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5 tips to ace your phone interview

<i>(Source: Getty)</i>
(Source: Getty)

For roles that have a high volume of job applicants, the recruitment process will kick off by screening applicants through the phone.

According to San Francisco-based marketing consultant Jeevan Balani, the recruiter is looking for three key things: that you’re interested in the role, your skills match the job description, and you’re a good fit for the company.

With that in mind, here are five ways you can nail the first stage of the interview process:

1. Demonstrate synthesis

If you get asked ‘tell me about yourself’, don’t fall into the trap of rambling. It’s important to be succinct and to-the-point here and highlight the best aspects of your career and your eligibility for the role. One way to do this is thematise your career.

“For example, you might describe your career in three stages — your first role, your ascension into leadership roles and your current job, instead of reciting everything on your resume,” Balani wrote in an article published in jobs site Glassdoor.

“You can also describe your career by functional themes, especially when your career has breadth and a non-linear path.”

2. Be precise

The last thing you want to be is passive, given that the recruiter has reached out to you. In order to demonstrate your genuine interest in the role, make sure you’ve done your research on the role and the company and why it fits with your career trajectory. You should have a sense of their mission and their products or services. Find a way to align your values with theirs.

3. Simulate a real interview

If you’re taking the call while kicking back in your pajamas with a beer in hand, you won’t come across in all your professional best. For the call, get yourself into an environment with a professional aura, such as your home office or in front of a desk and adjust your posture if you need to.

4. Ask thoughtful questions

The initial phone interview probably isn’t the time to get into the nitty-gritty questions around things like pay or leave policies.

“Instead, focus on high-value questions that show you are thinking about things that really matter such as ‘What does success in the role look like?’,” advised Balani.

“These questions will also better prepare you to engage on a deeper level in the following rounds, especially when speaking with the hiring manager.”

5. Don’t recite your resume

The recruiter will be wanting to have a natural, organic conversation with you. Rather than reciting answers word-for-word from a paper or screen, have just a few dot points to guide your response and have your resume handy in case they want to delve deeper into the specifics.

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