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Before you pick up the phone for your interview, you should research the company and know everything about both the company and the position for which you're interviewing. In today's world of mass communication, there's no excuse for lack of research. Your recruiter will be able to brief you on the company, but you may want to search the web or the library for additional information.

  • The objective of a telephone interview is two-fold:
    • To provide the company an opportunity to verify your interest and qualifications for the position. You must convince the interviewers that you are the right person for the job.
    • To arrange a personal visit as soon as possible. You must aggressively pursue the on-site visit.

The telephone interview can be scheduled either during the workday or the evening, depending on your work schedule and that of the company. Generally, the company will call you. If you do not hear from the company within 15 minutes of the appointment, you should assume that something unexpected has delayed the call and call the company. If you do not get the hiring authority, be sure to leave a message that you called as a demonstration of your interest. In your message state that you want to reschedule the call.

After the initial exchange of pleasantries, open with a positive expression of your interest based upon what you have heard about the position. They say, "I'm looking forward to arranging a personal visit with you. In the meantime, what may I tell you to help you better understand my qualifications?"

Respond with information about your accomplishments. Take the time in advance to develop a brief "commercial" outlining your strongest abilities and accomplishments. Provide concrete examples from your career that demonstrate your ability to do the job. Think through some of the issues that may come up in the interview. Be sure you have any notes, facts or figures that may be helpful in your conversation. Determine this information through studying the company website, annual reports, etc.

  • When you are asked if you have questions about the job, these might be appropriate:
    • Can you tell me more about the specific duties, responsibilities and expectations for this position?
    • What are the three top priorities and challenges of the position?

Express thanks for the interviewer's time and consideration. Write a thank you letter as soon as possible.

  • You need to remember three things:
    • If you are asked about your income expectations, try not to discuss salary or benefits at this time. If the hiring official asks something such as, "How much money will it take to get you on board?", reply with, "Salary is important; however I'm more interested in the opportunity at this time." If you are asked again: Respond accurately, and truthfully state your last year's salary. Be sure to designate bonus if applicable. Indicate your last review and/or salary increase and next anticipated review. Finish by saying you are sure the company will make a fair and equitable offer.

    • If you like the job opportunity tell the interviewer you are interested and ask when you can come in for a personal visit. Coordinate schedules for a face-to-face interview at this time. Keep in mind the most important issue during this process is selling yourself. Cover your technical expertise but think people.

    • Call your recruiter after the interview to provide critical feedback.