Phone Interview Tips Series

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Why research the interviewer before your phone interview?  Look at it this way:  The job interview is a sales process in which you are both the product and the sales rep.  One of the first rules of sales is “Know Your Customer.”  You can’t sell effectively unless you know a little something about the person buying the product.

How annoying is it to have a sales rep come up to sell you something without even asking a few questions about your problems or issues?  They have no idea what you’re interested in, so they’re not effective.

The same principle is at work in the job interview process.

What Should You Search For About the Interviewer?

You don’t want to become a stalker…you just need some background on this person.  Where are they from?  How did they come up in the business?  What hobbies do they have?

Some things are going to help you establish rapport.  Maybe you share a hobby.  Or maybe you’ll find out that your interviewer is a member of PETA, so you’ll decide not to talk about your love of hunting.

And some things will help you decide what to focus on in your call.  The interviewer’s career background might provide some clues as to what he or she values.  If you can talk about similar things in your own background, that’s going to give you an advantage in the process.

Use LinkedIn to Research the Interviewer

LinkedIn profiles are invaluable sources of information.  What jobs have they had?  What groups are they in?  What things to they talk about in their status updates?  All these things can give you important clues that will help you in your conversation.

Use Facebook to Research the Interviewer

Since Facebook is more of a social site than LinkedIn, you’re going to be able to get another perspective on your interviewer.  It should give you a more personal look at this person:  what do they post?  What do they think is funny?  How active are they?

This research is going to make you feel more comfortable speaking with this person.  You’ll feel like you know them a lot more than just going in cold.  It should make you more comfortable, which will make you more confident.

Use a Photo?

One more trick that might make you feel more comfortable in the phone interview is to grab the interviewer’s profile picture off either LinkedIn or Facebook and put it on your computer screen while you talk so you feel more like you’re talking to a person.  For some people, it makes them feel more at ease.

Got a big phone interview coming up? Let’s make sure you’re ready with a half-hour of coaching!


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  1. On this series you really emphasize on doing research on the interviewer. How does a person find out who is going to interview you so you can do the research. On Linkedin to see the hiring managers you need to pay and get the Premium Linkedin – I cannot afford that at this time. What else can a person do? – Jane

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