When preparing for a phone interview, it’s important you approach it with the same level of professionalism as an in-person interview. Regardless of how it’s conducted, your initial interview can determine the next step in an employer’s hiring process. In Part I and II of things to know when talking to a recruiter, you learned how to effectively engage with your recruiter during a job search. Now that you’ve been presented with an opportunity, it’s time to prep for the phone interview.
Here are four things to know before your phone interview to help ensure you make a great first impression:
1. Research the Company
Employers need to know that you’re familiar with the basics of their business. Whether you perform a simple news search on the company or thoroughly review their website, be sure to dedicate some time exploring an organization’s services or products prior to your interview. What you discover will potentially help you align your professional experience with the needs of the company. In addition, you’ll be better prepared to pose questions of your own to further determine if the opportunity is a fit. Begin your research with the following:
- What are the values and missions of the company?
- Who is the company’s target market or audience?
- Who is their competition and where do they fall in line with them?
- Are they currently undergoing any major developments, changes or special projects?
2. Review the Job Description
Once your recruiter has covered the primary elements of the job, ask for an official job description that summarizes key responsibilities and qualifications. Review it in advance, and keep it in front of you throughout the phone interview so you can easily speak to each of the job’s key functions. Concentrate on the following areas:
- Do I have the industry specific experience this company is looking for?
- Am I accustomed to the volume of work the position is requiring?
- Am I familiar with the software the company is utilizing? How extensive has my usage been?
- How many years of relevant experience can I bring to this position?
3. Prepare for Common Interview Questions
It’s important to consider what interview questions might arise during your phone interview. Rather than improvising, compose a list of anticipated questions and answers that you can quickly and easily refer to during the conversation. This should allow for clear, confident and thorough responses. You should be able to answer work history, goals and soft skill questions with ease. If you find any of the following examples to be a challenge, schedule a call with your recruiter in advance to work through the appropriate responses. He/she may be able to provide some tips on how to account for things like gaps in employment or lack of specific software experience.
- Why did you leave your last position?
- Why do you want to work here?
- What types of skills do you possess that will benefit our company?
- What are your professional strengths and weaknesses?
- What drives you to be successful in your career?
4. Confirm Communication
Verify the details of your phone interview well in advance. Be sure to document the date and time of the call as well as the person you’ll be interviewing with. Double check with your recruiter on whether the employer is contacting you or if you’ll need to call them. Proving your dependability during these initial steps is vital in getting off to a great start.
Practice and preparation makes all the difference when it comes to your initial communication with an employer. If you do your homework, you can better prepare yourself to ace the interview. Remember, if you need further explanation or additional details about a potential job, your recruiter is just a phone call away.
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