The objective of the interviewer is to winnow down those applicants applying for a position to a very small handful – perhaps 3 or 4 – for second-level interviews (step two of the interviewing process).
Provided that you are both interested in the position and feel that you are qualified to do the job, your objective is to make it to the second-level…so that you can then make it to the third-level and… then get a job offer.
Clearly your qualifications are an important criteria during the interview process but you can inadvertently send some bad signals that can torpedo your chances of moving on. Remember – interviewing is a single-elimination process!
And most often – that first interview will be over the phone…where it is hard to bring your personality to bear.
Here are some guidelines of how to conduct that telephone interview….and survive to make it to the next round:
1. Make sure you have a good connection. Very few things are more frustrating to both parties than a cell phone conversation where every other phrase seems to be “can you hear me?”! If you are on a land-line there should be no problem (unless the caller is on a cell phone in a poor coverage area). If on a cell and your reception is poor – apologize and ask when is a good time for you to call back or take a call when you will be in a good coverage zone.
2. Be prepared to interview. Respond to questions promptly with your prepared and rehearsed answers (see my first blog post – May 1, 2013 on the subject of drafting and rehearsing an answer to EVERY possible question you might be asked! This is a stand-alone chapter in my book – Chapter 8: “Interviewing – The Bridge Between You and Your Next Job!”).
3. Show enthuasism. Be up and friendly… show a high energy level. Smile when you talk – it will increase the energy level in your voice. If you normally speak in a monotone… time to crank it up and inject energy into your voice!
4. Focus – focus – focus. Let no distraction get in the way of devoting all of your mental powers of concentration on the conversation. Don’t let your eyes wander.
5. Listen carefully to the question and answer it specifically. Don’t wander around the landscape with information that is not germane to the question asked. I refer to it as “tell him or her what time it is… not how to build a clock!”.
6. Ask questions – but only the right questions. The right questions seek to clarify what the job is all about; flesh out what you already know to get a good picture – overall – of the position. The time for the nitty-gritty details will come in subsequent interviews. The wrong questions are the “what’s in it for me” questions – “when will I get a raise”?; “how many vacation days will I get the first year”?; etc.
7. Wrap up the interview by showing interest. Unless you are 100% sure the job is not for you, end the interview with “I really enjoyed talking with you about this opportunity – I am really interested! When might I hear back from you?”
Interviewing is truly “The Bridge Between You and Your Next Job”…and it is your responsibility to navigate the process to make the cut!