Erin Greene is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog.
So you’ve landed a phone interview with the company of your dreams and you’re still in your pajamas. Now what? Make sure to follow these simple guidelines for getting a call back:
1. Know the game. While the recruiter may have told you she’d like to schedule you for a phone interview, I guarantee her calendar entry reads “Phone Screen.” Why? Nobody’s going to pay money to fly you out to their corporate headquarters if you’re a complete dolt over the phone.
2. Smile. No, they can’t see you (unless you agreed to video Skype, which I rarely recommend for a first interview). But they can hear the positive attitude in your voice, which is oh-so-important during a phone call. Face it, you aren’t wowing anyone with your fancy briefcase or snappy shoes over the phone, so do yourself a favor and inject some personality into the tone of your voice.
3. Be aware of time zone differences. Don’t schedule a phone interview for a time that is convenient for you, only to discover later that your time slot is painfully early in the morning for the recruiter.
4. Get a babysitter. Yes, it’s illegal to discriminate against parents of young children. However, you won’t be earning yourself any points in the “ability to multi-task” department if your child is screaming in the background chucking soiled diapers at your head.
5. Practice. Have a friend (of the employed variety) call you on his lunch break, preferably from his office. He’ll be in the corporate mindset, and rehearsing with him in this setting will get you ‘in the zone,’ so to speak.
6. Have a pen and paper next to you. Uncomfortable pauses while you fumble for writing utensils will impress nobody.
7. If it’s a telecommuting job you’re after, be prepared to answer questions about your self-discipline. This is a “show, don’t tell” type of question. Give examples of your previous experience working from home, and have electronic copies of documents and/or presentations ready to share with your interviewer.
8. Familiarize yourself with telecommunication software ahead of time. Download Skype to your desktop. Educate yourself on oDesk and eLance, as many companies use electronic accounting services to pay their consultants.
9. Know the company’s website inside and out. Since you won’t be able to compliment your interviewer on the cute pictures of his kids on his desk (at least, not without sounding like a total creep), make small talk by letting him know what you like about the company’s online presence. After all, someone from their side is likely checking out your Facebook page—it only makes sense to look them up, too.
10. Keep an electronic tracking sheet of your phone interviews. Trust me, when you can’t put a face with a name, you will easily forget who called you from where. Save phone numbers in your cell phone as “Jane from XYZ Corp.” so you won’t be caught off guard if called back unexpectedly.