Design An Outstanding Telephone Interview!

Your resume looks terrific on paper.  The telephone interview is next, which may be the first and last communications you’ll have with the hiring organization.  A company uses the telephone interview because it’s quick, easy and cheap.  From all of the resumes received, it boils down to 10 or 15 applicants who will receive a telephone screening call. Usually, out of the top 10 or 15 calls, only the best 2 to 5 will be interviewed in-person.

So, how do you stand out from your peers with a compelling telephone interview?


Common sense rules: Here are some rules that should be obvious.

  • Use a landline phone if possible.  Cell phones are problematic.
  • Don’t eat, smoke, chew gum or be distracted in any way.  Find a quiet place.
  • Give focused answers to questions.  Don’t ramble.  Speak clearly and slowly
  • Reinforce your interest in the position and your desire for a face-to-face interview.
  • When finished, thank the interviewer for their time and information
  • Follow-up with a thank you note

Smart strategies: Here are some additional thoughts:

  • When talking on the phone, smile.  It will transmit over the wires in a positive way.
  • Prepare for the phone interview beforehand.  Create 3×5 index cards for each contacted company (easier than computer access).  Note the company and the research information developed.  Include:  Company profile, financials, competitors, industry issues, and other pertinent information to demonstrate your knowledge and interest.  Keep your resume handy. You want to know the origin of the questions asked.
  • Create a series of mini-pitches for every item on your resume. A mini-pitch is a 20 to 30 second summary of each item on the resume. Since the resume is the only document they have, it’s the source of all questions.  Mini-pitches will focus on:  The Issue, Action and Outcome for each item.  Practice your mini-pitches without it being scripted.  Have a crib sheet with key words for your mini-pitches.
  • Create a note of each question asked.  The second question on a subject is usually the key one, as it will convey the real issue of the hiring organization.  Develop alternative solutions to questions that are posed.
  • Prepare for the non-resume questions, like: “Tell me what’s important to you?”, ‘What are your assets and liabilities?”, “What are your longer-term goals?”, “Why should we hire you over all others?”, and so on.
  • Be prepared with questions of your own.  Never respond that you have no questions.  It shows a limited mind.  Your questions should be about the open position and the expected performance, plus key issues that require resolution within the first year.

Telephone screening interviews are like a tryout for a team.  Your performance will determine whether you’re going to be invited to meet with the coach, or in this case the hiring manager.  You increase your chances for a face-to-face interview through the preparation and understanding of the telephone interview.


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By My Greener Future

My Greener Future is a Job Search Strategy and Career Coaching Company. At My Greener Future, you will be connected with industry coaches who care about you and your career as much as you do. They will work with you to create your very own custom career plan and support you in achieving your short term and long term career goals. Join My Greener Future TODAY and see how it will change the way you think about your career.