How to Ace the Phone Interview

Picture this: your phone pings with a personal email.  You take a look.  It’s a recruiter asking to talk with you about a job.  You send a note back with a time and then sit back to try to figure out what you are going to say.

Before the Call

  • Read about the opportunity.
  • Think about what you would find appealing in a new role or a new manager or a new company.
  • Plan where you want to be for the call.  Your home office is great.  If your house gets loud (and who’s doesn’t?), head out to the car.  Its quiet and chances are, no one will find you to ask where to find the snacks or the dental floss.
  • Be ready to talk about your responsibilities and career path.
  • Make sure your phone is charged.
  • Have a list of questions ready to ask.
  • Take a few deep breaths and wait for the phone to ring.

During the Call

  • Wait for the full question to be asked.  Resist the temptation to jump on the answer before you actually know  the question.
  • Speak as clearly as possible.  Slow down a little. Pause often, even for just a moment.
  • Keep your answers concise.
  • Make sure to ask about the next steps in the process so you can be prepared.

After the Call

  • Send a note acknowledging the conversation.
  • Write some notes about what you learned.
  • Think about what you want to do about the opportunity.
  • If you are not going to pursue it, maybe there is someone you know who might find it appealing.  Passing on this sort of information to a friend or former colleague is always very appreciated.
  • You can turn what was a luke warm conversation into big pile of good karma.

Way After the Call

If you have not heard anything after a week, you can send a note.  If a few more days pass without any news, you can leave a voice mail.  After that, move on.  The company may just have a long process or someone may be away.  They will contact you if they want you and then it will be your choice to pursue or not.

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