Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Telephone Interview Question from a Security Professional

If you could give just one piece of advice to someone who was about to have a phone interview, what would you tell them?

Having recruited for over 22 years now, I’ve had the pleasure of arranging many interviews that turned into job offers.  I’ve also had to be the messenger from time-to-time when it came to telling a job candidate why they didn’t make the cut.
I’d much rather talk to someone about their success but there are teaching moments that I’ve learned to enjoy when I get to help someone understand what they could have done better in an interview situation so they can do better the next time around.

If I had to limit my pre-interview advice to just one point, it would definitely be the point of listening.  Nothing will make a telephone interview go better than when the person being interviewed listens carefully to the interviewer’s question and then answers the interview’s questions.
An Interview That Went Well
I’ve recently had two people interview for the same job.  One candidate listened carefully to the interviewer’s questions and made sure he answered the interviewer’s questions rather than focusing on his own agenda from the beginning to the end of his interview process.

An Interview That Didn't Go So Well

A second equally qualified candidate for the same job got off on the wrong phone on his initial phone interview.  He was being interviewed by three people on the other end of the phone.  He failed to address the first question in his phone interview.  The interview team (I’m told) looked at each other wondering if the candidate had misunderstood the question.
A second question was asked and the result was the same.  The candidate in this case was fully qualified for the job he was being interviewed to perform.  The problem was that he took his interview agenda to the initial telephone interview and disregarded the questions the interview team had prepared for him.

He failed to listen.

I focus heavily on listening skills when preparing candidates to interview for security jobs.  It isn’t a matter of me telling anyone what to say on their interview.  I simply stress to candidates that they listen to the agenda the interviewer has rather than interjecting their own agenda into the interview process too quickly.
Winning The Job Interview Process

Many times the candidates who pay attention to the most simple things such as listening and expressing thanks are the ones who come out on top in the job interview process.

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