The Telephone Interview: Tips for Success

September 17, 2013 in Career and Job Search Tips, Interview Tips




Last week, we did a blog on “How to Answer the Interview Question Tell Me About Yourself”. In part two of this seven part interview tip series, we touch on tips for a successful phone interview. 

Follow these eight tips on your next telephone interview and remember to call your Kinsa Recruiter afterward:

1.Confirm with your Kinsa recruiter both your location and the location of the interviewer so that you have the correct time for the interview (Eastern, Central, Mountain, or Pacific).

2. Set up a suitable environment. Ensure that you are in a location where you will have a strong, clear phone connection. Make sure your phone is fully charged. Eliminate potentially noisy distractions.  Keep a glass of water nearby.

3. Before the call, dissect the job description.  Divide a sheet of paper into two columns. In the left column list what the job requires. On the right, describe how you fulfilled that requirement in previous positions.  Keep these notes handy, as well as your resume and information obtained about the company. Check off the points as you discuss them during the phone interview. If you’re invited for a face-to-face interview, these notes will help you to remember what you and the company contact discussed earlier.

  • Your first contact may be with Human Resources – Likely asking questions to confirm you have the qualifications for the position: appropriate degree, right amount of experience, willingness to relocate and so on.  But may also drift into a few qualitative areas: Are you sufficiently enthusiastic?  Do you sound intelligent?  Are you articulate?  Are you the type of person who would fit well within the department and the company?
  • If your phone interview is with the actual hiring manager, this person may be your next boss and this will be their first impression of you.  Realize the questions will be much more specific and more depth is needed in your answers.

4. Once you answer the phone: relax, be yourself, and answer the questions to the best of your ability.  Since they can’t see you, play up your verbal cues-smile as you speak, be animated, stand up if it keeps you more fully engaged.

5. Make sure you have a notepad and pen so you can jot down notes and any questions you would like to ask at the end of the interview.

6. Do not bring up salary during this first conversation, but if you are asked what compensation you are expecting: confirm your current salary (shared with Kinsa’s recruiter already) and let them know you are looking for the right career opportunity and hope that the compensation will match the position responsibilities and your expertise.

7. Finally, as you wrap up the call, ask the interviewer about the next step.

8. Remember to call your Kinsa recruiter immediately after the phone interview to discuss your feedback and next steps.

Typically, your Kinsa Recruiter will call you to set up a telephone interview.  However, if the company contacts you directly and wants to plow right into it as soon as you answer the phone, there’s nothing wrong with asking if they could call back at a mutually agreeable time.  This will give you an opportunity to prepare your surroundings for a successful interview and let Kinsa know of the upcoming interview.