So, you’ve gotten an email from a company responding to your submitted resume and the human resources manager or department head would like to set up a phone interview.
Congratulations! All that time and effort you put into building and writing your resume has finally paid off. Now, you need to put in a little more work if you want to smash that upcoming interview out of the park. If you ace the phone interview, not only will you guarantee yourself a face-to-face interview – you’ll also have more points than the competition.
Be prepared to succeed
After you’ve arranged for a time and date to conduct the interview, make sure you have accessible copies of the cover letter you sent, your resume and the job posting. Hopefully, the company’s job posting included a detailed description of the duties and responsibilities, and having a copy of that in front of you will allow you to have an informed discussion about the open position.
As you should with an in-person interview, prepare to answer both common and a few oddball questions. If you’ll be part of a conference call with multiple interviewers, try practicing with multiple family members or friends who you are comfortable with and can trust to provide honest feedback.
Let your STAR shine
One frequently suggested way to get ready for a phone interview is to prepare a STAR document. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Results, and this document will help you show off your project management and problem-solving skills.
Situation: Describe a work project that you needed to complete or an inefficiency you needed to address.
Task: Outline the possible solutions to the situation.
Action: State the action you took and the reasoning behind it.
Result: Give the final outcome.
Creating a document using these STAR will prepare you with a number of anecdotes for the common interview questions about the times you showed initiative, problem-solving skills or leadership.
Acing the Interview
Once you are fully prepared, and have extensively research the company, there are only a few simple things to keep in mind for your actual performance in the interview.
A dropped call or bad connection can quickly derail a phone interview and could send the wrong impression. Make sure you won’t be in a ‘dead zone’ when you’re expecting the call, or use a landline if possible.
If you’re feeling nervous or overly confident – you may feel the desire to drone on and on about your qualifications or interest in the job. Keep your answers to less than two minutes. Also, don’t mistake the interviewer’s silence for disinterest or as an invitation to talk. This is where referring to your STAR document should come in handy in framing the conversation. Always be prepared to ask relevant questions to the interviewer. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
Finally, try to exude an enthusiasm for the job and your industry in general. Experts suggest you stand and move around the room as you talk – as if you were giving a presentation. Even though the interviewer can’t see you, smiling while you talk is a trick that makes your voice sound more cheerful.
At CAREERXCHANGE®, we want all of our job candidates to ace their interviews. For additional tips, stop in to our office or give us a call about employment opportunities in South Florida.