When most people think of the first interview, they think of when they go in to the employer’s location, shake hands with the hiring manager, and sit down to answer and ask questions. That is not the first interview. That is the second interview. The first interview is when the hiring manager calls to conduct a telephone interview.
95% of first interviews are telephone interviews. Would you go into the employer’s location with a child hanging on your leg screaming for supper, a beer in your hand, and an Ipod blaring? Of course not! So do not let these situations occur when you have your first interview by phone. The key is to be prepared.
Some ways to make the most of that first telephone interview:
Schedule the call if possible. Often, recruiters will email you first to set up a time for a telephone interview. Do not agree to a time that conflicts with supper time and kids baths. If possible, schedule the interview for after the kids have gone to bed or for a time when you can talk uninterrupted.
Keep a copy of your resume by each telephone. Having your resume handy immediately keeps you from having to rush around trying to find your resume so you can refer to it during your interview.
Stand up during the interview and smile. The interviewer cannot see you but your voice is given more power when you stand up, projecting more confidence. Smiling comes through in your tone of voice and provides an upbeat attitude.
Use a hard-wired phone rather than a cordless or a cell phone. Cordless phones get poor reception and can bleed over to the neighbors (and vice versa). Cell phone reception can drop unexpectedly. A good, old fashioned hard-wired phone is the safest bet for an interview.
Be prepared to ask questions of the interviewer. This is as much your opportunity to scope out the company as it is theirs to scope out you. Find out about the position and what they are seeking in a prime candidate. It’s possible that you will discover you aren’t interested in the job and will save a lot of potential wasted time.
Do not provide confidential information in a telephone interview. There are a lot of con artists out there and with resumes readily available on the ‘net, you should take care to protect your privacy. There is no need for an employer to ask for your Social Security number except on a job application or federal resume. You should never give it out in a phone interview, even if it is requested.
Send a thank you via email immediately following the interview and take the opportunity to further market your skills. If the interviewer was particularly interested in a certain part of your background or experience, elaborate further on your accomplishments that support that part.