How to handle a preliminary phone interview


Beware, beware the preliminary phone interview. While often disguised as a ”quick chat” or little more than a formality en route to the real thing, it’s really not to be underestimated.

For the hiring manager, the call is a chance to whittle down their search to the genuine candidates and to gauge the interest, professionalism, work ethic and expertise of the person behind the CV (as well as their basic intellect and personality).

With this in mind, you might want to think a little longer about your approach to the call, starting with these handy tips:

1. Right time, right place
How you approach the call will tell your interviewer a lot about your attitude and professionalism. Your listening and comprehension skills will be put to the test so be sure you have good reception and are in a quiet spot clear of distractions.

2. Preparation is key
Your interviewer will have prepped for this call. They expect you to have done the same and to have a good understanding of the organisation and role. Avoid last minute cramming or reading from the company website mid-call.

3. Vet your CV
The information on your CV or resume is really all your interviewer has to go on at this stage and he or she will be alert to any potential warning signs. Put yourself in their shoes and look for any points that may be flagged up.

4. Keep your composure
The manager may well put you under a bit of pressure to see how you cope. The important thing is to not become flustered or be rushed into answering. Listen carefully to what’s being said and really consider the point you want to make before responding.

5. Back and forth is ok
This is a two-way conversation: you’ll be expected to show engagement and to do your share of the talking. Prepare a list of intelligent questions to ask, avoiding the obvious; try to weave these in as you go.

6. It’s not done and dusted
Your interviewer is likely to have more people to speak to before making a decision on the next round. Rather than leaving it to fate, do what you’d normally do after an interview: drop them a quick email thanking them for their time and reiterating your enthusiasm for the role.

The most important thing in all this is not to lose sight of your core objective – to clinch that all-important face-to-face interview. A quick chat it may be, but the person on the other line needs a reason to take you to the next phase. It’s up to you to provide this.

Source: HN Global