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How To Conduct A Good Phone Interview

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Phone Interview Tip #1: Its Ok If You Need A Little Time To Answerbut Dont Take Forever

How to Conduct a Phone Interview Best Practices
  • Thanks for that question. Give me just a minute to consider it before I share.
  • I have a few ideas on how to answer. Let me take a minute to gather my thoughts.
  • Im not totally clear on what you mean by XYZ. Could you explain it another way?
  • Before I answer, can you confirm youre referring to XYZ?

Tip : Be Prepared For Phone Interviews

Schedule time before each phone interview for the interviewer to review the candidates resume, the job description, and the questions you would like to ask. This provides a buffer to ensure the interviewer on time and prepared, so that each candidate can feel valued and leaves with a positive impression of your organization.

Get Help From A Recruiter

Sometimes, its small hiccups in candidacy that are the hardest for hiring managers to identify. When handling this level of detail, its often smart to turn to recruiting firms. A recruiter understands the nuances of different positions and rapidly changing industries. From their pool of talent, they can pull individuals who are well worth the first phone interview. With the help of a recruiter, you can make sure that first round screening is as efficient as possible so that you have top talent when moving on to in person interviews.

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Start With A Softball To Break The Ice

To get the best interview possible, you need your interviewee to feel comfortable. When a source feels relaxed and at ease, youre in a better place to find the most compelling angle and capture quotes that will enhance your story.

Start the phone interview with general pleasantries and small talk. I find this strategy often helps the source feel more comfortable speaking with me because he recognizes that Im a real person, just like him.

To ease into my list of interview questions, I like to ask this one first: Tell me a little bit about who you are and how you got to where you are today.

This question helps the interviewee open up, gives you some much-needed background information and lays the groundwork for the questions that will come later in the interview. Also, this open-ended question gives you the chance to learn something new that might help the story and trigger other interview questions.

Take It As Seriously As An In Person Interview

6 Steps for a Successful Phone Interview

THIS IS AN INTERVIEW! Treat it like one! That means be ready! Make sure youre well rested. The last thing an interviewer wants to do is feel as though theyre interrupting something else youre doing, or worse, woken you up.

When your interview is first scheduled, make sure you set aside time BEFORE the interview to prep for it.

If its an early morning interview, make sure youre going before the phone rings.

Get up, get moving.

Get your vocal cords warmed up. Brew a cup of coffee or tea and be ready for your day. Brush your teeth!

Speaking of getting up and goingthat means changing out of your jammies too.

But theyre so comfortable!

No. No. No. No.

This is just as much a mental game as a physical game and dressing the part can really help you kick your mind into the right frame to get you the job. If youre slouching around and being lazy, it will come through in your intervieweven if youre trying your hardest to fake it. Trust us, interviewers will know

Dress the partget the part.

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Ask The Right Questions

Whilephone interviews leave room for open-ended conversation, interviewingstrategically can clarify their skills and experience.

Ask about previous roles, even if theyre already listed on their resume. While it sounds like one of the most common phone interview questions, many find it worthwhile. How people describe their skills and experience on a resume is often very different from how they describe it verbally for better or for worse. Resumes are broad and objective, so this question provides insight into their work ethic and ability to evaluate career progress.

Furthermore, ask the tough questions. Have them validate claims from their cover letter and talk about challenges theyve faced. These are the questions that differentiate candidates. If a person can answer gracefully over the phone, then it may be worth it to continue in the interview process.

Listen Actively And Intentionally

While you want the conversation to flow somewhat naturally, an interview isnt a typical back-and-forth conversation. Your main job in the interview is to listen.

A reasonable benchmark as the interviewer is to aim for the 80/20 rule: 80% listening and 20% talking.

Actively listen for the specific qualities and skills you identified as crucial to the role in advance. And listen for potentialyou may discover motivations or hidden nuggets that didnt show up on their resume.

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If You Were Hired How Soon Can You Start

Oh boy. If youre an out of area hire and are required to relocate, this answer is far from a simple one.

First off, dont ever answer with Now! Not only will you come off as desperate, but if youre already employed with another job, youre going to have to do the right thing and give notice.

Its easy to get intimidated and over-commit to an early start datebut the worst thing you can do is give a date to a new employer and then have to ask for more time. Not the right way to start out your long and mutually beneficial working relationship! Then you have to factor in the actual logistics of making a move.

Even one just across town can be as daunting as one across statesor in some cases, countries! Depending on the size of your move you could be looking at anything from a few days to a few months.

Again, be honest!

Many employers, if theyre genuinely interested in hiring you, will have programs in place to help you relocate and ease the burdens that come with a full move.

