by Susan McClain
Congratulations, you’ve worked hard (developing a resume and compelling cover letter) to get to this point! The next step in the process is often a phone interview, or from the Recruiter perspective, a phone “screen”. Typically it’s a brief interview to identify qualified candidates to bring on site for the next round of interviews.
In order to do this the interviewer wants to better understand your work experience and history and address any up-front questions regarding you as a candidate. It could be as simple as determining where you live and whether or not you need to relocate. Or to verify aspects of your work history such as reasons for leaving current or prior positions. Often the interviewer is also assessing your communication skills and preparation.
Make the most of this opportunity by taking the time to anticipate and prepare answers for questions designed to gauge motivation and qualifications. Time is limited so it is important to be concise and preparation helps with that. Below are frequently asked questions you’ll want to be ready for:
MotivationQuestions related to motivation (what interests you about the position?)
- What specifically interests you about this position?
- What interests you about our organization: our products and/or services?
- What is the most important thing to you in considering a new position?
- Tell me about your work history, for instance why did you leave your last job?
- What would you change in your current position that would make it more satisfying?
AbilityQuestions related to ability (to put it simply, can you do the job?) Be prepared to provide specific examples in response to questions targeted to probe deeper into your skills, knowledge and experience.
- Tell me more about a “specific task or accomplishment”.
- Tell me more about “your role in this project”.
- Explain exactly how you “extracted and organized information from the database”.
- What specific experience do you have that is most applicable to this position?
SalaryWhat is your current salary? Many people try to dodge this with a vague response but it’s best to provide a straightforward answer to a straightforward question. The interviewer is trying to determine if the position is reasonably comparable to your skills and experience. Your past salary isn’t necessarily what you want or need to make in your next job, so you can also add the salary you are looking for in a new position.
What are your salary requirements? Again, it’s another way for the recruiter to ascertain if your expectations are in line for this position. You can get a good sense of the median salary and range for many positions by researching sites like Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com. Another approach is to ask the recruiter what the salary range is for the position, and frequently they will give you that or at least an idea of what they are expecting to pay. You can then let them know if that matches what you are looking for.
Close the DealIt’s okay to ask a question or two at the end, but understand that this first round is a preliminary “filter” to determine if your skills, experience, and interests are a good match for the position. It’s too early in the process to ask about vacation time or specific job related questions. It’s certainly appropriate, and advisable, to ask questions related to the selection process such as what is the next step and anticipated timeline, etc.
Always follow-up a phone interview with a brief thank-you note, reiterating your interest in the position and why you believe you would be a good fit.
“Yay, I have a Phone Interview” is a copyrighted publication of Career & Workplace Directions, LLC and cannot be copied or printed without express permission of Career & Workplace Directions, LLC.