Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Phone Interview Ideas To Get You To The Next Interview!

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Job phone interviews can be a both good and bad. Good because you made the cut from perhaps 100 or more applications for the one position and bad because one slip-up and you don't make the face-to-face interview stage.
Here are some ideas to help you prepare for the telephone interview.

Set the time for the phone interview:
Whenever possible when called about the interview do not launch into the phone interview with little or no preparation. Ask them to call you at a time and date of your choosing. Expecting an interviewer's call, for example, on Tuesday at any time during the day is a serious waste of your time. Try to set a specific time when you are at your peak.
Be sure you learn the name and title of the person who will be calling and the name of the company and their location. If you've applied for dozens of jobs be crystal clear on the position you are being interviewed for. Often it may be a division of a larger company so get the location correct so you can do appropriate company research.
There have been candidates who did not get this right and assumed company A was calling when it was company B or they may have applied for several jobs with the same company and they get sidetracked by assuming they are being interviewed for job A and it's job B. Needless to say this type of oversight can cost you the opportunity to move to the next level.
If the interviewer needs a larger window of time, say one or two hours, you'll have to accommodate them.

Choose the interview location that is best for you:
Have you ever tried to have a conversation on a cell phone while walking down a busy and noisy street? Don't let yourself get pushed into a phone interview when the conditions are not set up for your maximum advantage.
Pick a quiet location where you won't be disturbed. If possible use a land line. If it's going to be on a cell phone make sure it's got a maximum charge. It's a job interview so dress like you mean it. No robe and slippers.
The phone interview is really an open book test so you have a considerable advantage when compared to a face-to-face interview.

Phone Interview Preparation and Research:
Go to the employer's web site. Here you'll probably find a mission statement, products, latest news and other useful information. Google some of this information. Now you'll have the names of competitors, industry news, newest products and other useful data. Follow-up on everything that looks interesting.
If the company is smaller, and does not have a large internet footprint, check at the local library, look in business directories and go back at least a year in the local newspaper and business journal.

Google the name of the person interviewing you, and top executives of the company. Further, check their names in LinkedIn, and read their profiles and questions they might have asked and answered. If you have someone in your network that may have worked for the employer, or if you get really lucky are currently working for the employer. Contact them to learn about the company's culture and any other questions that come to mind from your interview research.

Something caught the employer's eye in your cover letter and/or resume that relates to the position. Since in each possible employment situation you customize your resume and cover letter pull out what you submitted to this employer. Print out the resume and cover letter and have them in front of you for the interview.
Part of the reason for the phone interview is to verify that you have the desired experience and qualifications to do the job. Write out a short story (no more than a minute each) on each relevant accomplishment.
Other tips in winning the phone interview is to record your answers to a mock phone interview. Were you engaged, did a positive smile come through in your answers? If not, you have some work to do.
One applicant practiced answering questions while looking in a mirror with a reminder taped to the mirror; "keep smiling." Another found he was more focused by standing during the phone interview. Whatever is comfortable for you and what works you should do.

If you are qualifying for the job with less experience or education than published in the job announcement be sure to have a well thought out rationale as to why you meet or exceed the requirements through other means.

For example, if you don't have a certification; you supervised and directed those with the certification. If you don't have three years experience but you have 2 ½ years; your experience is broader along with specific education and self-study. If you don't have some technical skill; you're currently studying to become proficient and you have experience in several closely related applications. You get the idea on how to broaden your experience. It's also a good idea to have a specific accomplishment ready for each area.

The phone interview:
Most phone interviews are relatively short, 15 to 30 minutes. The interviewer's goal is to establish that you have the qualifications listed for the job. Take detailed notes of the interview. Pay attention to the questions. Keep your answers short and focused. Sum up your qualifications at the end of the interview and be sure to indicate your enthusiasm for the position. Ask what the next step is and in what time frame and who you should follow-up with.
Now write a thank-you note, adding to any answer that might need clarification or further explanation. Repeat your excitement for the position.
You've done all you can. When you are called in for the face-to-face interview you've already got a head start on your research. And most important your detailed preparation almost assures you will be called in for the next interview.

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