phone interview prep

Acing the Phone Interview

Great news! You’ve perfected your resume, submitted perhaps a dozen applications, spoken with a few recruiters along the way, and now you finally have a phone interview scheduled. Whether this is your first interview in a while, or you feel like you could add “interview extraordinaire” to your resume, it’s crucial to prepare properly. Let’s take a look at some tips we provide candidates to ensure they feel confident going into the conversation.

Know who you are speaking with and do your research.

Ask the recruiter or the HR representative for the name(s) of who will be on the call. But don’t stop there, do your research. Find them on LinkedIn and do a simple google search for any related news stories. This can help you find talking points to keep in your back pocket – “I noticed on your LinkedIn profile….”

Review the company website and do an online search.

This may seem like an obvious one, but it goes beyond simply knowing what the company does. You need to know about any recent news articles, successes or failures the company has experienced, and key people in the organization. Again, you can find good talking points, or questions to ask.

Make sure you know the most important job responsibilities.

Every job has a list of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.” Try to review those prior to your interview and be prepared to talk about your related skills. Being able to provide specific examples will always impress a hiring manager.

It’s okay to create a cheat sheet.

Take advantage of the fact that this interview is not in-person and have some helpful reminders in front of you. This can include questions you would like to ask, company overview information, or certain skill-sets you want to mention to the hiring manager. Try to sprinkle in your questions throughout the call to create a nice dialogue. It’s important to treat your cheat sheet as reminders and not a script you are reading – you do not want to come off disingenuous. In addition, record notes on your cheat sheet. You’ll be happy you did when you need to refresh your memory on job specifics.

Get comfortable, but avoid distractions.

Whether you are interviewing from your home or office, your sole focus needs to be on the conversation. Close your email, turn off the TV, and be in a quiet area with good reception. If you are home, you may want to also think about your attire and where you take the call from. Dressing professionally and avoiding the couch can help put you in the right mindset for an interview.

Prepare for the basics.

You will never know every question coming your way prior to an interview, but at least you can be ready for the basics. What has you considering a new opportunity? What attracts you to our company? What would previous managers say about you? Be prepared to tell your story and relate your interests in any interview, while selling your strengths.

Be conscious of your phone presence.

You obviously can’t read body language over the phone, but your personality can still come through. Focus on having clear and concise answers, as well as being enthusiastic. Whether the role you are interviewing for is remote or on-site, the interviewer is evaluating your professionalism and personality over the phone.  Smiling while you speak can usually be heard and will help show your enthusiasm for the position!

Ask for feedback at the end.

You’ve probably completed a phone interview and had a friend or family member ask you how it went. Do you often respond with “I think it was good, the person I spoke with was hard to read?” You can avoid that by simply asking them their thoughts at the end of the call. When it comes time to ask your final question, try this one: “How do you feel my skill-set relates to the needs of the team?” “Do you have any concerns?” If they do share reservations, it gives you an opportunity to address those concerns and fight for the job. The hiring manager will love that you care about feedback and it shows strong interest in the position.

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The core of CSG is centered around biopharma solutions. We are well recognized in the industry with an 18 year track record of delivering high quality consultants to top tier drug development companies and contract research organizations. 

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