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Phone Interview Tips

Author: Laurie Knafo/Monday, December 30, 2013/Categories: SNI Companies, SNI Financial, SNI Certes, SNI Technology, Accounting Now, Staffing Now

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One of the most misunderstood aspects of the hiring process is the phone interview. In an effort to save time and resources, many employers use phone interviews to help screen out candidates that might not have the skills and personality fit for the position. However, many candidates underestimate the importance of a phone interview, thinking of it as just an administrative step in the interview process. But make no mistake, a phone interview is a “real” interview and if you do not complete it successfully, you’ll never move forward in the process.

The following are six tips to help you make the most of your next phone interview:

1. Avoid Surprises. If you get a call for a phone interview that has not been scheduled in advance, do not feel pressured to do the interview. Let the caller know that you are happy to talk, but could you speak later, and suggest a time. Just like an in person interview - you need to be prepared.

2. Eliminate Interruptions. When doing a phone interview, use a land line if possible. If you have to talk on a cell phone, let the interviewer know and have an action plan should you experience a service interruption. Also, if you are doing the call from home make sure children, pets, and other interruptions are out of the room and if possible supervised.

3. Get Them Talking. Make the most of your time with the interviewer by engaging them in a dialog. While he or she will have a set of questions they want to ask, the interview is also a chance for you to learn about the company and position. Try asking an open-ended question to spark a conversation.

4. Don’t Dominate. One of the biggest challenges to participating in a phone interview is not being able to see the other person. As a result it is easy to get talkative and go on longer than you should. As a rule, don’t speak for more than one minute without pausing. At this point, you can ask if more details are needed and give the interviewer a chance to respond.

5. Listen Actively. Take notes covering the questions the interviewer is asking. This can help you prepare for an in-person interview and to write a great thank-you note after the call.

6. Define Next Steps. At the end of the call, express your interest in the position and thank the interviewer for speaking with you. Also be certain to ask what the next steps are in the process and the overall timeline for filling the position.

Phone interviews can be a challenge, but they are a regular part of the interview process. If you are prepared and focused you can use your next phone interview to get to the top of the in-person interview list.

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Laurie Knafo
Laurie Knafo

Laurie Knafo

Laurie Knafo is Regional Vice President for SNI. Her 30+ years in the recruiting business enable her to bring insightful counsel to companies and candidates looking to make the most out of their staffing relationships.

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Full biography

Laurie Knafo is Regional Vice President for SNI. Her 30+ years in the recruiting business enable her to bring insightful counsel to companies and candidates looking to make the most out of their staffing relationships.

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