June 28, 2014, 3:48 PM —
Help! My resume looks great, my job experience is right on target, and I have great references. My problem is whenever I do a phone-based interview or job screening, they never call me back. How can I improve my phone-based interviews?
To begin, thank you for emailing me your question and good luck on your job search.
In many ways, phone-based interviews are harder than in-person interviews. The major challenges with phone-based interviews are:
• It’s more difficult to develop personal rapport with the interviewer because there is no face-to-face interaction.
• You can’t read the interviewer’s body language to gain insights into his/her thoughts on how the interview is going.
• You can’t look around the interviewer’s office to gain an understanding of the his/her interests and professional stature.
• It’s harder to be memorable since you are only the voice over the phone.
Given the above challenges, there are a number of things you can do to enhance the quality of the interview and convey an aura of knowledge, competence and professional engagement. These tips are:
1. Do your research as if you were meeting in person
Just because you are on the phone, don’t minimize the importance of doing your due diligence on the industry, company, job description, and even the interviewer, if possible. This knowledge will allow you to illustrate the depth of your understanding, your interest in the position, the type of due diligence you will do on your daily work if hired.
2. Have a printed copy of your resume next to you for reference
Certainly you know your own resume well, after all, you wrote it. That said, having it in front of you during a phone interview has great potential value. Remember, the interviewer will have your resume in front of him/her, so it will be easier for you to answer resume-specific questions if you have it in hand. Second, if the interviewer asks you a question related to a prior job, looking at your resume can jog your memory as to the specific items listed. Lastly, if you tailor your resume for specific job opportunities, it’s easy to forget the changes made for this specific interview. Looking at the same resume as the one sent to the interviewer can save you from making embarrassing mistakes and creating lost opportunities.