This morning my client and I were chatting about telephone interviews. In particular, we were discussing the importance of the first few seconds / minutes of a telephone interview conversation. Here is an example:
Hiring Manager: Hello Ben the Candidate…this is Sally the Hiring Manager. Tell us a bit about yourself.
Ben: Well, um I am loyal, honest and hardworking – I have a lot of experience and I am a very hard worker, very responsible.
Sally the Hiring Manager: I see….perhaps you could share a few more details about the nature of your experience.
Ben: Oh, sure…well, I have been working for 18 or so years...like I said, I have a lot of experience and I am a real people-person, too, you know.
Sally the Hiring Manager: Oh, okay….so can you be more specific about your experience and how it would be of value to our organization?
Ben: Well, I love working with people and with my experience and my education, I think I have a lot to offer someone.
If you were Sally the Hiring Manager, would you be enamored with this candidate?
Does this candidate keep you engaged and ready to listen to each and every new word uttered?
Question One: If you were Sally the Hiring Manager, based on what you have heard so far, would you be inclined to invite this candidate for a face-to-face job interview? Yes_____ No_____.
Question Two: If you were Ben the Candidate, do you think you made it easy for the Hiring Manager to get to know you within a matter of seconds? Yes_____ No_____.
Listed below are twelve tips to consider for your next telephone interview:
- Prepare. Know with confidence, clarity and conviction your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential areas of concern about your candidacy.
- Keep documentation at your fingertips – be it résumé, notes or answers to tough questions.
- Practice in a quiet space. Before your designated interview time, rehearse and practice multiple times to increase your chances of excelling in the phone interview.
- Have a pen, pencil and notepad handy for note-taking during the course of the telephone interview.
- Sound professional and speak with clarity and conciseness. Avoid fillers such as “well, um, uh,” and “and uh.”
- Keep your conversation relevant to the job target; do not veer off on tangents as each second/minute is precious time to use to your advantage. Make it easy for the Hiring Manager to get to know you.
- Dress up in your best interview attire for your phone meeting.
- Stand up (if you are able) and smile as you proceed through the interview.
- Avoid smoking, chewing gum/food, or drinking beverages during your interview.
- Reveal your manners by expressing your thanks and appreciation for the interview opportunity.
- Close the telephone interview by summarizing your credentials in support of your candidacy and your interest in the job.
- Record post-interview notes and comments following the telephone interview. What went well? What, if any, areas need improvement? What did you learn? What are next steps?