Three Tips to Connect with the Interviewer on Your Next Phone Interview

Posted October 19, 2015

All too often, candidates look good on paper, yet trip themselves up the second they have to start interacting with a company: During the phone interview.

Hiring managers use phone interviews to get a basic sense of the candidate's personality and gauge their general interest in the job. Both the candidate and the company should use the phone interview to discuss the job and determine if the open position is indeed a good fit for the candidate.

Before you even sit down to take that phone interview call, make sure you are on a phone line that won’t get disconnected and in a location free of loud noise. You'll need to concentrate in order to do your best, as well as get a sense of what the position you're being called about will actually be like.

Know Your Weaknesses

Being able to name and own your professional weaknesses is almost a cliché at this point, but that didn’t happen by accident. People are typically reluctant to confront issues like age, gaps in employment, or a history of going from job-to-job. However, the best strategy is to tackle them head-on. Answer any questions about red flags in a non-defensive, factual way - then shift the conversation to a different topic and move on.

Some job transitions can raise a red flag for interviewers, so be prepared to walk the hiring manager through each step of your career path. Standard acceptable reasons for leaving a job include taking on different responsibilities or being part of a larger downsizing.

Also, be prepared to explain any other bullet-point facts or information on your resume.

The Interview Should be a Conversation

While you should come into the phone interview with some prepared responses, realize the interaction should be conversational. Remember, your objective in a phone interview is to determine if the open position is a good fit for you. If the compensation, hours, opportunity or working conditions aren’t what you are looking for,  your performance as an interviewee isn't important beyond maintaining phone etiquette and professional courtesy.

Be Prepared to Improvise

During the course of the interview, you may be asked an odd or seemingly out-of-place question. This interview technique is becoming more common and is designed to see how you react to the unexpected. The best way to handle questions like, 'If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?' is to talk out your thought process and be as honest as possible. Sincerity and poise are crucial when answering these questions.

Finally, interviews nearly always conclude with the interviewer asking if you have any questions about the company or the position. Do some research and prepare four or five genuine questions to ask. If all your questions were answered by the hiring manager, try to come up with a few new ones, to show your sincere interest in the position.

At Ambassador, one of the leading employment agencies in the South, we're always rooting for our job candidate to perform well in any interview setting. If you need to brush up on your interview skills, contact us today and we can discuss your personal interview strategy.