The qualification interview might be conducted by telephone or in person at the organization’s office. If you survived the initial resume screening interview, then you now have to be prepared for a very in-depth, qualifying interview that is really going to test your mettle.
#1 Demonstrate your experience.
What the interviewer wants to know with certainty is do you really have the qualities, attributes, skill set, experience, background, technical know-how, etc. to do this job as required? Because if you do, they want to get you into their office as soon as possible so you can be interviewed by their own personnel to confirm that you would be a good match for their firm and that you have a lot to offer them. They do not want to let you get away or allow the competition to get a hold of you first. Thus, the qualification interview is likely to be scheduled after the screening interview as soon as possible, usually within days.
#2 Back up your experience with examples.
The qualification interview is going to heavily scrutinize your resume, project list (if applicable) and your answers from the initial interview. You have to be prepared to back up your knowledge and experience, provide examples, demonstrate know-how, articulate your problem-solving skills and accomplishments, and in general, simply sell yourself.
#3 Be consistent on your answers.
Just as important, your answers must be consistent with those given in the screening interview. Your success at this level is going to determine whether or not you will be seriously considered any further and whether or not it is worth the company’s money to bring you in for a team interview. After all, it costs the firm money and resources to conduct interviews and to pull management away from everyday duties and responsibilities.
#4 Be well prepared for your interview.
This interview is generally set up in advanced, but is not always. Your telephone or email is going to play an important role here. Considering you have already had one interview (screening interview) and it seemingly went well, you have to assume and be prepared for the next phone call which just might turn out to be the qualifying interview. Are you prepared? Probably not. That is because the interviewer is prepared to begin asking you questions about your background, experience and achievements as soon as they get you on the line. You, on the other hand, usually have no idea who is calling you, and thus, may not be ready at that moment, or even be in the situation to carry on an interview.
#5 Answer your phone only when you’re ready.
If you do not recognize the incoming phone number then let the caller go into your voicemail. By letting the call go into voicemail you have some time to prepare. That way you can take a moment to compose yourself and be better prepared to call back at a time more suitable to you so you can give the best interview possible. Give yourself the best possible opportunity to be calm, cool and collected before you give your interview.
When you list your phone number on your resume, you can be absolutely certain an employer will use that to make an initial contact. Now you know an employer is going to call you; you must anticipate this and be prepared. Thus, it is imperative that the message on your phone is professional, warm and courteous. It should not be cute, humorous, folksy or anything else but above board and professional. This is another “first impression” and you do not want to drop the ball here.
#6 Conduct the interview on your terms.
If the caller wants to conduct the next phase by phone, you are now prepared to do so and on your terms. You can also be reasonably assured that this too will be a behavioral interview (questions about your past often predict your future action) because it is by phone and usually these are not conference called, team interviews at this point.
However, it will be so much better for you if they are inviting you to their office for the interview because now you have days to actually prepare and to practice on your interview techniques. Whichever interview the firm is planning to use with you, either a behavioral or team interview, or some combination thereof, you are in a good position to be properly prepared at this junction.