After a telephone interview, it’s critical that you write down important notes as soon as possible. These notes can make a big difference later, when you’re meeting face-to-face with the hiring manager. Note taking is critical because of:
- New information. What did you learn?
- Information that was different than before the interview
- Insights about people you will interview later on
- Insights about strategies, direction or issues of the organization or function
- Items that you need to think about before your next meeting
Of special note are the questions asked about items you hadn’t expected. These are usually more important than questions you did expect. Identify the subjects that are in your areas of strength from those that aren’t, so you can fill in the soft spots next time.
Lastly, assess your interview interactions to the following questions:
- What’s your overall assessment of the interviews? Positive, neutral or negative. There’s a high correlation between your views of the interview and the person doing the interviewing. Very seldom will one side be very positive and the other very negative.
- Was the time of the actual interview as scheduled, shorter or longer? If your interview time went well beyond the time allotted, that’s usually a positive sign.
- Did you talk strictly about the function or did you drift into other areas of the business well beyond the open position? If yes, you may be seen as a broader businessperson.
- Did the conversation casually shift to areas of information sharing that went beyond the norm? The more comfortable and open they are with you, the better.
- Did they talk about the last person in the job or issues of the function? That’s good if they did. They may view you with a high potential success factor in the function.
- Did you discuss alternative solutions to the issues of the function? Did you discuss strategies? Did you discuss an assessment of the function? That’s excellent, as they’re thinking about an entry strategy.
- Have they asked when you could start the new job or when you’ll hear back from them? If they’re interested enough to talk about a starting date, they are interested in you as a top candidate. Be positive, flexible and accommodating.
- What were their answers to your “Show-Stopper” questions: “What are the short/long term issues needing resolution?” And “What are their expectations for results from the new hire within 6 months?” These questions and answers are critical to understand the key issues and performance expectations. Few candidates get that information, but it’s a huge advantage when you do.
By assessing the questions and answers within an interview, you’ll become expert at sensing how well the interview is going and making self-corrections. You’ll become a well-trained “actor” who can give a compelling interview given any situation.
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