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Telephone Interviews

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 10:54 am
by Jane
Due to my geographical location, I have just had a telephone interview for a position at pharmaceutical company. As often repeated on this forum, an interview is your chance to make a good impression apart from the job specific skills you possess. I perceive being interviewed by telephone as a disadvantage as it is more difficult to engage the interviewing panel and you don?t have the non verbal feedback that you do during an on site interview.

Do hiring managers take this into consideration when conducting interviews by telephone?

Telephone Interviews: tips

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 11:15 am
by Emil Chuck
Hi Jane,

Managers do take into account they cannot read YOUR non-verbal feedback. That could be in your favor if you don't "interview well" (nervous jitters, bad wardrobe, etc.). That's okay... use the fact that both parties are "blinded" in this process to your advantage.

In the time that you have, research the pharmaceutical company and the unit you would most likely be placed. Find out what drugs they are developing (not necessarily specific compounds, but their overall diseases that their drugs address). PRINT THESE OUT, and when you are about to go into your phone interview have these notes readily available.

Also, a phone interview means that you can prepare statements anticipating questions that the hiring manager will ask you. "Why are you interested in our company?" "Where do you see yourself in three years?" "Describe a situation where you demonstrated your interpersonal skills." Granted, you cannot sound like you're reading these statements, but you can have those notes in front of you when you are interviewing. Also, you can craft questions that you want to ask the manager in advance. Remember, you're also interviewing the manager who represents the company; the manager has to put the company in a positive light so that you would remain interested in the job.

One last note: people can pick up non-verbal cues in your voice that are separate from the information you are conveying. You have to be enthusiastic about the opportunity to show yourself as a candidate for the job through your voice. It may sound silly, but try some re-affirmation statements: look at yourself in the mirror, smile (VERY IMPORTANT), and tell yourself (out loud) that you are a great scientist for this company. Then place a mirror in front of you, and don't forget to smile often during your phone interview.

Good luck, and hopefully you'll make the cut and be invited for the final round of interviews (on-site).

Telephone Interviews: tips

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2005 11:45 am
by Bill L. & Naledi S.
Hi Jane,

I agree with all that Emil has said (particularly the part about the mirror - it helps to focus on a face when speaking on the phone. At times people's voices become less animated, or they lose their train of thought when phone interviewing. For some reason, many people find being able to look at a face, any face, to be helpful, and imagine they were speaking directly to that person).

The only part I'd add is to use verbal cues in your responses. For example, you can say "Three points come to mind...first,....second,....lastly..." to help your listener know where you are in your response (without visual clues, answers can seem longer). You can also at least say "Lastly", "Finally", or "So, to summarize", so your listener will know that you're about to finish. Those words are also helpful in getting the conversation back on track if you tend to ramble, or get lost in your response.

Also it helps to remember to have a watch on the table, and give your listener 5 seconds after each answer. That's because they could be processing what you're saying, or physically writting to down. At times, interviewees are uncomfortable with the silence, but they need not be. If you silence goes on a bit long - or actually, just at the end of the question, you can also ask for a verbal cue with: Did that respond to your question?

A glass of water doesn't hurt either.

Good luck!

Bill L. & Naledi S.