Every month, career coach Liz Bentley will be answering your candid questions about work, so you never have to stress about the office.
I have a phone interview coming up for a job I really want–do you have any tips? How do I show that I really want it even though it’s not in-person?
The executives I coach are always looking for talent to boost the expertise on their teams, especially now with all the changes taking place in the marketplace. Since their time is valuable and the pool of people looking for jobs is vast, most interviews will start with a phone meeting. If that meeting goes well, it will likely lead to a Zoom call and eventually a meeting in person if appropriate. So getting through the phone interview is a crucial first step. We find that these meetings vary in intensity. Some are a quick meet-and-greets while others are a deep dive to see if you meet the criteria for the position.
Approach this phone meeting as if it is the most important meeting you will have for this job. And it is, because if you don’t do well, you will not have another meeting or get the job. Here’s how you can show up effectively and make a good enough impression to get to the next level.
1. Do your prep work.
When you schedule the meeting, make sure you ask how long it will last; that way you know how to prepare. Here are some tips to set you up for success:
2. Master the art of a phone conversation.
As our lives continue to shift with so much uncertainty ahead, we have to adjust to living in a virtual world where one-on-one connections will be less common in person. People who can communicate effectively on all different types of platforms–including the phone–will achieve more success. Here are key ways to communicate well and get your personality to shine through over the phone.
3. Be strategic in your follow up.
When you write your thank you note, be sure to make yourself stand out in it. Avoid being generic and take the time to craft a message that picks up on the theme of the call. If it was just a short meet-and-greet, reiterate your interest in the position and concisely summarize what skills and expertise you would bring to the job based on the additional information you learned in the call. If the call was more in-depth, take the opportunity to expand on one or two items you found most intriguing. This will show you are truly interested in the position while also showcasing your communication style and way of thinking about opportunities and/or challenges the company/department is facing.
Our world is constantly shifting, and we really have no idea what the ‘new normal’ is going to be. There may not be interviews in person for a very long time so getting used to this style of connecting is really critical. Build good habits right now and keep practicing them for it will serve you well throughout your career.