Excellent article on the Wall Street Journal on the Initial (screening) Phone Interviews (includes a video): http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124390348922474789.html A couple of other tips that the pig finds helpful:
- Have a copy of your CV (CV's) and the Job Description handy. Tailor your experience and communication to the qualities they are seeking.
- Don't be afraid to reschedule or buy yourself some time. You want a time that is free of distraction and when you feel composed and capable. You need a pen and paper handy to take notes, you'll need your calendar open to schedule the interview, you will ideally want to have searched the company online. If that time isn't right now, then get them to call you back in half an hour.
- Be positive. In every contact with a potential employer or recruiter you should always give your best effort, even for jobs you are clearly not interested in. If you impress everyone you deal with you greatly increase your chances of being considered for ANY roles an organisation may have or know of. Its that old saying that you get back what you put in.
- Keep your answers short and to the point. The job seeking piggy has a tendency to ramble on and on when answering. It puts the burden on the interviewer to sort through the information and find what they are looking for. Instead its best to give "sound bites" - short summaries of a couple of sentences focussed on strengths. If the interviewer wants more detail then they'll ask. This little pig works through his responses with Mrs pig the night before an interview.
- Take notes. Very few people will recall everything that was said in perfect detail after a conversation. But in these phone interviews often its the detail that will set you apart from other candidates. The recruiter will typically have dealt directly with the decision maker at the employer and will use snippets of that conversation when talking to you. These can be the keys to selling yourself to the employer. Write down all the characteristics they mention as required for the role and look back at them afterwards. Do you have specific experience that demonstrates these characteristics? Be sure to mention it in the next interview!