Round One Interview via the Phone

Career Blog Jill-Klees

Q: I applied for a temp librarian position at a university and got a phone call saying they want to schedule a phone interview with me. I assumed it was for a screening. When I called them back to make the appointment, I selected an appointment time and was told this is a committee interview and the committee will be on speakerphone. The interview will be approximately 30 minutes.

With that information, I now think it might not be a “screening” but the actual interview. I’ve had phone screenings before. I’ve had in-person interviews before. I’ve not been in this situation before. Is this the “official interview”? Can you clue me in?

A: I have been hearing about this type of interview more recently. I would treat it as an “official interview,” round one. Here are some tips to help you prepare.

  • Imagine there will be a panel sitting around a table on a conference call with you. Each person will have his or her specific questions to ask. Each will be writing down your answers so there may be a lag in time between when you finish talking and when a panelist replies to you. Be aware of that and be O.K. with the “awkward” silence.
  • Be sure to have energy in your voice, as it will be important to convey your personality. Smile when you talk, be positive, and it is O.K. to laugh when appropriate.
  • Ensure you have a good understanding of the company and the position, as part of this round one interview will be to see how much you know and understand about the job and to see if you are a good fit.
  • Conduct the interview in a quiet place with no distractions.
  • It is helpful to have a copy of your resume to refer to, a copy of the job description and of course a pen and paper to jot things down if need be. Do not get distracted with this. Keep focused on the call.
  • Consider jotting down the interviewers names and use their names in the interview when responding, if appropriate. It is impressive for the interviewers, and shows your personality, professionalism, organization, and attention to detail.
  • Keep your answers concise and to the point in order to stay within the allotted period. Do not ramble, as it is easy to lose the attention of your interviewer.
  • Pay close attention to the interviewers to demonstrate your strong listening skills.
  • Lastly, have a couple of questions prepared to ask them at the end of the interview.

I hope that helps.

If you have questions or comments regarding the first round phone interview, please post your comments below.