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How Does A Phone Interview Work

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How To Do A Phone Interview Successfully – Phone Interview Tips

It might be tempting to cross something off your to-do list while on a phone interview, but recruiters and hiring managers can easily tell if your attention is elsewhere. My number one pet peeve is people who decide to multitask while on the phone interview, says Dan Krupansky, Talent Acquisition Manager at PrimePay. I have heard candidates washing dishes, making lunch in the microwave, going for walks, letting their dog out, and grocery shopping during the interview. I even had one person use the bathroom and flush the toilet while speaking with me. Needless to say, this doesnt reflect well on your level of interest in the position youre interviewing for.

Practise Before The Interview

Practice makes perfect. Any experience you have of using the phone in a professional context will help, for example a temporary telesales job, research during work experience or voluntary fundraising. If you feel you need more experience to build your confidence, ask a friend, a relative or someone at your careers service to help. Theyâll be able to give you feedback on how you come across.

You could also record yourself so that you can listen back and identify any problems, such as speaking too quietly or quickly.

You can find resources to help you practise telephone interviews from our partners at Shortlist.Me.

The Dos And Donts Of Phone Interviewing

  • DONT take the call in a car, outside, or anywhere noisy
  • DO answer the phone with a professional tone Hello this is
  • DONT smoke or chew gum during the call
  • DO take notes and have your own notes handy prior to the call
  • DONT take a long time to answer the questions
  • DO allow the interviewer to interrupt you and ask follow-up questions
  • DONT forget to prepare questions to ask the interviewer and write down new ones as youre talking
  • DO prep for the dreaded salary question ahead of time in a mock interview
  • DONT talk too quickly. Breath and make sure to enunciate
  • DO make sure youre distraction-free to so you can focus and listen. You can scrub your counters later.
  • DONT forget to send a post-interview thank-you note
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Recommended Reading: What To Prepare For A Phone Interview

What To Expect In A Phone Interview

  • Usually one interviewer only not a group
  • Hiring manager trying to eliminate you
  • Varying interviewer styles
  • Basic questions about your personal life
  • Housekeeping questions
  • Potential salary expectation discussion
  • Standard job interview questions
  • No next interview promises
  • The last point is key. Its quite rare that you will get an offer of an in-person interview at the end of your phone call. But dont be discouraged!

    The general practice is for the hiring manager to assess all of her phone interviews and create a short-list of candidates to be brought in for in-person interviews.

    If youve followed our tips, youll surely be getting another call from her to be brought in.

    OK, so how do you prepare for this bold new frontier of employment screening? Luckily almost all of the standard rules from in person interviews still apply, so the basic prep work is essentially the same but there are some tips specific to phone interviews than can really be of help:

    Narrow Your Candidate Pool

    Do These 7 Things If You Want To Ace A Phone Interview ...

    Once youve reviewed the resumes, create a preliminary shortlist of candidates that youd like to call. This could be 10 people, or it could be 100 people. It depends on the number of applicants, and how many you can disqualify immediately.

    Dont be concerned if your short list isnt short. Thats why youre doing a phone screen interview in the first place. Good screening is a crucial step in shortlisting candidates.

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    Prepare Your Own Cheat Sheet

    Like all good interviews, its not just about answering questions, but asking the right ones as well.

    The right questions not only help you get information you might need to make an informed decision regarding the job, but it also helps confirm your qualifications as the ideal candidate for the position.

    Ask about the different aspects of the job and express genuine interest and excitement in the opportunity.

    Take the time to make sure that this is the organization you want to work foritll save you a ton of heartache and headaches in the long run.

    Dont be afraid to dig for more details about the position and the company.

    Ask questions about the job that werent covered in the job postingask about specifics and get details.

    You need to know exactly what youre getting into before you say yes to the job

    Make sure you prepare your own list of questions before you start. Make sure your questions are thoughtful and have a purpose.

    Need some examples to use or ideas to kick start your own list? Check out our Top 14 Questions to Ask In An Interview blog post.

    Remember though to keep these questions short and sweet. Again, remember, Its not about you, its about them. How can you fulfill their needs?

    Set Yourself Up For Success

    What does that mean? Well, for one, you probably shouldn’t take the call in your pajamas in bed. A few days before the call, prepare for the interview in the same way you would ready yourself for an in-person meeting. Review the questions and answers you’ll likely be asked.

    When the day comes, wear clothes that help you feel confident, capable, and professional. Then, set up a quiet space where you can sit at a table with a copy of your cover letter and resume.

    Make sure you have a pen and paper, and most importantly, keep background noise to a minimum. You don’t want your dogs, kids, spouse, or parents yapping for your attention while you’re on the phone. Arrange for privacy if need be.

