Search Jobs
Select Terms

Candidate's Library

When you join the team at DSS Consulting, Inc., you align yourself with one of the leading human asset management firms in the United States. We mobilize highly-skilled talent in a variety of professional industries. DSS presents you with the opportunity to capitalize on many optimal career possibilities.

You Can Ring My Bell:
How to Prepare for the Telephone Interview

by Carole Martin

The phone rings at 7 p.m. Jean answers, thinking it is one of her friends calling. The caller announces that she is calling to talk about the position Jean had applied for. What position? She had responded to several job postings. Panic sets in as Jean tries to remember which position the caller is talking about.

The phone interview can happen at any time of the day or night. Some interviewers find evenings the best time to catch people at home, where they will be able to talk more candidly. Therefore, you should be on-call and prepared to receive a telephone interview at any time.

Telephone interviews, typically conducted by a human resources staff member or a hired recruiter, are used as screening tools. By asking key questions, the interviewer determines whether or not it is worthwhile to pursue the candidate further. The screenings may consist of a few quick questions or as much as a one-hour grilling.

Getting through this screening is critical for advancing to the next step: The face-to-face interview. This puts added pressure on you to present yourself in a positive, focused manner. If you attempt to wing this call, you may reach a dead end in the process.

Some basic preparation steps can make a huge difference in your confidence level: Organize Set aside your materials as though you were going to a face-to-face interview. Have a folder set aside with job postings or ads you have answered, along with company information. If you have several versions of your resume, attach the one relevant to the particular job posting. Keep this folder in a specific place so you can get to it in less than a minute. Prepare This is key to any interview, but for the telephone interview it is essential. Practice with a tape recorder to hear the level of enthusiasm in your voice. The key to telephone interviews is projecting an upbeat image through the sound of your voice and the words you use.

Look over the job description to see what the company is seeking in a candidate. If you don't have a good description, look at other postings of similar positions to see what is being asked for. Compare what you have to offer against what they are looking for. How do you measure up? Be aware of the terms used to describe the job and use that language. Take Control When called, ask for a minute to get yourself together.

The phone ringing awakens David. He is groggy and caught off guard when the caller says he would like to conduct a telephone interview. He talks to the interviewer for 10 minutes and answers all the questions, but when he hangs up he cannot remember anything he had said. Unsurprisingly, he never hears from the company again. His mistake was not asking the caller if he could call him back or to hold for a moment while he got himself together.

Even though you do not have control over the phone ringing, you can take steps to feel more prepared. Getting a call means you have made it through the first cut and the company is interested in you. By anticipating the call before it comes, you will avoid being caught off guard. You will be in a stronger position to convince the caller you are a candidate for the position and are worth the time and money to move to the next step in the hiring process.