By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS
100112-national-finance-credit-woman-phone-call-businessYou have created a killer Value Proposition, an attractive resume, attended networking meetings, researched companies and tracked all of your efforts as part of your career campaign.  All of a sudden, you are contacted to set up a phone interview for a position of your dreams.  The euphoria sets in and then all of a sudden you realize that this is not as easy as it sounds.  How do you ace this part of the interview process so that you can make it to the short list and gain a face-to-face interview spot?  Below you will find fast facts to help you earn your place on the list.

1. Be in control of date, time and place. The phone interview, also known as the phone screen, is your first personal contact with the company. You must schedule it when and where you can be free from interruption and distraction. You have a say in the scheduling so exercise it.

2. Research the companyDo your homework and make sure that you are up to date on what is happening.  (Twitter may be a great source for up to the moment content!) It may be a while from the time you sent your resume in to when you are called. Refresh yourself on the position and what brought you to apply.

3. Prepare the relevant stories for the positionThink about what things in your background relate to the position and what highlights of your career you want to bring out.  For example, if you are in HR and it is a position about benefits, you are not going to be highlighting your labor relations successes. Instead you are going to talk about reducing the cost of healthcare without sacrificing quality of care through smart plan design.

4. Keep your information in front of you. This is a rare opportunity where you can have your resume, notes about the company, validation stories, the job posting and blank paper for notes during the conversation.  Jump on this occasion to be prepared.  Many people do not really need this except for the security that it gives them. Their preparation is such that the words flow and this ease comes through on the phone. For others, a glimpse here or there is all they need.

5. Work on your voiceYour voice is all they have that is personal to go on.  Take a sucking candy to make sure that your voice is not raspy. Drink some water about a half hour before.  Modulate your tone,  Also, remember that they say you can see someone smile through the phone.  This is the time you need to smile because your voice is all they have to go on.  Keep a mirror nearby for a “smile-check”  OR  have a little sign nearby reminding you to smile now and again!

6. Speak on a land line whenever possible! This relates back to number one above.  You control when and where you are going to speak.  I know someone recently who was in the middle of an interview on a cell phone and lost the connection.  The interviewer did not call back!  Don’t let this happen to you!  Exchange contact information at the onset of the conversation in case the call fails.

Follow the above fast facts and you will be on your way to an in-person interview. Please leave me a message and let me know if you find this information helpful.

As always, if you are struggling in your job search, please reach out to me at 203-323-9977 or [email protected].

Every Success –