Tips for a successful phone screen

A company will usually start with a brief telephone interview with a candidate. Telephone screens offer an introduction to the firm, responsibilities of the job and technical skills without taking too much time.

Confirm the time, number and name of the person you will be calling; or give the name and time the interviewer will be calling them.
If you are calling the manager and their voice mail picks up, leave a message that you called with the number you are at and a time when they can reach you.

The most important thing to remember is that you are working towards obtaining a personal, face-to-face meeting with a prospective employer.
Be enthusiastic and assertive.

Provide specific examples of projects and accomplishments that prove you have good skills. Avoid speaking too fast, having television on in the background or anything else that can create a distraction.

Do not ask questions that appear to be selfishly motivated.
This is the most common mistake people make on phone interviews; you should not bring up money or benefits. Your only goal at this point should be selling the company on your skills and experience.

A good question to ask is; “What type of person do you see being successful for this position?” The interviewer will then reveal some things that they feel are important to the position. Then you can take things from your background that mirrors these needs.

Don’t just have yes and no type answers, give an explanation.
Turn your weaknesses into strengths.

Prepare your answers to the obvious questions such as:
Why are you leaving your present position? (Have a positive reason for this move). What are your strong and weak points? What were your biggest accomplishments in your last position?

Do research on the company: check out the company’s website, find out what they are doing and be prepared to point out how you can help them achieve their goals.

Most phone interviewers will ask 2 or 3 technical questions as well as ask you to go over specific projects listed on your resume.

As a parting comment let the potential employers know if you are interested in the position and why. The enthusiasm you display could be the deciding factor between you and another candidate.

Best of luck, and please call us after the phone interview to discuss in detail and a follow-up strategy.

Tips for a successful face-to-face interview

Have several hard copies of your resume available to bring with you to the interview.

Get there at least 15 minutes early and give yourself extra time to find their offices. This will give you enough time to fill out an application if necessary and start the interview in a timely manner.

Plan ahead – Research the company web site. Review your work experiences. Be ready to support past career accomplishments with specific information targeted toward the companies needs.

Eye Contact – Maintain eye contact with your interviewer. Show you want the job with your interest.

Be Positive – In particular, avoid negative comments about past employers. Show enthusiasm and interest throughout the interview. Don’t get discouraged with questions you can’t answer. Instead focus on your willingness and ability to learn. Refrain from simply answering questions with a yes/no answer. Expand upon your answers with examples from your personal experience.

Relate – Try to relate your answers to the interviewer and his or her company. Focus on achievements relevant to the position. Ask good questions. Use examples. Stress accomplishments

Encourage – Encourage the interviewer to share information about his or her company. Let the interviewer talk. Demonstrate your interest.

Below are questions you may be asked in the interview:

  • What do you know about our company?
  • How much do you expect if we offer you this position?
  • What are your weak points?
  • What was wrong with your current or last position?
  • Do you have any question for me?
  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What skills and qualifications are essential for success?
  • Can you work well under deadlines or pressure?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • What are your strong points?
  • How does this job fit into your overall career plan?
  • What were the three most significant accomplishments in your career so far?