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    Prepare Questions You Want To Ask

    Interviewers want to know youre interested in the position youre applying for. Display your interest by asking insightful questions at the end of the interview. Some questions you could ask include:

    • What will my daily responsibilities include?
    • What is the workplace environment like?
    • What is your favorite part of working for the company?

    Read more: 17 Best Questions to Ask Your Interviwer

    Just Hanging Up At The End Of The Call

    How To Do A Phone Interview Successfully – 10 Phone Interview Tips

    You’d never just walk out of a face-to-face interview with a quick “thank you” and a wave goodbye so why would you end a phone interview like that?

    Director of operations at MyCorporation.com, Dana Case, said in an interview with Monster.

    “The best way to initiate the transition to the final part of the interview,” says Case, “is to ask the interviewer: ‘Is there anything else you’d like to ask?'”

    It means you’ll learn more about the application process and won’t be left torturing yourself post-interview about whether you’ll ever hear from the company again.

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    What Makes You Unique

    Focus on why you are the ideal candidate for the position. Sharing a unique hobby or skill is beneficial to helping you stand out.

    Example:Because I have had practice fielding shoppers’ questions, feedback and complaints, I know what customers expect in the retail world. I use my own talents as a shopper to determine what customers may need in the future.’

    Will I Get A Job Offer At A Second Interview

    Even if youre the leading candidate, you might not get a job offer immediately after the second interview. In fact, you may get called in for a final interview, in which salary and perks are discussed. You can increase your chances of success by making a strong, immediate follow-up after your second interview.

    Also Check: How To Ace And Interview

    Types Of Telephone Interview Questions To Ask

    Now that weve gone through the process to prepare for a phone screening, lets look at some questions you can ask your candidates.

    Generally speaking, your telephone interview questions should fall into one of the following categories:

    • Background information
    • Resumes points that need more information or clarification.

    Lets take a look at some examples for each.

    How Do You Schedule/prioritize/stay Motivated

    7 Tips for Honing Your Telephone Interview Skills

    Since there wont be a boss looking over your shoulder, the employer is asking how you willstay motivated to accomplish your tasks.

    Think about how you like to organize work and explain to the interviewer how that helps you get your work done. Do you like old fashioned to-do lists and make one up every day just to cross off your accomplishments? Are you really into calendars and scheduling tasks and blocks of time to work? Maybe you like to put up the do not disturb sign and get really deep into your work, turning off all push notifications until the task is complete.

    Dont forget to mention how you prioritize tasks and what you do when there are multiple things that need your attention at once. Make sure you explain what steps you take, how you triage things, and that you arent afraid to ask for help when youre in over your head.

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    How Do I Know A Call Is Coming

    Usually, the hospital will ask us to arrange a date and timeto call. The hospital will either suggest a few possibledates and times, or ask you for the best time to call. Dueto time zone differences and different workweeks, there maybe a few back-and-forth calls or emails before a time isestablished. If using Skype, they will ask us for your”Skype name” or “Skype ID.”

    Take Notes And Ask Questions

    Take notes and ask questions during your phone interview. For instance, take notes on specific requirements for the job or additional resources to help you prepare for the role if the interviewer mentions them. Similarly, if something is unclear to you, ask the interviewer about it. You can add their clarification to your notes for later reference.

    Also Check: How To Set Up A Video Interview

    When Do You Want To Start This Position

    Example answer: I’d love to start as soon as I can. I do have a job that I’m currently employed at. And I would like to provide them with two weeks’ notice to transition my job duties and responsibilities to another employee appropriately. But once that notice period has ended, I would love to start my new job title with the company and begin taking on challenges.

    Common Interview Questions And Answers

    How to Do a Phone Interview – Phone Interview Questions and SAMPLE Answers

    Interview questions help recruiters assess a candidate’s suitability for a role. Answering questions is also an opportunity for the job seeker to share career highlights and address weaknesses. In this article, we will look at ways to prepare for interview questions and sample answers you can provide.

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    Send A Thank You Note

    At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer and ask what the next step in the process will be. Ask for the interviewers email address and send out an email thank you note immediately, thanking the interviewer and reiterating your interest in the job. Its important to show your appreciation for the interview regardless of how the interview was conducted.

    Answer The Call In A Professional Manner And Introduce Yourself

    To make sure you sound professional when answering the phone for your interview, start out by stating your name in an upbeat tone, and when the interviewer states who they are, confirm that you were anticipating their call. This way, the interviewer will know who you are and that they reached the correct individual. Additionally, check that your voicemail greeting is professional and clear in case you are unable to answer the phone.

