If you’ve been seriously looking for a job at all in this job market, you’ve been networking and sending out resumes. For a lot of us though, it takes time, patience, perseverence and thick skin to accept when your skills and qualifications aren’t immediately recognized. That’s because today, employers can receive hundreds of resumes for just one open position. Competition can be fierce.
For now, let’s go ahead and assume that you have a rockin’ resume that’s been pulled out of the pile and you’re now looking at an email response declaring the need for a telephone interview tomorrow. Great!
Now how do you best prepare for your telephone interview and what kinds of questions can you expect?
From my own experience, I advise you to expect fluffy, hard and surprise questions, all designed to test you on how well you think on your feet. The interviewer, afterall, is attempting to screen out as many people as possible before advancing the more serious candidates on to the traditional interview. It may not even be what you say but how your voice sounds on the phone, how you handle surprises and whether you conduct yourself professionally.
3 Tips to Prepare for the Telephone Interview
You should prepare for a telephone interview the very same way that you would prepare for a traditional face-to-face interview. However, unless it’s a video conference call, you don’t need to decide what to wear. Once you know the time the interviewer will be calling you, you can make sure you have no distractions, like kids or pets, loud radios or televsions, etc.
And let’s get started:
- Review the company’s website. If you didn’t review the website as you prepared your application materials, make sure you do before the telephone interview. It’s critically important to learn as much as you can before you speak to them to be considered for employment. (Maybe you’re not even interested, after all!)
- Google the person who will be interviewing you. Chances are they’ve googled you, scoured your social media profiles, found your blog and reviewed your tweets. It will help build confidence if you get a better feel for the person you’ll be speaking to.
- Develop a list of routine interview questions and prepare your answers in writing. This is probably the most important thing you can do. You should ask yourself the questions you know you’ll have the most trouble answering. Then write your answers down. Having prepared written answers can calm your nerves and help you organize your thoughts. You don’t have to recite them, but it might not be a bad idea.
- Consider how you answer hard questions. For instance, if you left your last job on less-than-desirable terms, you might prepare your answer to the obvious question, “Why did you leave your last position?” You can work on your wording so you feel your answer is just right. It should go with out saying that you should never, ever, ever bad mouth your former boss or coworkers.
- Plan how you will answer surprise questions. Some interviewers throw in surprise questions so they can gage how committed to the job you might be. For example, on a recent telephone interview I participated in, I was asked if my availability could extend to 8:30pm four nights a week with appointments on Saturdays.
It can be nerve wracking preparing for any interview. But the more you prepare, the better you will feel before, during and after the telephone interview.
You can see some actual questions that were recently posed to me during a telephone interview I participated in here: 6 Telephone Interview Questions.
How do you prepare for interviews?