As active recruiters focused on accounting, finance & related disciplines, we have witnessed an evolution in the hiring process, noting a drastic increase of phone interviews for junior and mid-level roles in recent years. Employers have capitalized on the ease of telecommunication as a means for screening candidates in order to identify and narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for in-person interviews.
Job seekers should prepare for a phone interview as seriously as you would for a face-to-face meeting. Effective communication during a phone interview is a critical learned skill for candidates, and it will boost your opportunity of advancing to the next stage. In a two-part series, I will share 10 tips that my team of executive recruiters suggests candidates follow in order to master the phone interview and secure a face-to-face meeting.
Five Tips to Secure an In-Person Interview:
Do Your Research – Harness the power of LinkedIn and other digital tools to learn more about the hiring company and the position for which you are interviewing. Navigate through the company’s website and familiarize yourself with its values, goals and mission statement.
Prepare Answers and Ask Questions – Be prepared to give organized, rehearsed examples of how you have performed at work in the past. You want to demonstrate your skill set pertaining to the open position. In the same manner, prepare three to five questions to ask the interviewer, leveraging your understanding of the overall position within the company. Draw upon the conversation to ensure relevancy.
Conduct a Mock Interview – Your preparedness may determine whether or not you secure an in-person interview. Rehearse your pitch; walk the interviewer through your background, both in chronological order and from your most recent experience backwards. Pay close attention to detail when explaining why you’re interested in the role as well as your motivation in applying for the position.
Be Mindful of Surroundings and Distractions – Find a quiet, comfortable place to take the call. There shouldn’t be any noise in the background to distract you or your potential employer. Taking the call while driving is not advised and animals should not be in earshot of the phone call. If the interview was not scheduled beforehand, ask the interviewer if you can return the call at a better time.
Dress for Success – Prepare for the phone interview as you would a face-to-face meeting. Dressing professionally will put you in the right frame of mind and both your language and paralanguage will be conveyed.