With continuing concerns about the ongoing pandemic, many companies are conducting phone interviews to screen job applicants before scheduling a video or in-person interview.
While many of the preparations for an in-person interview and phone interview are similar, there are some key differences you need to be aware of before you answer the call for your next phone interview. Follow the 6 steps below to ace your next phone interview and move forward in the hiring process.
Practice Makes Perfect
Any successful interview begins with proper preparation. Start by researching the company you will be interviewing with. Visit their website and social media pages. Check out their blog. Google them to find any other information that may not be on their website.
If you know the name of the person who will be interviewing you, research them too. You could look up their bio on the company website or find them on LinkedIn.
The best thing about a phone interview is the fact that you can have a ‘cheat sheet’ right in front of you while you do the interview. Prepare answers to the most popular interview questions, like “Tell me about yourself,” “What interests you about this job?” and “Why did you leave your last employer?” These basic questions are almost guaranteed to be asked in this initial interview. You should also practice your prepared answers to these questions so it doesn’t sound like you’re reading them (even though you might be!).
Part of the preparation process is finding a quiet place to participate in your phone interview. Once you’ve found your quiet place, remove any distractions: turn the TV or radio off, put the dog in the other room and get someone to watch the kids. Any background noise could be a distraction to the interviewer and cause your call to end sooner than you’d hoped.
Make sure to have your prepared interview answers and a copy of the job description ready. And, if you can, use a landline phone — there’s always the possibility of poor service or dropped calls when using a cellphone.
First Impressions are Everything
If you want to move forward in the interview process, you need to make a good first impression on this initial phone interview.
Answer the phone with your name, as in “Hello, this (your name).” This lets the interviewer know that they’ve reached the right person. After they introduce themselves, thank them for taking the time to contact you today. Throughout the call, keep a friendly yet professional tone.
Just like an in-person interview, you’ll want to prepare questions to ask your interviewer at the end of the interview. Some good questions to ask are “What skills are you looking for in a candidate?” or “What do you enjoy about working here?” Your last question should ask them what the next steps in the interview process are.
End on a High Note
This is your final chance to make a lasting impression. After you’re done asking your questions, tell the interviewer why you are the best fit for the position. Give concrete, real-world examples as to why you’re the best fit. Use the job description as a reference and try to touch on each responsibility, telling them why you are the best candidate to tackle the challenges of the position. At the end, thank them again for their time and consideration.
Just like with an in-person interview, it’s a good idea to follow up with the interviewer. Email them to thank them for speaking with you. This is also a good chance for you to reiterate why you’re the best candidate for the position.
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At Burchard and Associates, we’ve helped hundreds of accounting and finance professionals find career opportunities in the St. Louis area and beyond. Check out our available jobs or contact us today to learn how we can help you.