The Interview

You have figured out what you want to be when you grow up, found your dream job and have applied for it with that killer resume.  Now it’s time to anxiously wait by the phone for “the call” – the one where the recruiter says, “I received your resume for the [fill in the blank] position and I would like to set up a time to speak with you further”.   The phone interview is an opportunity (1) for the recruiter to verify everything on the resume and (2) for you (the candidate) to clearly articulate your interest in and unique qualifications for the position.  It is the phone interview – and the recruiter’s perception of you – that stands between you and the hiring manager (aka. the decision maker).  In addition to giving you more details about the position and the company, the recruiter will ask some very basic questions.  Make sure you are prepared to answer them…clearly and convincingly.

Top Phone Interview Questions:

1. Tell me about yourself. – Do not recount your entire life story.  Focus on your professional life and the contributions you’ve made/value added.

2. Why are you interested in this position?  This company? – Focus on 2-3 reasons. Connect those reasons back to your experience and how you can add value in the role.

3. What is your current salary? – I have always struggled with this question.  I am not sure what my current salary has to do with the salary being offered for a particular position.  You have a couple of options – (1) Reveal your current salary or (2) ask how that’s relevant.  Every position has a budgeted range for the salary.  It is what it is; your current salary should have no bearing on that amount.

Once you have successfully convinced the recruiter that you are worth passing on to the hiring manager you will be called in for an in-person interview.  This is where the rubber meets the road.  Here are some tips on how to prepare for a face-to-face interview:

  • Research the company. – You should really do this before you apply for the job to confirm that this is a place where you want to work.  Nonetheless, review the company’s mission and values.  Get familiar with the company’s top news/current events (I’ll explain why this is important later).
  • Learn and practice your response to the most commonly asked interview questions. – Don’t get overwhelmed.  Just pick a few questions and get comfortable with articulating the answer clearly and convincingly.
  • Prepare questions to ask the hiring manager. – This is where I have a lot of fun.  I turn into the interviewer and watch the hiring manager sweat a little.  This is where knowing the company’s top news/current events comes in handy.  Here are come examples of the tapes of questions I like to ask:

1.  What do you like most about working here?

              2.  I see that [fill in the blank] is one of your company’s values (pick one that is most important to you).  Can you give me an example of how you (or your team) have demonstrated this company value?

              3.  I read that the company recently merged with ABC Company.  How will the merger affect your team/this department (division)? [You can alter this question to fit the current event.]

              4.  Describe your management style.  [Most managers will immediately say that they are not a micromanager.  Look out!]

              5.  What team accomplishment are your most proud of?

              6.  What one thing would you change about your team?

  • Dress for success. – The rules have changed in this area.  A navy blue or black suit is not your only option.   Dresses and outfits with color are options.  The key is to dress professionally, look your best and be polished.DressForSuccess_image
  • Close. – In other words, ask for the job.  “Based on our conversation today do you think I would be the best fit for the job?”  OR  “How do I compare to the other candidates you are considering for this position?
If you are as prepared as you can be for the interview, the rest is up to the hiring manager.  Ultimately, the decision will be based on who the hiring manager feels is the best “fit” for the position, team and company.  If that’s you, GREAT!  If not, move on.  If it’s for you, you’ll get it.
Until next time-
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)
God’s best-
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