by Torski Dobson-Arnold
I have been unemployed for three months and have been getting calls about my resume. What I find challenging is that there are more requests to conduct phone interviews versus face-to-face interviews. I am able to sell myself better by meeting a hiring manager in person. But because I can’t seem to get personal interviews, I have not been able to move past the phone screen. What tips can help me get past this process? I don’t want this to continue to sabotage my efforts when my resume is creating interest.
Poor Phone Screen Candidate
Congratulations on creating an effective resume that gets you noticed! You are on the right track back to gaining employment. You are correct: Many companies today are using the phone screen as a way to narrow applicant pools and to minimize costs associated with coordinating and scheduling face-to-face interviews. However, preparing for the phone interview is not all that different than preparing for a personal interview. Review the following tips and implement them into your job search strategy to have the next call move you forward in the hiring process.
1. Prepare for the phone interview the same way you would if it were face-to-face.
Identify an accomplishment for each past position listed on the resume. Research the company and link your accomplishments to how you can add value to the organization. Make sure you have pen and paper handy for note-taking. Clear the area of any distractions like kids, pets, TV, etc. Some job seekers even report hints of delivering a more polished rapport by dressing the part as well in a shirt and tie or business suit.
2. Practice for the interview.
Have someone ask you sample questions and tape yourself. Interviewing on the phone is not as easy at it may seem. Continue to rehearse behavioral interview questions until you can deliver your responses with clarity and conviction in your voice.
I know you wish you could be looking into the eyes of the interviewer, but believe me, a smile can be heard over the phone and does wonders to generate enthusiasm and rapport. Don’t eat or chew gum. Enunciate your words and speak clearly as to articulate your thoughts.
4. Show appreciation and say thank you.
Whether over the phone or in person, the interviewer has taken time out of her day to speak with you, so send a thank you note at the end of the interview. Have questions ready to ask at the end of the interview and confirm next steps. Always ask and verify the interviewer’s name, email, and address for follow-up questions or concerns after the call.
The primary purpose of the phone screen is to determine whether or not you qualify and warrant a face-to-face interview. The more you prepare, the better your chances of sealing the deal in a face-to-face setting. Stay positive and put your best “voice” forward!
Wishing you nothing but success in all of your career endeavors,
Torski Dobson-Arnold, The Career Confidence Coach
Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Is your Facebook page hurting your job search? Find out in Torski’s next column, Oct. 13!