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Candidates say that the telephone interview is one of the toughest aspects of the recruitment process.  It is difficult to build any sense of connectivity or engagement with the caller.

iStock_000016532592XSmallYet, this is part of the process that will never go away even with the use of Skype or FaceTime.

So, how should a candidate prepare?  Here are five things to consider before your telephone-screening interview.

  1. Do your homework on the organization.  I sound like a broken record on this – see Monday’s post – but it is so important to understand the needs of the client, especially in this challenging interview format.  Look at news clippings, read the employer’s website as well as those of their competitors. 
  2. Do your homework on the recruiter.  That sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many times senior executives show up for face-to-face interviews and do not know anything about the recruiter’s background.  There are ample sources – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter account, Google, etc.  If you know someone in the organization, or someone in your LinkedIn group that knows somebody who knows somebody, try to connect.  Anything you glean is better than the nothing that most candidates have when they begin this important interview.
  3. Dress the role.  OK, so you may not put on business attire, but if you are sitting at the dining table in a bathrobe or shorts and a golf shirt, unshaven, or with hair from hell, that has a subtle way of creeping into the tone of the conversation.  Clean up, mentally and physically.  This will help elevate your performance.
  4. Be mindful of your energy.  Some people stand up during the call.  Some people stand in front of a mirror – to remind themselves to keep smiling.   That level of energy and the subtle upbeat tone of your voice can only help.
  5. Ask informed questions based on your homework.