A strong performance by a job seeker during a phone interview is a critical component to success in the hiring process. Despite this seemingly obvious statement, it’s amazing how often candidates fail to prepare for the basics of an impending phone interview. While there’s no set playbook in terms of the questions interviewers may ask, there is a platform of success that each candidate should begin with for every phone interview to ensure they’re ready to put the best foot forward with the interviewer.
- Do the proper research. With the availability of information on corporate websites, professional social media and other online sources, there’s no excuse for a candidate not to have a basic understanding of the company’s products or services. Candidates should understand who the competition is, how the top-level leadership is organized, company history, any current challenges they’re facing, trending company news, and other pertinent information that shows the client they grasp the current status of the organization. Additionally, any research the job seeker can do on the interviewer is important. The professional networking website LinkedIn or the hiring company’s “About Us” section on their corporate website (if the interviewer is a senior-level employee) is a good source for this information. LinkedIn can also help the candidate find people in their professional network that might work at that company that can provide them with additional insight in to the company, hiring manager or role.
- Make it a conversation. Phone interviews should not just be a question and answer session with the interview asks the candidate a question, candidate responds and simply moves on to the next question as if there were some sort of checklist. Good interviewers look for candidates who are engaged and invested. Job seekers should take the research they did and ask informed, thoughtful questions about the role, company, competition, challenges and other topics that show the interviewer that they have done the research and are genuinely interested.
- Create an environment for success. One of the biggest head-scratchers for interviewers is when interviewees choose environments or situations that are not conducive to a successful phone interview. There’s nothing more frustrating for an interviewer than for a candidate to take the interview call in a noisy environment where neither party can hear each other, be rushed because they haven’t blocked off the appropriate amount of time, or to be in an area where there is a lousy cellphone connection (when in doubt, use a good old-fashioned landline!). In order to have a successful conversation, the two parties need to be actually able to hear each other, distractions need to be at a minimum, and enough time needs to be blocked off so both parties can cover what needs to be covered.
So, next time you have a phone interview lined up for that new job you’ve been on the hunt for, take a few minutes to go over the basics. After all, interviews are stressful enough – don’t make them even harder but not being prepared!
At CEO Inc., we work with all of our candidates to ensure they’re properly prepared for every interview situation with our clients, including phone interviews. For a look at the current opportunities we’re working on for our clients, please visit our featured jobs.