Many life sciences employers today use telephone interviews as an initial step for screening job candidates. When given the opportunity for a phone interview, your primary goal is to convince the interviewer that you’re an outstanding candidate for the next step: a face-to-face interview. Here are seven vital tips to help you nail your next phone interview:
1. Arrange to be in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted when scheduling the interview. This shows the interviewer that you’re prepared, focused, and making the interview a priority.
2. Do not use a cell phone and, especially, do not interview while driving. First, it is not safe to do this while driving. Second, the noise levels and chance of being disconnected are high. Always use a landline!
3. Have your résumé and/or curriculum vitae handy. With this information right in front of you, you won’t miss a beat when posed with questions about your previous jobs. Also have a pen and paper within reach for important information the interviewer discusses.
4. Be careful not to talk too much. Take a moment to gather your thoughts and answer each question without straying from the point. Also, be prepared with succinct, to-the-point answers for frequently asked interview questions, such as your strengths and weaknesses and why you’re a perfect fit for the position.
5. Don’t eat, drink, or chew gum during the interview. Ever. You may want to have a glass of water nearby, however, just in case you need it.
6. Have some questions ready. Interviewers frequently end the conversation by asking if you have any questions, so be prepared. Do your homework about the company and its products or services to help come up with some good questions. It’s also good to ask about the specific job responsibilities and opportunities for advancement.
7. Follow up with a thank-you note. Be sure to send your interviewer a thank-you letter or email promptly after the phone interview. A follow-up thank-you note expresses your appreciation, reiterates your interest in the position, and highlights your qualifications.
Mastering the telephone interview is a key skill for job hunters in the life sciences industry today. By being prepared and confident, you’ll be a step closer to your next new job.
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