If they dont, make sure to take that into consideration as well. Words to the wisealways ask for MORE time than you initially think youll need. Trust us, in the long run, its far better to have more time than you need than to run out and have to ask for an extension.

One thing NOT to focus on during an initial phone interview is salaryat least not until youve had a chance to read our article When And How To Discuss Salary During The Job Interview Process.

Why Companies Use Phone Interviews

Interviewer Technique – How not to conduct an interview

Employers use telephone interviews as a way of identifying and recruiting candidates for employment. Phone interviews are often used to screen candidates to narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for in-person interviews. A phone call is a relatively quick, low-effort way to determine whether a candidate is suitable.

They are also used to minimize the expense involved in interviewing out-of-town candidates. For remote positions, a phone interview may be the only option.

Also Check: What To Write After An Interview

Prepare Questions For The Interviewer

As with any job interview, if you ask smart questions about the job’s responsibilities and duties, you sound preparedâand interested. Knowing what you are talking about could land you that crucial in-person interview. Craft a crib sheet about the company, its competition, and the industry in general. Also, end the conversation by inquiring when you might hear back from the companyâthis simple question can negate long, angst-filled waiting times.

How Should The Interviewer Prepare For The Interview

  • Read through candidates’ CVs and make note of key points to elaborate on during the interview.
  • Prepare your interview questions.
  • Be prepared to answer questions that candidates’ may ask about the position and organization.
  • Schedule enough time for the interview and try and stick to the time-limit .
  • Know your company’s goals and culture and be prepared to “sell” it to the candidate.

Also Check: Where To Take Video Interview

Keep Your Resume And Cover Letter In Front Of You

Your interviewer probably is looking at these items on his or her desk as you speak and might refer to certain items on your resume or in your cover letter. Keeping both documents front and center allows you to quickly discuss your career highlights, achievements, work history, schools and colleges attended, and education level with no stumbles in the conversation as you try to remember pertinent points.

Phone Interview Tips That Will Help You Get Hired

How to Conduct a Phone Screen With Sample Questions

While you’re job searching, it’s important to be prepared for a phone interview at a moment’s notice. Many companies start the interview process with a phone call to discuss the job opportunity with a prospective employee, determine whether the candidate is a good fit, and to gauge his or her interest in the position. In some cases, a phone interview may be the only interview you’ll have.

In many cases, your interview will be scheduled in advance by email or phone. In others, you may receive a surprise phone call asking whether you’re available to chat about the job.

You never know when a recruiter or a networking contact might call and ask whether you have a few minutes to talk, so always answer the phone professionally, especially if the number is unfamiliar.

You should also make sure that your voicemail message is professional.

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How To Conduct A Good Phone Interview

Webposted by Stacey McCarthy January 21st, 2020 6:00 am

Time is in short supply these days. Butluckily expertise and a willingness to share are not! During our strategicplanning work at The Letter M weve conducted hundreds of phone interviews withcontacts here and around the world. Im happy to pass on some hard-learnedadvice:

Understand the challenges! Appearance and body language are redundant in phone interviews. Thats good and bad. You have to rely on the full strength of your personality, tone of voice and inflection to speak for you.

Prepare! You dont need to spend hours carefully choosing words and crafting grammatically-sound questions. But you do need a solid understanding of what the point of the discussion is and the importance of an interviewees contributions.

Research! Dont compile a dossier. But a simple LinkedIn or Google search will put a respondents answers in perspective or find some common ground upon which to establish rapport. Also, indicating that youve done research is a sign of respect for their valuable time.

Listen! Its one thing to toss in your own anecdote to establish rapport, but its quite another to turn the interview into one about yourself! Dont work too hard to establish a connection or phone friendship through unnecessary banter.

Let them finish! There is a danger especially over the phone to interrupt. Its bad form in person and its bad form on the phone too.

Ask The Phone Screening Questions

During the phone screening, you will get acquainted with the candidate and then jump into the question portion of the interview. Focus on asking a standard set of questions to every candidate, to avoid bias or unfair evaluations. Conduct the interview in a quiet, professional setting, and give the candidate your full attention. With each question, be sure to listen carefully to the responses and note any red flags.

Avoid asking illegal interview questions regarding topics such as race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, pregnancy or marital status.

