If you are wondering how to respond to a phone interview request, I am presuming that after you had submitted your resume and/or a successful job application, you have either recieved an email or letter from the employer indicating that you should schedule a phone interview with them. If so, then you are in the right place and also 'Good Job', but you are now in the next phase of the recruitment process, so it is time to get prepared. Below, is a brief yet important seven point breakdown on how to reply and arrange the phone interview in an effective and professional manner.
First: Note Down The Details
Before attempting to make any contact with the company to schedule a phone interview make sure you have made a note of the important details in the email or letter.
Contact Details - names, phone numbers, email addresses, fax etc.
Expected Time - they may specified a time frame for the interview to occur or slots for you to choose.
You need to obviously abide by them, for example there is no point scheduling for a phone interview which isn't in the designated time frame (unless you have a valid excuse). Basically, be on the ball about what you have to do.
Second: The Best Form Of Contact?
They will usually leave you an option of either email or simply ringing, go with what you feel is most appropriate. But, given the option I would opt to ring, it gives the recruiter(s) a voice to the job application, and by the time you come round to your actual phone interview, you may have already built some familiarity with them (it also gives you the options to much of the following below).
However, make sure you conduct the 'arranging' of the phone interview in a professional and polite manner, as can be seen from the scripted example below. Introduce yourself to the specified contact just as you would in the phone interview greeting. Remember -- first impressions are vital.
You: "Good morning, I am Phillip Jones".
Detailed Contactor: "Good Morning, Mr. Jones, this is Jane Potts. How may I help you?"
You: "Thank you. I was ringing to schedule my phone interview with Mr. Smith as requested by email/letter".
Detailed Contactor: "Yes. We have been expecting your call, what time would be appropriate for you?"
... and negotiate from there.
Third: Respond Promptly
As soon as you receive the email or letter (or whatever form of indication), you should be responding to arrange the interview at least within the half hour (or at least within the day).
Firstly, it gives off a professional and organized impression, and that you don't leave things just sitting round waiting to be done last minute. Secondly, if you have to choose interview slot times, you are likely to get the pick of the bunch (i.e the most appropriate time for you).
If you are replying via a phone be sure to have a pen and paper to hand ready to note and confirm the details of when your phone interview will occur as well as any additional details that the phone interview organizer states.
Fourth: When to Organize the Interview?
Personally, I would suggest the phone interview to take place within the week (or the start of next), but be sure you are given plenty of time to prepare and practice (get that cheat sheet ready and 5 point sell scripted etc.. Both are key to having a successful phone interview.
If You Decide to Respond By Phone: Once you and the interviewer organizer have agreed on a time and date, be sure to ask for confirmation. It comes across as professional and besides it's better to be absolutely sure of when the interview is occurring.
Also, be sure to arrange it at time that actually fits you. There is no use arranging it for when you are busy at work.
Fifth: Have Your a Copy of Your Cover Letter/Resume (CV)/ Job Application to Hand
When you ring to organize your phone interview, they may ask over a few questions -- there and then -- confirming certain aspects of your application. Responding quickly and efficiently will again provide a good impression.
Sixth: Thank You
This should be rather obvious. Once you have actually arranged the phone interview be sure to thank them for the time as well as the opportunity to have the actual phone interview in the first place. A great way to earn a few brownie points before even heading into the interview.
(Optional) Seventh: "What Will the Interview Be Surrounding?"
When organizing the interview, you do have the opportunity (usually towards the close of the phone call) to ask for more details surrounding the type of questions that will be asked. This will give you a chance to prepare more 'efficiently' as you will know the style of questions that are coming up -- whether that be classical standard, competency based or technical based. However, some people may not feel comfortable asking, as they may feel that it gives a negative impression to the organizer. If you were to ask me personally, I would ask. It gives me an edge over other candidates and they may even think fondly of me for asking (or at the least negligible), that I took initiative to give myself an edge -- that I am a thinker. But all this is just advice, you may feel that you are uneasy about asking (or any of the above) -- one last piece of advice I will offer though is to give two books a quick read over, that will undoubtedly improve your phone interview performance -- firstly 'The Essential Phone Interview Handbook' and secondly my personal favourite '60 Seconds and You're hired!'. If you have any remarks of 'How to respond to a phone interview request' then do please leave them in the comments box below.