Strategic CIO // Team Building & Staffing
05:10 PM
Connect Directly
Repost This

5 Ways To Ace Phone Interviews

Spend all your time preparing for the face-to-face interview and you may not move past the phone interview step.

8 LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes
8 LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Your phone interview stands between you and the new job you really want. Present yourself badly, and you won't get the chance to make an impression in person. Yet many people do not start phone interviews ready to win, said Gianna Scorsone, chief of staff at recruiting firm Mondo.

"Ninety-five percent of the time an interview is going to start with a phone screen, and very few people prepare for it," Scorsone said. "Hiring managers are looking to make sure that not only do your skills fit, but that your personality is a good fit for their company, too. That's the crucial part -- they're deciding whether it's worthwhile or not to bring you in for a face-to-face interview."

Navigating a phone interview has its challenges: You don't have the luxury of reading facial expressions to gauge how well the conversation is going. Without the face-to-face interaction, it's also more difficult to determine whether you're answering the hiring manager's questions as expected, Scorsone said. But as awkward and uncertain as phone interviews can feel, you can take steps to make sure you nail it.

[ It's a good idea to refresh your LinkedIn profile once a month. Read more: LinkedIn Tips: 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Profile. ]

1. Research Talking Points

Your first step should be to research both the company and the interviewer.

"Research the company and their trigger events, or what's going on in their world," Scorsone said. "Know … any new products they've launched recently. And with social media so prevalent, you'd be crazy not to do some research on the person who's interviewing you. Go to LinkedIn and look at their accomplishments and try to find something you can relate to and create a common bond."

2. Turn The Interview Into A Conversation

Your goal during the phone interview is to create a connection with your interviewer, and the best way to do that is to turn the interview into more of a conversation, Scorsone said.

"After you've done your research, make a list of your talking points. You don't have to keep the question-and-answer format where the interviewer is asking all the questions and you're doing all the answering," she said. "Flip it so you're asking them some questions. That's one way to transform a sterile interview into a friendly conversation."

Making the interview more conversational gives you an opportunity to better showcase your personality, Scorsone said. Remember that the interviewer wants to determine whether you'll fit in with the team.

3. Tell Stories

One of the most common mistakes job candidates make during a phone interview is using what Scorsone calls "blank statements," such as describing yourself as a "hard worker" or "very knowledgeable with Microsoft technologies." Instead, you need to show the interviewer how you're a hard worker or why you're knowledgeable about Microsoft technologies.

1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Alex Kane Rudansky
Alex Kane Rudansky,
User Rank: Author
9/5/2013 | 9:18:56 PM
re: 5 Ways To Ace Phone Interviews
These are fantastic tips. It's always good to showcase specific examples of talent instead of vague character traits that all applicants say they have.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 - 2014
Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators.
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.