At W.T. Glover & Associates, we interview a lot of people. We’ve seen stellar interviews and we’ve seen some truly terrible ones. But before anyone comes through our door, they have to pass a phone interview. Phone interviews usually aren’t as comprehensive as on-site interviews, but that’s not necessarily to your advantage; you’ll have less opportunity to impress. You need to make the most of the time you have and be ready and prepared.
Preparing For A Phone Interview
Step 1 – Research the Company
You might think this is obvious, but you’re not in the majority. Who would you hire: someone who was barely aware your company existed prior to today, or someone who knows yesterday was your H.R. manager’s birthday? Looking like your interested in the company is never a bad thing.
There are two great resources for researching companies. First, their website. You can find a ton of info on a site and it’s blog. Look for processes, client names, achievements, locations, and important people in the company. The second place to turn is LinkedIn. Look up bio’s of the people interviewing you. Look for keywords like achievements and prior companies they’ve worked for.
Step 2 – Come Up With Questions Of Your Own
Every interview comes to end with “Do you have any questions for us?” Most often, people don’t and that’s ok. But it’s just ok. Go the extra mile and compose some questions of your own that likely won’t be covered in the phone interview. Don’t ask about money, benefits or hours! Here are some good examples:
- Why is the position open?
- What type of candidate are you looking for?
- What types of projects and responsibilities are involved?
- What would you want me to accomplish in the first six months?
Step 3 – Correlate Experiences
Provide examples of your background that correlate to the employers job. What that means is make your experience applicable. Ideally, the job you’re applying for is at least in the same field. Showing the connection between being a website copywriter and a blogger is pretty easy.
But if you’re switching careers, you might have a tougher time of it. In this case, think outside the box. Trying to get a job teaching after years of working for a vet? Well, you have plenty of experience handling animals, so that should count for something. Hopefully your connections are a little more positive than my example is!
Step 4 – Provide Quantitative Results
This is easy. Show them something you did with a number attached to it, preferably a monetary unit. Something that’s less abstract than just “this saved them a lot of money”. Be specific on both how you saved/earned them money and how much you saved/earned. Tell them how you streamlined the bottle washing line and cut soap costs 20% saving your previous employer $123k a year.
People like real numbers. It’s hard to care about 20%, but $123,000 dollars is something near and dear to any companies heart. If you can prove a record of helping a company increase it’s profits, you’re in the home stretch.
Step 5 – Almost Ready
So before you make the call, make sure your resume is on hand. If you can, have their website pulled up in front of you. Make sure you’re in a quiet location and you’ll be free from interruptions. Try to use a landline, but if thats not an option, at least make sure your cell phone is fully charged.
Remember, there’s one goal with a phone interview: To impress the employer enough that they call you in for the on-site interview. It’s when you’re face to face that you can really sell yourself and get the job. How? Well that’s an article for another day!
Dan Ryan is the Sr. Director of Recruiting and one of the most successful recruiters in Pittsburgh at W.T. Glover & Associates. If you’re looking for a new career, contact us now and see what we can do for you!