The very good news for you is that you have much more control over this outcome than you might think. There are 3 very important steps you can take to make sure you get the face-to-face interview. The first two are easy. The last one is more difficult…but it also makes the most impact on your chances of moving forward.
Step 1 – Prepare for this interview as seriously as you would prepare for a face-to-face interview. Assuming they don’t try to catch you off guard with a surprise phone interview, you should make every effort to schedule it at a good time for you, and then research and prepare for it. Find out as much as you can about the company, get some questions ready to ask, and practice some answers to typical phone interview questions.
Step 2 – Early in the conversation, ask the interviewer what their ideal candidate looks like. What qualities or background does that person have? Their answer makes it easy for you to tailor your responses to their questions. You might not realize you should be talking about your 6 months in X role, until you find out that your interviewer is particularly interested in it. This is a quick way to make a positive impact on your conversation.
Step 3 – Ask for the face-to-face interview. This right here is where the rubber meets the road. Many candidates will wait and hope to be invited—they don’t want to seem too bold or desperate. That’s a weak position to be in and won’t do much to help you. A few of the braver candidates will say, “When do you expect to make a decision?” That’s a lot better, but not really your best move. The bravest candidates who see the most success at getting to the next step say something like, “I am really interested in this position. It sounds like a great fit. When can we meet to discuss this further?”
Asking that last question–“When can we meet?”–is a great move because it either secures your interview, which is what you want, or it forces them to tell you they’re not planning to bring you in. If that’s the case, you can probably find out why they have doubts about you. Sometimes it’s a real issue that you can’t say anything to fix—but sometimes, it’s just a simple miscommunication that you can clear up right then. Once you clear it up, they feel comfortable with asking you to come in and interview. This simple question can be what gets you to the face-to-face interview.
If you’d like to practice your interview answers with professional feedback, or you need help with specific answers, I’d love to work with you as your interview coach.