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Phone Interviews

By Dylan Campbell

You’ve submitted the resume, or gotten referred by a friend, and now you’ve got an interview… a phone interview. Personally, I hate phone interviews. But, life gets in the way. Schedules get in the way. This is the dawning of the age of phone interviews, Skype Interviews, Web-conferencing, or “anywhere but here” interaction. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you pick up that phone:

80% Percent:

Congratulations, you have just lost 80% of your communication skills. It’s not as bad as losing 80% of your vocabulary, but it’s close. 80% of communication is non-verbal. Be Descriptive: Take the extra step. Whenever I ask my single friend how a date went, I get a lame answer: ‘blonde, blue eyes, she’s cool.”

Orient the Listener:

Don’t assume the listener (interviewer) knows what your company does, or what you did at your company. Help them out! “So, tell me a little bit about what you’re doing over at your current company?” You could say, “I did sales at a software company.” or…“I’m currently working at a company called (Insert Company Name). We specialize in security software solutions for small and mid-level companies in and around southern California. My role was a sales executive. The first half of my day was prospecting, making cold calls to develop new business. And the second half of my day was spent working on the clients I had, seeing them through to completion, or taking care of their needs. I consistently hit my quota for the last two years I was there, and I’m looking for a great company to be a part of and call home.” I always encourage candidates to think of their answers as an upside-down pyramid. Start big, and go small:

BIG: COMPANY AND WHAT THEY DO

MEDIUM: YOUR ROLE

SMALL: YOUR DAY TO DAY ACTIVITIES THAT MAKE YOU SUCCESSFUL.

Get Them Talking.

Have them talk about what they like. Do your research about the company and the person you’ll be talking to on the phone. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “I saw your profile on LinkedIn, you’ve been at the company a long time. The must be doing some good work there. Tell me a little bit about the projects you guys are working on, and what’s next for you as a company.” The person you’re talking to spends more time at work than they do with their family. So, be interested! Let them know what you think they’re doing is great, interesting, etc. Get them to feel like you want to know more.

A pro-active approach never hurt anyone. Do your homework. Take the time to communicate your company, and your role and responsibility clearly. Talk to the hiring manager about their company and what’s next. These are the little things that will set you apart from the stack of resumes on the desk!

Dylan Campbell is an executive recruiter based in the city of Los Angeles, CA.

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