    Example:“Hello, this is Gemma Rutherford. I’ve been looking forward to speaking with you, Ms. Anderson.”

    Read Also: How To Interview An Applicant For A Job

    Never Talk Over The Interviewer

    You might be eager to get your point across or talk about your experience, but interrupting the interviewer is awkward and rude when youre speaking on the phone, even more so than in face-to-face interviews. Interviewing can be stressful and sometimes that stress manifests itself in speaking too fast, speaking too loud, talking over the interviewer, or attempting to answer the interviewer’s question before they have actually finished asking the question, says Taylor. Don’t do this. Theres a big difference between being assertive and being aggressive, and interviewers can always recognize it.

    Do Your Research In Advance

    Telephone Interview Advice

    Know as much as you can about the employer and the opportunity before the interview, just as you would for an in-person interview:

    • Re-read the job posting, and make notes of where you meet or exceed the requirements .
    • Review the organizations website to see what they do, where they are, and the latest news they may have posted.
    • Look for a LinkedIn Company Profile to see what information they post, as well as other job openings they might have.
    • Google the company and the product/service names. See for more ideas.
    • Check a site like Glassdoor.com to see the job interview questions commonly asked by this employer as well as the salary ranges and employee reviews.
    • Based on your company research, have questions to ask if the opportunity arises or you risk looking uninterested and unprepared .

    This research will help you to succeed in the face-to-face interview later, hopefully. It should also help you to determine if you really want to work for this employer.

    For more pre-interview research ideas , read The Winning Difference: Pre-Interview Preparation.

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    Phone Interview Questions About You

    • What are you looking for in your next job? What is important to you?
    • What is your greatest weakness?
    • What is your greatest strength?
    • Describe a typical work week.
    • How would you describe the pace at which you work?
    • How do you handle stress and pressure?
    • What motivates you?
    • Questions about your career goals.
    • What type of work environment do you prefer?

    Skip The Money Conversation

    To put it bluntly, its simply too early in the process for you to be the one who brings up salary expectations. Chances are if a candidate is participating in a phone interview, this is the first time they have talked with the company, and the first call isn’t the appropriate time to talk about what’s in it for you, says Justina Strnad, the Talent Acquisition Manager for Shiftgig. Trust me, if you are a great candidate and make it to next steps, the hiring team is going to be very transparent about what’s in it for you later on!

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    Why Do You Want To Work Here

    Your phone interviewer might ask why you want to work at the company to get an idea of whether or not youve researched the company, what motivates you and whether your values align with those of the business. To answer this question, research the company by visiting their company page, their website and recent press releases or news stories. Select a few key items from your research that align with the company. For example, you might be inspired by their mission, interested in their product or excited about their growth in the industry.

    Example answer:After building my career managing hospitality staff, it has been my ultimate goal to work for a hotel that not only values the growth and achievement of their employees but also maintains an exquisite, affordable experience for their guests. I read your recent press release about implementing a truly innovative rewards program for guests at all levels, even those visiting for the first time. Your company continues to set precedence for quality service and experience, and I am looking for a career working toward that kind of mission.

    Read more: Interview Question: Why Do You Want to Work Here?

    Telephone Interview Turn Offs

    Phone Interview Tips | How to Ace a Phone Interview (from former CEO)

    Lots of background noise: cafes are not good places to take the interview call.

    Munching and slurping: have a glass of water nearby just in case your mouth goes dry mid call, but don’t eat or drink proper while taking part in a telephone interview.

    Taking other calls or responding to messages: switch off your mobile if you are using a landline switch off your landline if you are using your mobile… or move to another room.

    Multitasking: resist the urge to reply to emails, check your Facebook page, make your lunch, wash up, and so on. Focus only on the person at the other end of the line.

    Being too laid back, literally: Don’t slouch on the couch sit up straight, as it will help you feel and sound more confident and alert. Some people find taking calls standing up immediately gives energy to their conversation.

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    Why Do You Want This Job

    Recruiters might ask this question during a phone interview to understand more about your current work situation. When explaining why you want the job, remember to stay positive about your current employer if you currently have a job.

    Example answer:I noticed that the parts of my previous positions I enjoyed the most were those that aligned with whats listed in your job description, like creative writing and building relationships with stakeholders. While I am grateful for my time at my current company, I feel that its time to move into a role more tailored to my talents where I can continue to grow as a PR professional.

    How To Begin A Phone Interview When The Interviewer Calls You

    Starting your phone interview successfully can ultimately impact how the rest of the interview goes. Use the following steps as a guide for starting your phone interview when the interviewer calls you:

  • Get prepared for your phone interview.
  • Answer the call in a professional manner and introduce yourself.
  • Before you hang up, address the interviewer by name.
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