Sunday, January 27, 2013

Phone Interview Questions - Are You Prepared For the Impromptu Interview?

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I was recently reminded that there is a significant difference in preparing for phone interview questions and preparing for a face to face interview. This reminder came about through a discussion I was having with a recent college graduate about his job search campaign. He explained that in many cases when he received a follow up call from a resume he submitted, it was not to schedule an interview but to conduct an impromptu phone interview. The success of securing a face to face interview is dependent on how well one performs on the "surprise" interview. How well would you do in this scenario?

When you schedule an interview in advance you have time to prepare properly for the interview. You can conduct company research, prepare your success stories, review your answers to anticipated questions and practice well ahead of time. On the impromptu phone interview if you have not prepared in advance, your chance of making a good impression is lessened.

Remember, it is not necessarily the most qualified candidate who gets the offer, it is the candidate who makes the most favorable impression. The recent college graduate explained to me that he and 4 of his classmates had applied for the same job opportunity. Of the 5, 3 received a call and participated in the phone interview. Only one of the candidates was invited in for a follow on interview.

If you receive a call from a hiring manager calling to conduct a phone interview. will you be excited to get the call or frozen with fear? If you are ready for it you will seize the opportunity at hand to make a great impression. How can you be ready? You need to be prepared thoroughly for upcoming interviews long before you start submitting resumes. Prepare by:

- Creating success stories and knowing them cold.
- Formulating responses to frequently asked interview questions.
- Formulating a list of questions about the company to ask during the phone interview.
- Conduct company research.
- Practice, practice, practice!

If you wait to prepare for an interview until after setting an appointment, it will be too late to prepare effectively. This type of interview can happen at any time with no notice. Companies frequently use phone interviews as a screening technique to reduce the amount of candidates that are brought in for face to face discussions. People conducting a job search campaign go through periods of little or no interview activity. But out of the blue a call is received and it happens to be a phone interview. For those who are prepared it can lead to an attractive job opportunity. The unprepared will be overshadowed by those who took the initiative and will need to continue their job search.

The college graduate that I mentioned earlier did seize the moment. As of this writing he has been through 3 rounds of face to face interviews. He is excited at the prospects of landing a job offer. This has all occurred because he was prepared ahead of time. When he learned of the opportunity he performed company research and tailored his resume to match the job criteria. When the phone interview happened he was surprised but ready. He was able to shine compared to his competition because he didn't try to wing it.
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