One way to find out what skills that job seekers need is to participate in the process yourself. I have had several phone interviews over the past couple of weeks and have learned a lot from these experiences. The first thing that strikes me is that they were each stylistically different. One of the interviews was more of a monologue on the part of the interviewer who went to great length to describe the program and goals. There was some discussion that was along the lines of some of the immediate tasks that I might take on for the job.
A second phone interview had a single interviewer who was simply doing screening. Was I still interested? Did I understand the job? Was the proposed salary OK? The third type of interview is the one that I have the most familiarity with. A lead interviewer is joined by several other people in the organization. They each usually ask one question and they ask for your questions at the end.
One of these team interviews was unusual in that the interviewers were very direct in their expectations. Another one was more genial in that they were trying to get vet me but also sell me on their organization.
Some of the takeaways I have from these experiences: First of all, as career coaches always say, you have to be prepared. I was over prepared for most of these and knew that I would not get to show everything that I knew but it gave me confidence that I was ready. One really good question they asked, was my most significant accomplishment in the past year --- I was not ready for that but it's a good example of how in most interviews you get questions you were not expecting. That question is also good because it has made me reflect on that very thing.
I made the effort to sound confident and knowledgeable. I was in a location that did not have a lot of background noise and had a good connection. Doing some research on these organizations ahead of time gave me some good ideas for questions to ask. I also based some questions on what's current in the field. For example, career services are under increasing pressure to provide data on outcomes. Some of my questions revolved around how that looks or the expectations for how that might look for the given organization.
The test of whether any of this pays off is whether I get invited to interview on-site. I anticipate those experiences will be a bit more of a challenge.