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What’s The 411? How to Prepare for a Phone Interview

Posted by Eileen Hoenigman Meyer

Career Advice Expert

Last Updated August 2, 2016

If you’ve secured a phone interview, then your resume and cover letter are turning heads, which is no small feat. According to Glassdoor’s data, each corporate job post attracts an average of 250 resumes. So pat yourself on the back. You’re a stand-out!

Now it’s time to do your homework. Phone interviews are short meetings, usually no longer than 30 minutes, during which interviewers access candidate’s general fit for the open position.

Follow these five steps to prepare yourself to maximize the opportunity:

1. Review the position description.
Learn everything you can about the position that you are about to discuss and take careful notes. Because this is a screening round, the interview questions tend to be open-ended and general. So think about questions like: “What attracted you to this position” and “Why do you think you would be a good fit for this job?” Note your answers as you examine the job posting.

Also, jot down any questions that you have about the position, the company or about the hiring timeline. Toward the end of the call, you will have the chance to pose your questions.

[Related: What Interview Questions Will You Be Asked?]

2. Research the company.
Familiarize yourself with the organization that’s hiring and the work it enacts. See what information you can find about the staff and what it’s like to work there. Perhaps you can find details about the team that has the open position that you are pursuing.

Think about how the company and the position fit with your professional goals. Are you excited about the position and the organization? Remember that job interviewing is a two-way street, and talent is a precious commodity.

3. Learn about the interviewer.
Often candidates are invited to participate in phone interview via email, at which point you usually learn the name and title of the interviewer. He or she is likely to be a human resources professional or a recruiter rather than the manager who has the available position. Once you have that information, do some recon about the professional who will be conducting the screening. It’s helpful to learn about his or her professional background.

[Related: Last Minute Phone Interview Tips]

4. Set the stage.
Schedule this meeting for a time where you can give it your undivided attention. Make sure you have a quiet place to talk, a fully charged phone, a copy of your resume and your notes.

5. Harness your chi.
Phone calls can be awkward. Know this going in and make your peace with it. Let the interviewer lead this phone call. Try not to get nervous and babble. Be purposeful, mindful and polite. If you need to rehearse in order to feel calm about this, then do so. Have someone who you trust and with whom you feel comfortable call you, and run through a trial call.

Good luck!

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