How To Answer The Phone For An Interview
Be ready for the call. When you answer the phone for an interview, do so with great energy while remaining professional. The best calls begin with someone answering the phone saying, Hello, this is _____.
We cant stress this enough. Hello, this is Susan! is an infinitely more professional way to answer a call than a simple Hi.
Thank The Interviewer For Speaking With You
After you reach the interviewer and make your introductions, thank the interviewer for speaking with you prior to beginning the interviewing process. Here is an example of all steps combined:
Example:”Hi, Ms. Renshaw, this is Gemma, and I’m calling for the scheduled phone interview I have with you today. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me.”
Phone Interview Questions To Ask The Interviewer
- How would you describe the responsibilities of the position?
- What qualities are you looking for in the person you hire to join this company?
- If I was hired, how would I be interacting with you and your department, what would be your expectations, and your measures for success?
- How would I get feedback about how well my work meets the expectations?
- What do you view as the most challenging part of this job?
- Why is the last person who held this position leaving?
- Who does this position report to?
- How would you describe the company culture?
- What is the typical work week? Is overtime expected? How about travel?
- What are the opportunities for advancement with the company?
- Is there anything else can I tell you about my qualifications?
- Could I schedule an in-person interview at your convenience?
- If I am extended a job offer, how soon could I start?
- Would you like a list of references?
- When can I expect to hear from you?
- Are there any other questions I can answer for you?
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What Salary Are You Looking For
The recruiters perspective: Sometimes people think that by withholding their salary preferences to the end they are somehow giving themselves a leg up. Thats frustrating to us as a recruiter because were on your side. We want you to get the job. We cant fight for you unless we know what salary youre looking for. Thats why we ask the question. And when youre talking to hiring managers, giving them that information up front makes the process smoother.
Youre never going to paint yourself into a corner by giving an honest answer to this question, even if your number is higher than our salary range for the position.
The answer: Sometimes people answer with where theyre at now salary-wise, which is helpful information. Other times, theyll ask for a salary based on research theyve done. They might say, Im really aiming for this salary, but Im flexible with other perks.
Youre never going to paint yourself into a corner by giving an honest answer to this question, even if your number is higher than our salary range for the position. Hiring managers appreciate people who are upfront about their salary, and if we can do it, well do it. Otherwise, well give you the best deal we can. But your salary request doesnt ever discount your chances for the job.
Describe A Recent Project Youve Worked On And Tell Me About Your Role In It
The recruiters perspective: They want to know if you can actually explain your project to a layperson. Most are primarily on an engineering team, but engineering teams are not your only stakeholders. Can you have a conversation with the product team to explain how something works? If youre client-facing, can you talk in a manner that a client can understand? Your ability to translate the tech stack and platforms in a way that anyone can understand also shows that you have an understanding of that skill set.
The answer: Have a couple-sentence-long description ready about why you chose that project and what the goal was. Then describe what you did. Were you responsible for the front end or the back end? If you built an e-commerce platform, did you build the shopping cart? Then reference the actual technical implementation plan that you performed.
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Email Sample : Responding To And Accepting A Face
Next, if youve been invited to meet in person, you can use this template to set up a day and finalize everything!
Thank you for getting back to me. Id love to come in and have the interview. Is this a full-day interview? Or how many hours should I set aside?
Im available Monday Thursday, 7:00 am 2:00 pm Central Time.
Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Best regards, Your name
This is a basic structure for responding to the company, but you can also add other details/questions as needed. For example, if you want to ask for the names of the people youll be meeting with, or the number of people youll be meeting, thats a good idea. If you need help finding the company location for a face-to-face interview, you can ask if they have instructions for arriving, too.
However, I like to get the scheduling sorted out first, and then ask other questions. Thats why I kept the email template above dead-simple. Take it one step at a time, and youll avoid confusion and complicated emails.
So Id recommend using the sample email above, and then ask further questions once a day and time is set!
When Are You Available To Start
If they ask this late in a face-to-face interview, its a sign your interview went well. However, if youre hearing it in a phone interview, theyre usually just trying to get a sense of your availability and current job hunt situation.
So If youre currently employed, tell them youd need to give a two week notice to your current employer .
Id need to give my current employer a two-week notice, and then I was hoping to take one week off before starting. So I could be available to start three weeks after a job offer is accepted.
