Tips To Ace Your Phone Interview
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Youve worked hard to network to a company of interest and potential job you would love.
And finally, you get the good news and bad news.
You have received a invitation to interview!
But, the first step in their hiring process is an interview over the phone.
No dressing up. No big smiles and firm handshakes. Whew! But
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.
Confirm The Scheduled Time
Before the day of your interview, confirm the date and time so youre sure to pick up when the call comes in. Writing down the scheduled time, adding it to your calendar or setting it as a reminder on your phone are great ways to make sure you are ready for the scheduled interview. Your punctuality can help make a good impression on your prospective employer.
Also Check: How To Decline Candidate After Interview
Be Ready For The Doubts
As theyre using this initial stage to filter out any candidates that might not be suitable, the hiring manager will be perfectly comfortable highlighting any apparent differences between your experience and the requirements of the job. So you need to show them that you can adapt. If the interviewers concerned that you dont have experience in a specific aspect of the job, reassure them that youre a fast learner and that youd be happy to do some training. Asking them what training they provide shows that youre willing to learn.
Be Proactive About Tech Issues
If your screen freezes or the sound cuts out, don’t play it off like it didn’t happen. Simply address this issue right away so you and the interviewer can get it resolved. If you try to ignore it, hoping they won’t notice, you’ll risk missing something or coming off looking very bad. We’ve all had computer issues it’s not an interview killer if you handle it correctly.
Recommended Reading: What To Do In A Job Interview
Tips For Acing A Phone Interview
Follow these tips for a successful phone interview:
Create a checklist. Review the job posting and make a list of how your qualifications match the hiring criteria. Have the list available so you can glance at it during the interview.
Have your resume handy. Keep your resume in clear view so it’s at your fingertips when you need to answer questions.
Be prepared to take notes. Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.
Don’t get interrupted. Turn off call waiting so your call isn’t interrupted. Put your cellphone on “Do not disturb” so you won’t hear beeps or buzzes from apps, text messages, and so on.
Reschedule if you have to. If the call wasn’t scheduled, and isn’t at a convenient time, ask if you could talk at another time and suggest some alternatives.
Clear the room. Evict the kids and the pets. Turn off the stereo and the TV. Close the door.
Use a landline. If you have a landline, use that instead of your cellphone. That way, you’ll eliminate the possibility of poor reception or dropped calls.
Get Ready For The Call
Before the call, confirm all the details, including the date, time, and who you will be talking to. Be sure you know whether the interviewer is calling you or if you need to make the call.
If something goes wrong and you miss the call, or the recruiter doesn’t call on time, take a deep breath and try to stay calm. You should be able to get the call back on track or reschedule if need be.
Use a quiet, comfortable, and private space with no distractions so you can focus on the interview.
If you’ll be using your cellphone, make sure it’s fully charged, and you are in a spot with good reception for the call. You may also find that standing during an interview helps you sound more energetic during the call.
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Give Me An Example Of : : : : :
This is a standard behavioral interview question. You should answer using a S-T-A-R approach: give the Situation or Task, the Action you took and the Results achieved. Using the S-T-A-R approach to answering is the best way to answer interview questions even if you have not specifically been asked a behavioral question. âLet me give you an exampleâ¦â is a great follow up to reinforce your answer to any interview question.
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The Purpose Of Phone Interviews
Its no secret that people under the age of 35 tend to dislike talking on the phone. So, why do some employers and colleges insist on conducting phone interviews?
It mostly comes down to convenience and necessity. Some employers may end up having far more qualified applicants than they can realistically interview. To narrow down their pool of applicants, theyll use phone interviews to identify the top finalists.
During a phone interview, most employers have the following objectives:
- To confirm the applicants interest in the position.
- To make sure that you have the required skills they need.
- To assess cultural fit.
- To get a better idea of your expectations, especially on salary and benefits.
In college admissions, phone interviews are typically conducted by college representatives and former students. These interviews are slightly lower stakes in that your phone interview likely wont make or break your chances of admission. Still, you should come into the interview with an idea of what college interview questions will be asked and how you want to answer them.
The main objectives of a college interview include:
- To get to know the applicant a little better, beyond their test scores and grades.
- To confirm the applicants interest in the college.
- To discuss the students educational and career goals.
- To answer questions about the college.
Also Check: How To Interview Job Candidates
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!
How Did You Hear About This Position
The best responses to this question will be straight-forward and clear. For example, these are all good answers for how you heard about the job:
- You found them researching online
- You were familiar with them before you started job searching
- You found them in a press release or news article
- A colleague told you about them
- A recruiter contacted you about them
Weve also put a few word-for-word answer examples below, or you can read our complete guide to answering how did you find out about this position?
A colleague recommended your organization to me. I went on your website to learn more and saw this position listed. It seemed like a great fit and a move that could help advance my career, so I was eager to learn more and have an interview.
A recruiter contacted me last week and the position sounded like a great fit for my skills and experience, so I became interested.
Research The Company And The Job Position You Are Applying For:
Write down any questions you may have about either so you can ask during the interview. If there any requirement of the job that you are unsure of, you should definitely ask during the interview. It always looks nice when you go into an interview with intelligent questions. It shows you put effort into preparing for the interview. However, never ask questions just to ask questions. The interviewer will see right through that. Your questions should be genuine and relevant.
Phone Screen Interview At Facebook
Recruiters at Facebook are looking to confirm that you are the right fit for a particular role. Hence, be prepared to explain your background and why youâll be a good fit at Facebook. You should expect typical behavioral questions like:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why Facebook?
- Tell me about your current day-to-day as a developer.
If you get past this first HR phone screen round, the recruiter will help schedule your first technical phone screen with a Facebook engineer.
