In all my experience with preparing candidates for interviews, the hardest interviews that people have are with phone interviews. And understandably so – phone interviews are a lot harder than the face-to-face interview. Not only are you dealing entirely with verbal cues as to the interviewer’s interest, but you are also on the self-timer when it comes to answers. Go too long, and you’ve lost the interest of the person on the other end of the line. Go too short, and you can be interpreted as lacking experience and credibility for the job you are interviewing for.
You know the saying “an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure?” Nothing could apply more directly for the phone interview. Preparation is the key to getting to the next step in the hiring process, and being passed over by the recruiter for the next candidate.
First, start by doing your research on the company and the position. What are they looking for? What deficits does the company have that you can immediately fill with your skills and experience? How do you fix their problem, and fill in the needs of the company?
Next, research the individual you will be interviewing with. Put their name in on Google and see what comes up. Check out their LinkedIn account to view their background. If you can draw parallels with them and find common ground by which you can both work, your conversation will go that much easier on interview day.
Finally, prepare your answers to the interview. Brevity is key on this one: Don’t go so long that you lose their attention, but don’t give too little detail that you don’t answer the question. Try to have your answers prepared for thirty seconds or less. If you have more to share, you can always ask if they want you to continue, or if you have answered their question.
The phone interview does not have to be as intimidating as it sounds. With the right preparation, you can be ready to sound like the competition, instead of a competitor.