If youre unemployed, you can still tell them youd like one or two weeks before starting, but its up to you. See the example script below for how you can do this:
I could begin one week after accepting a job offer. I do have a vacation scheduled in late May, so I would just need to take a week off during that time, but I could start before then.
Also, if youre applying for jobs in a different city or state, you might be asked how soon you can relocate, whether youll require relocation assistance and more. So be ready for that type of question too!
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Have You Had To Make A Decision That Was Unpopular With The Rest Of Your Team Describe The Circumstance And Outcome
The recruiters perspective: They want to see that you dont get all caught up in . They want to see that you can keep the focus on what needs to be done, when you are going to do it and whats going to happen, rather than how people will feel.
The answer: How Ive handled this in the past is telling a story about these multi-million dollar requests for proposals that we had to put together in three days. Not very many people were happy, but it had to be done, and people had to get on board. So, I described what I did and what I learned. The manager is not always the most popular person, but youve got to get people on board.
Direct Them To Your Personal Branding Website
Say whaaat? Personal branding website?
Oh what, you didnt know one of the best new strategies that all the best job seekers are employing?
Its true, having your own personal branding website can be one of the most powerful tools you use as part of your job search.
Why? Well there are dozens of reasons, but most importantly, a personal website will allow you to impress hiring managers, differentiate yourself from your competitors, increase your visibility online and create a hub for your personal brand online.
Not to mention it lets you show off so much more of your personality than your resume or cover letter can. And this is absolutely HUGE for someone having a phone interview, when the name of the game is standing out and being memorable.
What do you think is more memorable? Someone who submits their resume and cover letter and then answers a few questions over the phone or someone who does all of the above and then directs the hiring manager over to their website, allowing them to receive the many benefits I listed above?
Its a no brainer and heres a little secret.
Its not that hard.
Especially since I made a blog post for you that shows you exactly how to do it, How To Set Up Your Personal Website In Under 15 Minutes. This blog post will hold your hand through the process and make it brain-dead easy for you, even if you are terrible at using computers.
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Tell Me About A Time You Were Able To Communicate Effectively And Make Your Work Relationships Stronger
The recruiters perspective: They want to find out what the persons communication style is. Some people will hem and haw around what they want you to do or as questions. Other people are very direct. In a startup, the persons communication style can be very important.
Id want somebody to show they have awareness about how they communicate, and that theyre open to learning a new way of communicating with each person that comes into their world.
The answer: Im thinking about when I was working with a partner at an IT consulting company. I remember her taking me into the hallway and talking to me in the middle of putting together a huge request for proposals, and her telling me, Lynn, you scared the hell out of me. Because when I get going, I get very short. So I took a breath, and I listened to her and thanked her for being honest with me. Our relationship shifted from that moment on.
So, Id want somebody to show they have awareness about how they communicate, and that theyre open to learning a new way of communicating with each person that comes into their world.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
What Type Of Manager Would You Work Best With
This question aims to figure out the type of leadership style you prefer. The relationship between the manager and an employee is crucial for the success of the company. The recruiter wants to be sure you can get along and work well with your boss. It is true you will also enjoy working with a manager you get along with.
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How To Respond To A Recruiter
- Be responsive. Dont make the recruiter work for it.
- Show your interest by researching the company and the role.
- Articulate your skills and experience clearly. Know why youre good at what you do.
- Show that youll be a good coworker by being friendly, professional, and courteous.
- Prepare a long-term vision for your career .
Focus And Cut Out All Distractions
Make sure youre not distracted. Turn off the TV. Let me repeat that. TURN OFF THE TV.
Nobody wants to ask you about your past performances and work history and hear Sponge Bob in the background. Dont think putting it on mute is good enough either. People can tell if youre distracted and delaying your answers to a potential employer because youre reading the crawler at the bottom of FOX News isnt going to score you any points.
Get comfortable, but dont get too comfortable.
Find a good spot to sit down and have all your prep materials nearby for easy access.
Sit at the kitchen table or at a desk.
Dont lay down. Dont slouch. Make sure distractions are not going to be an issue.
If youre doing the interview at home and youre not alone, make sure everyone knows youre going to be busy for a bit and to give you some privacy. Put the dogs outside. Pop in a video for the kids. Have your spouse keep everyone calm. At the very least go into a room where you can shut the door and focus on the task at hand.
