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Hi Folks

This is the conversation Wendii and I had this afternoon as she helped me prep for a phone screening (versus a full-on interview). We decided to post it to help others on the forums. It is essentially unedited except for me converting most of it from IM-speak to fuller sentences. We hope you derive some benefits from it.

Wendii and *RNTT (PS - this is long so you might want to copy and paste it out of here into a word document).

*RNTT - (1:32 PM): How many questions should one expect for a 20 minute screening phone call vs. the full on phone interview... (sounds like a nice idea for a blog, btw)

Wendii - (1:33 PM): Screening I would think should be about very specific required experience - questions like have you organised a conference with over 500 attendees, have you used this widget, do you have a qualification in x, rather than full on interviews which are more about understanding you as a person in order to understand how and how well you would carry out a role.

*RNTT - (1:34 PM): I c..nice distinction

Wendii - (1:34 PM): So in fact, a screening might have more questions - because the answers are likely to be shorter

*RNTT - (1:34 PM): but it is only 20 minutes

Note – Wendii is looking at the 4-page job description right now, then advising on how she would interview over the phone screen

Wendii - (1:35 PM): If you look down the mandatory qualifications/ experience then you'll see what's important to them,.. It’s likely that they'll ask about those things. Like when you buy a car.. At first you ask: has it got 4 wheels, does it come in red, does it have a cup holder, and later when you've narrowed it down to two or three you get to the comparing .. How big is the boot and does it go faster than the other one?

If I were screening on this I would want to know:

· Have you developed operational brand strategy for similar products (similar in market/size/complexity)
· What size of advertising strategies have you recommneded & had adopted?
· How did you use PR with that?
· What size/complexity etc comms strategies have you devised and how were you involved in their roll out
· What kind of people/teams have you interacted with in previous roles?
· what kind of teams have you led and what responsibilities did you have with them

That's all I'd probably ask - it's about understanding if the person is in the ball park as you North American's would say! And there's some clues as to what the answers should be - the budget is up to $2mm

*RNTT - (1:49 PM): Q1 - I developed an entire brand and 3 year market strategy for my division/product line at XXXX Life.... it was national in scope and included everything from branding statements, communications, advertising (print and digital) to sales software and infrastructure support.

Wendii - (1:51 PM): That's a good answer because they'll have an idea what they want to hear and you've given the boundaries of your experience - the only thing I might change is to mention the product - especially if it's financial which is similar to what they're doing

*RNTT - (1:51 PM): Q2 - I have used primarily print and digital for the markets I targeted. However, in one consulting role, I developed an entire 30-minute infomercial/video. Additionally, I have generated dozens of press releases and created radio and TV opportunities for one of the presidents I supported. In doing that, I also prepped him for these interviews via scripting and role-play

Wendii - (1:55 PM): Q2.. Can you get closer to the question? It's a good answer for an interview because it showcases your talent.. But if you imagine they have answer in their head which says - £2.5m on print on a 3 month campaign yes/no.. It’s hard for them to get the yes/no from your answer. The other thing you could do is say -well, obviously the advertising strategy relates to the markets you're going after, and the products and I've done mainly x product... especially if its close to what they're looking for

*RNTT - (1:56 PM): Q3 - I was the team lead for most strategies and rollouts. Ultimately, I worked through a project management office and the executive team with me doing all the legwork and making sure resources and buy in were available through the various functional areas involved. Often, it would be cross-functional teams of 6-12 areas, initially represented by VPs, AVPs or Directors before being handed off

*RNTT - (1:58 PM): (Referring back to Q2 as per Wendii’s instructions) Ok, I have to mention I had an official $1.2 Million dollar budget, plus a slush budget of about $800,000 that was pulled from IT or HR etc as the marketing/branding related to their areas.

Wendii - (1:58 PM): I like the cross functionality. Your answer implies teamwork and I think this job wants more leadership could you make it more buck stopped here for xxx issues... without lying

Wendii - (1:59 PM): budget's good coz it's close to what they want. Make sure you get that in!

*RNTT - (1:59 PM): BTW Wendii, I really appreciate your helping me on this. This would be a great conversation to post on the forums

Wendii - (1:59 PM): No probs, it's fun! I hope you don't think I'm being too critical. Your answers aren’t bad at all. It’s just tweaking

*RNTT - (2:02 PM): As for leadership, I was the driver for everything. I feted out the ideas, created competitive intelligence, walked the ideas through the functional areas to get by in and ensure resources were available. Even though I ran these projects through the PMO and ultimately the executive committee, these were my babies.

Wendii - (2:05 PM): I was the team lead for most strategies and rollouts. Ultimately, I worked through a project management office, however, I was the driver for ideas, created competitive intelligence, walked the ideas through the functional areas to get buy in and ensure resources were available through the various functional areas involved. Often, I would be working with VPs, AVPs or Directors of 6-12 areas. This makes you sound less tea boy and more tea maker

*RNTT - (2:06 PM): fair enough, did I miss anything else you mentioned?

Wendii - (2:07 PM): what kind of teams have you led and what responsibilities did you have with them

*RNTT - (2:08 PM): I have led or initiated senior cross functional teams, many involving up to 12 functional areas (this sounds like a rehash of the other answer)... My main role was to get everyone together, ensure we were still on the same schedule and to work out any difficulties the team may have encountered to ensure we stayed or got back on track

Wendii - (2:17 PM): that's excellent - if you look at their point F.5 (Establish goals, plans and assignments for each direct report to achieve the plan.) it answers it almost perfectly - except you have to say that you set the goals too if you did. Do you have the card game snap?

*RNTT - (2:17 PM): Never heard of the card game snap

Wendii - (2:18 PM): It's a game you play with kids.. You each have a pile of cards and you put down one each in turn... so I put one down, and you put one down, and when they are the same you shout snap! You can play with ordinary cards or you can get special cards with simplified colours and shapes on.... that's what telephone screening is like.. I'm looking for someone who has controlled x amount of budget. You have? SNAP!

*RNTT - (2:20 PM): lol

Wendii - (2:21 PM): So you answers have to be as specific and describe the range of activity as well as you can. So for example, they say, what recruitment activities have you been involved in.. and I say - Strategic workforce planning, advertising strategies, writing job descriptions, person specs, adverts, screening, interviewing, negotiation. So I give my self a wide range of cards to match with theirs, but I'm specific so it helps them match

*RNTT - (2:21 PM): ok, I better cut and paste this into something more cohesive so I can study it and blow them outta the water. I think we should post this as it would be helpful to many other MTers

Wendii - (2:23 PM): I was just typing that. JINX!

*RNTT - (2:23 PM): lol

James Gutherson's picture

Thanks you two - excellent. :D

dhkramer's picture

Thank you for sharing that.

pmoriarty's picture

How timely! I have a phone interview tomorrow. Thanks for sharing this!

thaGUma's picture

well done Wendii (again) you are one of the top particpators in this community, consistantly provide grade A advice and are willing to spend a significant amount of time assisting. MT award for you(that's short for Mother Theresa :twisted:).

Chris