Though the interview process is changing rapidly in today’s employment environment with many initial contacts from recruiters and search committees now taking place via Skype, it is extremely comforting to be able to present your resume and qualifications via a telephone interview from the solace of your own home from time to time.
To be able to sell yourself and answer personal questions from the comfort of a chair in your house while dressed in casual attire provides the aura of a conversation or discussion rather than an interview which sometimes can feel like an interrogation for candidates. This conversation method provides numerous advantages to the usual give and take of an interview. For those who are comfortable in talking about themselves and their achievements, this approach reveals much more insight into the candidate than your typical interview.
Of course a conversation is only worthwhile if both individuals on the phone are comfortable with such an approach. Unfortunately personalities being what they are, sometimes a written list of questions is more satisfying for some recruiters and search committees than just “shooting the breeze” to determine whether this individual is appropriate to advance to the next level where the participants actually sit across the table from each other.
Whether the telephone interview is a scripted event or just an initial “give and take,” it is always vital for the candidate to have his messaging down pat. Make sure that you insert your vital accomplishments and experiences into the conversation whenever appropriate.
It is also important for the candidate to direct the conversation down the road that best highlights your abilities for this particular job. Talk about what you have done in the past but make sure you can relate them to this job and this community.
Here are just a few tips prior to and during an interview that you may want to implement:
1) Always Google the individual(s) that will be interviewing you. Find out where they have worked before and what college they attended. You never know how you relate to the interviewer. Check out their LinkedIn Profile – such information might be very relevant to your discussion.
2) Remember it is important to give a positive first impression. Make sure your persona is one that the interviewer would like to meet again, in person.
3) Be prepared to give your personal Elevator Speech. This is your brand and you must position yourself in the best of situations, if you want to be advanced to the next stage of the process.
4) Think through and even rehearse answers to such questions as:
* Why did you leave your last job?
* What would your fellow employees say about you?
* What do you like best in your typical day?
* What kind of management style do you have?
* What would be your ideal job?
* How do you relate to your boss or Board of Directors?
5) Find the one place in your house that is quiet and comfortable enough for you to be interviewed. If you are using a portable phone – make sure it is fully powered! Use a land line rather than a cellular phone – less opportunity for a dropped call.
6) Be prepared to ask questions about the organization. Make sure you have done your homework.
7) Never finish the interview without your manditory close. Emphasize again why you are the ideal candidate for this job and why you are available for this position right now.
8) Always determine the next step in the process and when you can expect hearing from them.
9) Follow-up with a thank you e-mail. Make sure you compose and send it the same day or as quickly as possible. Such an e-mail shows your interest and appreciation for the appointment.
In this job environment where interviews are becoming harder and harder to secure, it is vital for every candidate to come to the game prepared. Remember, you are talking about the subject you know the most about – you. There is no reason to be anxious and there definitely is no reason for you not to be excited and engaged about this possible employment opportunity.
Dan Borschke is a Certified Association Executive who has been a CEO for 3 distinct trade associations in his career. He is one of only 230 Association Executives worldwide who has been granted the prestigious designation of Fellow by the American Society of Association Executives since 1986. He currently is between positions and has written more than 50,000 words or 100 blog postings on the topics of job search and career transition.
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