Tag Archives: phone interview

VIDEO: Making an Impression During a Phone Interview

Impressing someone you can’t see.

Phone interviews are often the first step to getting your dream job. But it can be difficult to express yourself without seeing your interviewer’s face. How do you steer the conversation if you don’t know how your interviewer is reacting?

Luckily, some of our top Express recruiters are here with tips to help you succeed in your next phone interview.

Companies care about culture, and you want to show your personality fits right in, even over the phone. Now you’re ready to do just that.

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Phone Interviews: Impress in 30 Minutes or Less

phoneinterview_oct2014_webWhen you’re on the hunt for a new job, you know that interviews are just part of the process. You may love them or hate them, but they are expected and shouldn’t come as a surprise. But, these days more and more employers are using phone interviews to screen out candidates, which could cause anxiety for some job seekers

Forbes explains that this allows employers to “sort through candidates without committing to the expense and time required for on-site meet-ups.”

Job board and career advisement site Monster.com echoes the same observations. “Many companies use phone interviews as an initial employment screening technique for a variety of reasons. Because they’re generally brief, phone interviews save companies time. They also serve as a more realistic screening alternative for cases in which companies are considering out-of-town, or out-of-state, or international candidates.”

With that reality in mind, it’s important that job seekers begin to anticipate the likelihood of phone interviews. Here’s five tips to help you ace your next phone interview and make the right impression within the first 30 minutes.

Treat It Like Any Other Interview
As one hiring manager told Yahoo Finance, “A phone interview is still an interview, not an informal phone call with a friend.” You still have to be ready to put your best foot forward. SO, be ready for some tough interview questions.

Set Yourself Up For a Win
Before your phone interview, you need to have confirmed several pieces of important information. Double-check the exact time of the call; find out the anticipated length of time the call will last; and clarify who’s calling whom, and who will be on the call. All of this information will help you know what to expect and be better prepared for the interview so you’ll make a good first impression.

Check Your Sound
Obviously you want your phone and environment to be conducive to the best call possible, but there’s another sound element that’s even more vital: the sound of your own voice. In fact, Forbes found that a job candidate not sounding awake, alert, and excited is the number one phone interview mistake. “Without visual cues, interviewers are paying extra close attention to the content of your answers and anything else they can glean from your voice. So, lackluster answers or low energy could be interpreted as a lack of interest…”

That means you need to be fully awake, have warmed up your voice, and have a smile on your face by the time the phone rings so they’re immediately impressed with your voice.

Do Your Homework
Just like an in-person interview, you should thoroughly research the company, position, and interviewers prior to the scheduled call. One of the plus-sides to phone interviews is you can have all your notes spread out and readily available to you during the conversation. However, don’t think you can research on the fly while you’re talking with the potential employer. You want everything organized in front of you so that when you need to reference your notes you aren’t distracted and the interviewers don’t hear the sound of rustling papers or typing. Being prepared to ask a thoughtful question or make an insightful comment will start the interview out on the right foot.

Be an Active Listener
In a phone interview, you don’t have the luxury of facial expressions or body language to aid in your listening and comprehension – you have to utilize your active listening skills. This is important throughout the entire phone call and vital to giving an overall good impression, but it’s especially important for the beginning of the call. You’ll want to match the names of the interviewers to their voices, allowing you to better phrase and direct your responses as the interview proceeds, and help you in the very important follow-up process.

US News explains it this way, “Employers usually have far more qualified candidates than they can interview, so they’ll look for ways to narrow down that pool. If you sound low-energy, unfriendly, distracted, or simply unprofessional, or if you chronically interrupt or don’t communicate clearly, they’ll put you straight into the ‘no’ pile.”  That means you must learn to ace phone interviews if you hope to impress potential employers and land the job you want.

What have been your own experiences with phone interviews? How do you prepare for and treat them differently than face-to-face interviews? Tell us in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Dial me This: Questions to Ask in a Phone Interview

questions to ask in a phone interviewLet’s face it. Getting a job isn’t a walk in the park. With such a high number of people looking for work, more employers are trying to find ways of narrowing down their applicant pool. One increasingly popular method is the phone interview. This helps employers save time and resources by weeding out unqualified or unsuitable candidates.

The phone interview may seem like a great idea for some job seekers, but it’s more than just answering questions while still wearing your pajamas. There’s still a lot of preparation needed to excel at this type of job interview because it is just as important as a typical face-to-face interview.

One of the most frequently asked questions to Movin’ On Up is what to ask during a phone interview. Some questions that work for regular interviews might not for an initial phone screening. But which ones do you ask? Here are some guidelines on what to ask during a phone interview.

Don’t be a Time Guzzler
Phone interviews are generally quick and to the point. They typically don’t last as long as normal in-person meetings, so it’s not the time for idle chit chat. Make sure your questions are quick and to the point. Employers often schedule several phone interviews in a short period of time, so taking too much time runs the risk of cutting into other applicants’ interview times, which could reflect poorly on you.

While there is no set number of questions to ask, consider asking prior to the call how long you can anticipate the call being. Try limiting yourself to three to five questions. Good phone interview questions clarify job duties or inquire about the workplace structure. They shouldn’t be very in-depth and require a lot of discussion.  Just prove that you’ve done your homework and show your interest in the employer.

What Not to Ask
Things like benefits, hours, or job salary may be important to you and affect your decision making, but there will be plenty of time to talk about them if you move forward. The phone interview is typically to clarify key points before the next step in the process. If it comes up, answer and ask. Don’t just start those conversations.

Phone interview questions need to be short and to the point, because the interviewers will often make decisions based on what you ask. Make sure your questions couldn’t easily be found on the employer’s website. This gives the impression that you’re ill prepared. Instead, try asking questions that demonstrate your preparedness. Start questions with, “so, I noticed on your website that…”

Ask Away
You may want to ask some specific questions relevant to the position or employer. It’s best to ask behavioral or open-ended questions. Here are some examples of questions you could ask:
•    Who would this position report to?
•    What are the daily responsibilities of this position?
•    What is the hiring process like?
•    How would you describe the company culture?
•    How are you evaluating candidates?

Asking About the Future
There’s one important question you should ask at the end of an interview. Find out about the next steps and the employer’s timeline for getting back to you. That way, you’ll know when to expect to hear back from the employer, and you won’t be sitting around waiting for more information, wondering why they haven’t called back or sent a letter.

It’s better to confirm the next steps in as much detailed as possible. Assume a more active role and try to get a commitment from the interviewer on when you’ll be contacted and what happens next. Try not to settle for “we’ll let you know,” but for a more specific plan of action.

By using these helpful hints on what to ask during a phone interview, you will improve your chances of getting more offers, and you will also feel more empowered and prepared throughout the hiring process. What are some of your favorite questions to ask during a phone interview? If you’ve had any phone interview experiences, share them in the comments section below.