Partaking in phone interviews seems like it would take some pressure off the entire interviewing process … but sadly, no. Phone interviews are perceived as being an informal means of securing a job, and yet job seekers make some of the most critical mistakes during this “so-called” easy interview.
It’s important to recognize why phone interviews are becoming popular.
Time is one of the biggest factors. As hiring managers take on more responsibilities, they’re also looking for find time-saving techniques too.
Fitting into busy schedules, the interviewer can discuss matters with a potential candidate prior to an official meeting … that’s a big plus. Phone interviews are quick means for clarifying discrepancies within a candidate’s background or conduct an informal introduction; discuss the position; and/or, ask for additional career information.
Although a phone interview caters to employers, it sometimes doesn’t have the same affect for interviewees.
A phone interview can be impromptu, leaving an interview candidate breathless from trying to catch the phone or caught off guard for even the simplest of questions. It’s great when phone interviews are scheduled, but not all are. Whether the interview was scheduled or not, you should have a “cheat sheet” by your phone or on your person at all times to ensure you’re prepared regardless of which situation you find yourself in. In fact, a small index card with some key talking points is a non-technical, easy way to approach a phone interview, but can be very effective all the same.
Without an outline or list of potential answers, these types of discussions (interviews) can get casual so the goal is to stay on point and avoid talking about unrelated and untargeted (to the position) subjects.
One of the best ways to stay on point, is must like I mentioned above. Find some way to create a quick, down-and-dirty outline of key talking points. This outline can be created and stored on an ipad, using an iphone app, index card, printed sheet of bright orange paper, or whatever works best for you. The point is to have SOMETHING. This way, you answer the interviewer’s questions with some degree of structure.
An example of an outline that might look like this:
Management Sales Personnel
(1) Managed upwards of 28 engineers at each position; handled personnel budget
(2) Continuously restructure the corporate training program, which reduces staff turnover by 2%-3% per year
Position & Industry-Specific Accomplishments
(1) Sponsored a R&D program that reduced the timeline for a high-profile product launch by 18 months (added ~$2.3M in revenue)
(2) Transformed an account mapping project that increased territorial sales by $750,000 within the 1st 6 months
(1) Conducted an in-depth departmental merger program between two company locations; saved in excess of $1.8M in 2012 — currently pursuing additional cost-control measures to reduce operating costs by an additional 23%
(2) Saved $230,000 by cancelling the contract of an outsourced accounting service and bringing that service in-house
Unique Assets as an Employee
(e.g. language skills, cutting-edge technology, techniques)
(1) Hold an active security clearance
(2) Experienced expanding business development goals into Asian territories