ask.fedweek.com 8 tips on nailing a phone interview

Many of us know that it’s a good idea to reach out to hiring managers but aren’t sure how. Here are the basics, including a script you can use to follow up after sending a resume or completing an interview.

  • To prepare for a call to follow up after sending a resume, know the name of the person you’re calling (and how to pronounce their name). Or, if you only know the title of the person responsible for hiring, call the company’s general number and get the name (and pronunciation). PRO TIP: LinkedIn has a feature for individuals to record their names and include it on their profiles. Check to see if the individual has done that.
  • Research LinkedIn and other sites to determine if you have a connection with the person you’re contacting. If you were referred to the organization by a mutual contact, mention the person you were referred by.
  • Follow up after an interview if you haven’t heard back from the interviewer. Consider an email as your first follow-up unless the hiring manager gave you permission at the end of the interview to call OR if it’s been more than a week for private sectors jobs and two weeks for federal jobs, and you haven’t heard back.
  • If you do get in contact with the hiring manager but a decision still has not been made, ask when would be a good time to check back. PRO TIP: mark the follow up date on your calendar so you don’t forget!
  • Ask for an informational interview with someone who can help give you information about a target employer or help you network to a job.

Here is a sample script you can adapt to your circumstances:

Make the Call:

Hi! My name is (your name).

[If you have a mutual connection or were referred to the position by someone specific, mention it. For example: “Jane Jones suggested that I speak with you.” People are more likely to take the time to talk to you if you mention a mutual friend or acquaintance, so always mention the common connection.]

Do you have a minute?

[If no: “When would be a good time for me to call back?”]

I submitted (my resume/an application) for the position of (name of job) on (date).

(Provide a one- or two-sentence summary of your qualifications and what you can offer to the company in this role.)

I wanted to make sure you had everything you need from me to consider me as a candidate for this position. And I wanted to ask if you have a date when you expect to start interviewing for this role.

[If yes: Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to talk with you today.]

[If no: Is it okay if I check back with you in a (timeframe – for example, a week)?”

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Nancy Segal is a federal human resources training and job search expert. Following her own 30-year federal HR career (much of it at the senior level), she founded Solutions for the Workplace LLC in 2003 to provide an HR management perspective to both federal managers and astute applicants to U.S. government positions. Nancy has unmatched federal career management insight, high standards, and respect for people’s time, and her clients use this to their advantage.