Thursday, February 19, 2015

7 ways to rock your next phone interview [Phone Interview Series]

All my interviews have started with a phone interview. I keep a short list of preparations that I do before each call. A successful phone interview leads to a successful interview.

Prepare an introduction

The phone interview is an awkward thing for both strangers involved. The interviewer is usually not accustomed to conducting phone interviews. To help him get started I prepare a short intro. I include a fun fact or maybe mention the cool restaurant I went to for lunch. It doesn't have to be well thought out, just friendly and comfortable. If I'm lucky I can choose a topic that is common interest.

Write down a question for the interviewer

At the end of the phone interview I have usually been given the opportunity to ask a few questions. I read the job description and write down a few things I want to know more about. I also like to ask questions related to the environment and the type of people I would be working with.

Smile while you are on the phone

I know the other person can't see you, but a smile shows through your voice. I put myself into a content mood and smile while talking on the phone. This helps me stay relaxed and puts the interviewer more at ease. Remember that the interviewer's day job isn't as an interviewer, so this is new to him as well.

Read the job description

I know this seems obvious, but I had one phone interview where I made a fool of myself. For some reason I had agreed to a phone interview for what I thought was an engineering position but was actually a graphic design position. All I needed to do was spend one minute reading the job description to realize they were looking for photoshop skills and not coding skills.

Get ready to write

I like to take old fashioned notes while I talk on the phone. The phone interview is such a brief moment that I like to take notes so I can see the conversation trends. The notes help me make sure I say what I want to say and catch any of the interviewer's revealing comments. Often times the culture of the workplace comes through in how the interviewer speaks. By taking notes I can string together a series of observations to recreate a more informed picture of what I'm signing up for.

Make sure to have the iPhone headphones ready

Good audio is important for a phone interview. I make sure that I am in a quiet place and have the iPhone headphones ready to go. In fact, my most recent phone interview was from a sound booth. Clear audio makes the conversation flow more naturally. I think it also conveys a high level of professionalism and preparedness.

Show your personality

The phone interview is usually for pre screening people who are really interested. It is for checking interest and potential compatibility. I like to show my personality and ask questions that reveal the personality of the office I applied to work at. If the personality doesn't fit then I am glad I didn't spend a whole day interviewing with them.

Phone interviews are one of my favorite parts of the process. I get to meet lots of cool and interesting people without committing a whole day to interviews.