Q: When fielding a screening phone interview, what one skill would you recommend strengthening before receiving the call? Thanks!
A: A telephone interview is as important as an in-person interview. A few tips before I offer a specific answer to your question.
1. Make sure that you are using a phone that will provide good reception. Using a cell phone can be risky, especially if there are connection concerns.
2. Confirm the call in advance. Email is a good vehicle for confirming the date and time of a scheduled interview.
3. Monitor your voice. Make sure that you are able to sound positive, confident and enthusiastic.
4. Have your resume handy. The individual conducting the call is probably looking at your resume when making the call.
5. Check email before and after the call. The interviewer may need to push the call back a few minutes or reschedule the call. After the call, send a thank-you email as quickly as you can. Make sure that you are checking email frequently.
Now to answer your question! I would recommend strengthening your preparedness. This applies to all candidates, at all levels, across industries. Don’t take a call “on the fly” or receive a call in a loud area. Prepare in advance for a quiet location with no interruptions. Ready yourself with examples of some of your strengths. As an example, instead of saying, “I am good under pressure,” consider “I am good under pressure. For example, last week our copier died when we were printing a complex proposal for a client. The client required several hard copies be delivered by a certain deadline. I found a local copy shop that was able to handle the copying. I picked it up and walked it to our client’s office with minutes to spare.”
Telephone interviews are now a common screening tool. You want to make sure that you advance to the next level.
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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is a partner and the general manager of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.