Second Interview
1. Come up with five key selling points. This should be at the top of your phone interview prep list. What are your five greatest strengths? In what ways are you uniquely suited to fulfill the responsibilities that come with the job? What five things do you need the recruiter to know about you before the interview is over? Your list of selling points should be heavily influenced by the qualifications listed in the job posting for maximum effectiveness.
2. Be prepared to ask a few questions. Many job candidates are surprised to learn that it is just as important to ask questions during an interview as it is to answer questions skillfully and confidently. If you don’t come up with a list of impressive and relevant questions as part of your phone interview prep, you may end up asking something inappropriate, such as “How much will this job pay me?”Â
Not sure what types of questions you should ask? Stick to those that show your sincere interest in the company and how you can help it succeed. For example, if you ask, “Can you tell me about a recent client challenge you have been dealing with?”Â your interviewer will most likely be impressed. Asking questions like this will not only show that you are genuinely interested in the company and the challenges it faces, but that you want to play an active role in resolving those challenges.
3. Do a few practice run-throughs. Participating in an interview over the phone can be awkward, but if you do a few run-throughs as part of your phone interview prep, you will become more comfortable with it. Phone interviews are associated with some unique challenges, including potentially uncomfortable lulls in conversation and difficulty developing a rapport with the recruiter. However, challenges like these tend to become minimal when applicants have practiced beforehand.
Ideally, your practice interviews should be as realistic as possible, which means they should be conducted over the phone and your mock interviewer should not be in the same room with you.
4. Keep a copy of your resume and cover letter nearby. Imagine how embarrassing it would be if the hiring manager asked you to name your favorite job and your mind went blank. That won’t happen as long as you have your resume in front of you during your call. You should also keep your cover letter and the job description nearby for reference, as needed.
5. Learn how to close the deal. Think of your phone interview as a sale that you need to close. In order to achieve your goal, you will first need to overcome your interviewer’s doubts or objections. You can do this by understanding where he or she is coming from and offering information that will resolve any doubts. For example, if the interviewer admits he or she is not sure you have the level of experience required for the job, offer information about your work experience that will help quell any fears.
Once you have masterfully resolved any doubts, work on closing the sale without coming across as too pushy. One way to do this is by asking the recruiter when you will hear back and at what point it will be appropriate for you to call and follow up. If you are extremely confident that your interview went well and that the recruiter will not be offended by your straightforwardness, you might consider asking if you have the job.