Phone interviews are a common way for recruiters to narrow down the field of applicants. If you've been invited to one, it means you've moved on to the next step of the hiring process. Now, it's time to prepare to demonstrate your skills and experience.
Do your research ahead of time
Before the call, take some time to research the organization. Review its website and look at online job reviews to get a better grasp of the company's culture and mission. If the organization has a blog, read a couple of the recent articles and try to mention them during your interview.
If you know the name of the person who will be interviewing you, look him or her up on LinkedIn. See if you have anything in common, such as schools, interests or other professionals in your network. Don't be afraid to bring these up during the interview - it shows you've done you're due diligence.
Write notes and keep them near you
As you research the organization and the role, take diligent notes and print them out. Remember, this isn't a closed-book test; you can have as many notes as you want. You can also have the company website up so you can refer to it if needed.
Likewise, have your resume and cover letter available, as the interviewer may reference them as they ask questions. Remember, you don't want to have to search frantically through your notes as you speak, so take some time to note where all of the information is written.
Maintain a positive attitude
Researchers at the University of Portsmouth found that smiling can affect how we speak, to the extent that other people can identify the smile by sound alone. Keep this in mind as you answer questions - not only will the interviewer notice, but the act of smiling may make you feel more relaxed, as well.
This advice is crucial for when you don't know the answer to a specific question. Rather than getting flustered, take a breath and ask clarifying questions to ensure you fully understand the inquiry. If you still don't know the answer, try explaining how you'd go about finding it. This shows that you're motivated and curious.
Send a thank you note
Depending on the position you're applying for, you could be one of dozens of candidates. To keep your name fresh in the interviewer's mind, send a thank you note after your phone interview.
You should handwrite your note immediately following your interview so you can reference something you discussed on the call. Mail your note the same day or the next day to ensure it reaches the recruiter while they're still in the decision-making process.
To increase your chances of getting a follow-up interview:
Research the organization, the role for which you are applying and the person interviewing you.
Write thorough notes before the call, and keep your resources visible during the call.
Maintain a calm, positive demeanor and be sure to smile.
Always send a personalized thank you note.
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