CUNY LEADS: Preparing for a Phone Interview
Recently I was on the phone with a student who was preparing for a job interview. She was very excited about the position and said that the company scheduled her for a phone screening which would determine whether she would be invited for the next step which is the on-site interview with the human resources team.
During this conversation, I observed that she was well prepared to discuss her background, interests and skills in the field of nursing. She just completed her degree and was now entering the field as a professional after working as a nurse’s aide in the past. Unfortunately during our phone conversation, I noticed something else – the cell service was so poor that it was hard to understand what she was saying. Additionally, the call dropped and she had to call back twice.
So why am I telling you this?
Getting hired is hard work. We focus on the job preparation and creating a great resume and cover letter. When things go well, we get the opportunity to for the job interview. Presently, many companies conduct the initial screening interview on the telephone. While this method can be very time effective, it requires us to focus on a different subset of job seeking strategies and skills. May we offer a few suggestions for successful phone interviews:
- Wherever possible use a landline or be sure that you are on a good cell connection. You do not want to have bad static or disruptions on the call.
- Be sure that you are at the phone when the call is expected. You do not want the call to go to voicemail. It is the same as being a no show for an in person interview.
- If you can disable call waiting, do so. That momentary beep can be very annoying and may interrupt your thought process.
- Show your enthusiasm with your voice and your responses. The telephone interviewer cannot see your smile, body language or your eye contact. You need to communicate your interest verbally.
- Be well prepared for the interview. This is where you may have an advantage – you can keep notes in front of you, but just be sure that you are not reading from a script.
- A moment of silence is ok. The interviewer may need to think about the next question.
- If you need to think about your response, say so. Don’t feel the need to fill every second with words. Quality of response is important.
- Close the conversation on a positive note and thank the person for the opportunity to interview for the position. Express your interest and say that you would be very interested in talking further about the job – in person.
As always, we wish you success with your job search!
CUNY LEADS (City University of New York Linking Employment, Academics and Disability Services) is a program of CUNY created to provide students with disabilities the skills to make realistic academic and career choices that will result in successful careers. CUNY LEADS will share job search insight on this blog on the 2nd Tuesday of every month.
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The views, opinions, or expressions provided by CUNY LEADS do not necessarily represent the views, opinions, or expressions of the City of New York and/or the New York City Department of Small Business Services.