Also Check: How To Have A Successful Phone Job Interview

Twenty Five More Great Phone Interview Questions

  • How do you keep track of what you need to dodo you have a system in place?
  • What makes you a strong candidate for this specific position?
  • What sort of oversight and action would a great boss provide for you?
  • What are the first three things you would do if hired?
  • How do you work to continue to develop your professional skills?
  • How would this position get you closer to where you want to be in 5-10 years?
  • What is something youre working on improving professionally?
  • How would pass co-workers and bosses describe you?
  • What one accomplishment are you most proud of?
  • What do you like to do outside of work?
  • What would make you love coming to work here each day?
  • What is your greatest fear about getting this job?
  • Who is your role model and why?
  • What sort of tasks do you not enjoy?
  • What sort of tasks do you enjoy that other people dont?
  • Can you tell me about a skill or experience you have that will make you thrive in this company?
  • If you were paid the salary you asked for and got the job, what offer would make you decide to leave?
  • What motivates you?
  • Tell me about a time you failed to meet a deadline and how you responded to it.
  • Tell me about a time you disagreed with your boss and how you handled it.
  • How did you find out about this opening?
  • What are your goals?
  • How do you get along with your co-workers? Is there anything other co-workers do that you cant stand?
  • What sort of position would be ideal for you?
  • How many hours per week would you expect to work?
  • Additional Considerations For Your Interview Questions

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

    Having explored the questions to focus on and the need for a plan, we also suggest you think about the following:

  • If you are not conducting the phone interviews yourself, make sure the interviewers you use have been trained and that you are using use a small pool of people to conduct the interviews. Consistency in the interview panel will ensure that all candidates are measured in the same fashion.
  • Similarly, whether you are conducting the interviews, or assigning others to do so, seek consistency in the questions being asked as well. Again, the focus here is on being able to measure the candidates in a way that allows for an equal comparison. It starts with a consistent pool of interviewers, it continues with a consistent group of questions.
  • Ideally, the interview is a dialogue between the interviewer and candidate, and while you want to ask the questions you need to ask, you want to be sure you ask the candidates if they have questions for you. Youre responsible for selling them on the position as well and answering their questions will help you do so. It will also give you a chance to learn more about them, for example, whether they are curious, passionate about their work or the work of your organization and whether theyve done their homework.
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    How To Conduct An Effective Job Interview

    The virtual stack of resumes in your inbox is winnowed and certain candidates have passed the phone screen. Next step: in-person interviews. How should you use the relatively brief time to get to know and assess a near stranger? How many people at your firm should be involved? How can you tell if a candidate will be a good fit? And finally, should you really ask questions like: Whats your greatest weakness?

    What the Experts Say As the employment market improves and candidates have more options, hiring the right person for the job has become increasingly difficult. Pipelines are depleted and more companies are competing for top talent, says Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a senior adviser at global executive search firm Egon Zehnder and author of Its Not the How or the What but the Who: Succeed by Surrounding Yourself with the Best. Applicants also have more information about each companys selection process than ever before. Career websites like Glassdoor have taken the mystique and mystery out of interviews, says John Sullivan, an HR expert, professor of management at San Francisco State University, and author of 1000 Ways to Recruit Top Talent. If your organizations interview process turns candidates off, they will roll their eyes and find other opportunities, he warns. Your job is to assess candidates but also to convince the best ones to stay. Heres how to make the interview process work for you and for them.

    Further Reading


    Tip : Be Flexible With Scheduling The Phone Interview

    When scheduling interviews, its best to ask the candidate for their availability first, and work around it. This could mean being available during the lunch hour, or outside of normal business hours. Your candidates are just as busy as you areif not more, because theyre juggling their current job with the job seeking process. Make it easy for them to schedule a time to chat.

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    Why Are You Interested In The Position

    Although candidates are interested in your company because they need to eat, there are lots of places they can go to get a job so that they can eat. It is important to understand why a candidate is choosing to apply to your position versus the alternatives. If they have a good reason, its likely they will be a good, reliable employee. If they applied on a whim because they stumbled across your job posting, they may still be a good employee but might not be dedicated or in it for the long haul, they might be more into the job for the paycheck.

    How To Conduct A Phone Interview: 5 Tips

    Telephone Interview

    As more businesses shift to a remote workforce and generally look for efficient ways to recruit top talent, in-person interviews have become less commonplace. If this is new for your organization, youll want to understand how to conduct a phone interview that gives you clear insight into whether a given candidate is the right fit.

    It can be challenging as a hiring manager or recruiter to get the same results over the phone, which conceal important cues such as body language and interaction with others in the office. However, if done right, phone interviews can still reveal much more about a candidate than you already gleaned from their resume or social media profile.

    The following five tips for helping employers learn how to conduct a phone interview that will net positive results are covered in greater detail below:

  • Schedule phone interviews on the same day.
  • Engage candidates in a conversation.
  • Ask focused phone interview questions.
  • Apply in-person interview strategies on the phone.
  • Dont multitask during the interview.
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