So, now that youre up and dressed, lets get ready for that interview!
First and foremost, make sure youre presenting yourself in the most professional way possible, from the very first Hello, all the way to the Goodbye.
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Never Put Your Interviewer On Hold
Phone interviews donât take that long, and there probably isnât anything else going on that is really truly so urgent that you need to pause your interview. âDo not put me on hold to take an important call that just beeped in,â advises Jeremy Payne, head of people operations at Remote Year. âI am your important call. If you are expecting extremely urgent news , be sure to preface that in the early minutes of the interview, so the recruiter is aware of the situation and so you can work with them to reschedule if that interruption does occur,â he says.
Can You Tell Me About A Time Where You Had To Overcome An Obstacle
At some point, every professional encounters an obstacle. Hiring managers want to know that youll admit youve faced challenges and that you have the ability to overcome them.
In my last position, I was working on a project that was in jeopardy of missing the deadline. A team member was behind on their tasks, creating a bottleneck that impacted the rest of us. Instead of sitting back, I reached out to my colleague and asked if I could help them catch up. We discussed the trouble they were facing and created a plan that allowed us to get back on track. It took a substantial amount of effort, but was ultimately worth it since the project ended up as a success.
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Do Some Research Before The Interview
Odds are youve applied to more than one company and its always helpful to know a bit about who youre talking to, from both a professional and a business standpoint.
Double check the job description youre interviewing for.
Google the company. See how theyre doing and what theyre doing.
If you know whos doing your interview you can see what sort of digital footprint they have and find out more about them on a personal level. Look them up on but dont go overboard.
Its never a good idea to send them a Facebook Friend Request before you even have the interviewin fact, its probably not a good idea afterwards either. Maybe in six months when youve already got the job and youre all good friends having lunch twice a weekbut not yet.
The best part about doing this research is it also allows you to tailor your answers when you start getting hit with those interview questions.
Tailoring your answers is the best possible way to ensure that not only are you satisfying what the interviewer is asking, youre positioning yourself to be the best possible candidate for the jobor, dare we saythe perfect candidate!
Remember as youre pouring over all those notes you culled about the company and what they stand for that your ultimate goal is to be everything they need in a candidate and that means making sure your answers are specific, targeted and tailoredin a nutshell, customized.
How To Speak During The Interview
I recommend that you sit at or stand near a desk. The posture does wonders for not just your psyche but the way you speak, and the tone you deliver is absurdly important without any body language for the interviewer to go off of.
To that end, smile too, because it truly does affect the way you speak. Studies show that people can tell a difference and whether thats just sunshine magic or your unconscious tendency to speak differently when smiling, it works.
You might have verbal ticks like failing to enunciate or speaking too fast try recording yourself and count all of your ums, uhs, and likes.
If you havent done this before itll be eye-opening most people have them, so dont feel bad about it just be aware of it.
Youll almost undoubtedly sound differently out loud than you do in your head, so give the recording yourself thing a shot.
Also, dont rely too heavily on the cheat sheet. Interviewers know that theyre trading spontaneity for convenience, but dont let them hear keys tapping or papers shuffling before every question.
Prepare as you would for an in-person interview and at least put on a handsfree headset instead of speakerphone, to minimize the noise.
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What Is Your Salary Expectation
Many interviewers will ask this question during a phone interview. This helps them narrow down the candidate pool to those whose expectations match the salary range they have within their budget. Research common salaries for the position within your state to determine an appropriate response, should this question come up.
Other Potential Telephone Interview Questions
What interests you about this job?
Right answer: Demonstrate what you know about the position and the company in general, and back it up with what makes you the perfect candidate for the role. Its all about matching a skill you possess, with skills required in the job description. And some subtle ego-stroking. That too
There seems to be a gap in your employment history. What were you doing during this time?
Right answer: Be as honest as possible here. If your break was due to personal reasons, then say that. Those who try to lie often get found out rather quickly. However, if explained the right way, your break neednt harm your chance of success. For more information, read our guide on how to explain a gap in your CV.
Take me through your CV
Right answer: Give a short description of your education or employment history. Most telephone interviews are fairly brief, so you dont need to go into too much detail. Cover off the headline points and aim to highlight a key achievement or what you learned from each role. That way youre telling more of a story of how you got to this point, rather than just rattling off things theyve already read.
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