Note: A great thing about Facebook is that it is very transparent about its recruiting process. Your HR contact will walk you through the remaining steps in the hiring process and share an email with resources you can use to prepare.
Also Check: How To Get An Interview
Get Clear On The Details
This means knowing:
- The time of your phone interview
- Who exactly youll be speaking with and their role
- What number theyll be calling from
- What number theyll be calling you at
- Any other contact information you may need if the call drops
If this wasnt spelled out to you, just ask! Theres nothing wrong with getting some clarity on something that affects both of your schedules .
You can send the following email:
Im excited to speak with you on ! I just wanted to double check what time were chatting at and what number youll be calling from. Please let me know if theres anything else you need from me before our call.
Thanks so much!
Or you can follow up on your previous conversations with:
Just confirming were chatting on at and youll be calling me at /Ill be calling you at ? Let me know if I have that schedule wrong.
Oh, and if you need to reschedule for whatever emergency reason, use this email template and be proactivein other words, dont wait until the last second to cancel if you can help it.
Prepare Your Own Interview Questions
Having a few thoughtful questions to ask at the end of a job interview impresses potential employers and helps you to gather information about the company. The more you know, the easier it will be for you to decide whether you can see yourself working there.
Although you can certainly come up with questions as you go, try to have a list of questions written down that you can fall back on if none come up during the interview.
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The 7 Most Common Phone Interview Questions And Answers
There are two primary types of telephone interviews: impromptu and arranged. An impromptu phone interview is when a company representative calls you either based on a resume submitted or a resume or profile posted. An arranged interview is when you have a set date and time for the phone interview and tends to be more structured. In either case, there is a standard set of interview questions for which you need to be prepared in advance.
The phone interview is typically a screening interview to decide whether itâs worthwhile for the employer to go on to the next steps in the interviewing process. So while the questions may seem high level, they are primarily designed to screen out candidates. Be prepared in advance so that you are not caught off guard. You have only one opportunity to make a great first impression.
Here are the seven most common phone interview questions and answers:
How Much Do You Know About : : : : :
This question can be asked in a variety of formats, but it is essentially a technical question specifically related to the profession. The interviewer is attempting to assess your level of knowledge and understanding about something related to the role. It could be a tool or technology or related to other industry-specific or role-specific knowledge. Be ready to not only answer the question, but also be ready to give a follow-up behavioral example.
You need to be ready for a phone interview at any time. When your mobile phone rings and you donât recognize the phone number, it could be a call from a potential employer. Remember that nearly every employer connection begins with a phone call. If you are not ready at that time to do a phone interview, you can either answer the call and ask to arrange a later time or simply let it ring through to your voicemail. And make sure your outgoing voicemail message is short and professional.
The telephonic interview is typically the first step toward the on-site interview, but in some cases, especially when interviewing for internships while still in college, the employer may make internship offers directly from the phone interview. So be prepared for the questions which may be asked and have your answers ready in advance.
To review more questions you might be asked during your phone interview, take a look at our 100 Common Entry Level Interview Questions.
Recommended Reading: How To Interview For A Recruiter Position
Be Prepared To Ask Thoughtful Questions
Speaking of questions, its important to ask a few questions of your own. Interviews are a two-way street!
Near the end of the phone call, the interviewer will usually ask if you have any questions for them. Be prepared with intelligent questions that cant easily be Googled.
For example, here are a few key questions you might want to ask:
- What does a typical day look like in this role?
- Are there opportunities for advancement or professional development?
- How will my performance be measured?
- Where do you see this company in the next few years?
- Can you tell me a little about the team Ill be working with?
These questions will give you valuable insight into the company. It also shows the hiring team that youre engaged and interested in working for them.
What Exactly Is A Second Interview
First off, lets start with what a second interview really is.
Yes, its what it sounds likea second chance for the hiring manager to take a good look at you and decide if youre a good fitbut its also so much more than just that!
HANG ON! Before we get into this too deeply, we have to issue this brief disclaimer:
Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming!
So what does a second interview mean?
Well, we can tell you it ISNT a guarantee of employment. This isnt the time to get cocky and let everything youve worked so hard on slide.
Not by a long shot.
It IS, however, another opportunity for you to really show them that youre the best person for the jobyou are the perfect candidate!
The first interview was the warm up.
Odds are in your first interview you met with someone from human resources or a hiring manager and was probably more of a broad screening to weed out the last of the unsuitable candidates.
The second is the big leagues which means your second interview will probably be conducted by someone a little higher upor even a LOT higher up.
You can almost guarantee that this interview will be much more in depth and very well might include introductions to other key members within the business including superiors, senior managers, and even possibly fellow teammates.
A second interview is a bit more seriousthink of it as a second dateon steroids.
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The Ultimate Guide: How To Prepare For A Phone Interview
OMG, I got a phone interview!
Oh, no. I have a phone interview
If that was your reaction to scoring a phone interview, then we totally get it. Phone interviews can be nerve-wracking, in part because there is so much that can potentially get lost in translation. Did the interviewer seem satisfied with your answers? Did they smile at your joke, or did you just come across as a total jerk? It can be really difficult to tell one way or the other when youre missing important nonverbal cues such as body language, facial expressions, and hand gestures.
Despite their anxiety-inducing nature, phone interviews arent all bad. After all, you get to have the interview in the comfort of your own home. Plus, you can have useful materials in front of you and jot down notes . But more importantly, scoring a phone interview means that youre one step closer to landing an internship or getting your dream job!
The secret to crushing the call and impressing your hiring manager? Preparation and lots of it. Below, well briefly explain the purpose of phone interviews before diving into the best ways to prepare for the call.