How To Prepare For A Phone Interview
Just like any in-person interview, you need to do your research before you speak with the interviewer. Read everything you can about the company and the interviewer. You can expect to be asked what you know about the company, so have a response ready. Be prepared to discuss key figures and target markets.
The greatest thing about a phone interview is you can keep your notes in front of you. Jot down some key points about the company that you want to call out in your interview. Prepare a list of responses to popular interview questions and highlight your key accomplishments to showcase during the call.
You also need to prepare some questions for the interviewer. Make sure your questions relate to the position and demonstrate that you are perfect for the opening. Keep that list in front of you, so you’re ready when the interviewer asks.
Questions to Ask the Interviewer in a Phone Interview
- Have I answered all your questions, or is there something youd like me to clarify?
- What new skills can I hope to learn at ?
- What is the next step in your hiring process?
- Who would I be working closest with, or reporting to, on a daily basis?
- Beyond some of the hard skills weve discussed, which soft skills would be most helpful in this position?
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.
How To Conduct A Phone Interview: 5 Tips
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:
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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.
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.
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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.
Phone Interview Tip #1: Its Ok If You Need A Little Time To Answerbut Dont Take Forever
- 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?
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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.
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?
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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.
What Type Of Management Style Do You Prefer
Employers may ask about your ideal management style to see whether or not you would fit well with the supervisor that will be managing you. For example, if you prefer to work with a trusting, collaborative manager that creates a calm, creative working environment, you might not work well with more fast-paced, aggressive leadership styles.
Example answer:While Im flexible in working with many different personality types, Ive found that the management style I thrive most under is both trusting and involved. While I dont like to feel micromanaged, I do very much enjoy quality one-on-one time on a regular basis to brainstorm ideas for the projects Im working on and how I can do better in my role.
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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
Ask If They Have Any Questions For You
An often overlooked, but very key part of running a good interview, is giving the interviewee the opportunity to ask you questions. Not only is this a polite gesture, but knowing what types of questions they ask will actually give you an incredible amount of insight.
The topics they choose to ask about will reveal their priorities, their concerns, and their level of knowledge. For example, if the first question they ask you is, “What is the company culture like?” you know that this is a big factor in their choice of the company they’d like to work for. If they ask about how your team uses social media for lead generation, you can reasonably infer that they are curious to hear more details about how your team operates and executes, which shows that they’ve already begun to give it some thought.
Often the level of specificity they use when asking questions is a good indicator of their knowledge of the topic.
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First Phone Interview Tip: Plan For It
As you would for any business conversation, you want to practice good etiquette when scheduling and conducting a phone screen interview. Respect the interviewees time by keeping to the schedule. Respect their availability for the phone call, too. If a candidate has a job, even if theyre working from home, they may not be able to talk until after business hours.
Approach every conversation with a blank slate, and treat each candidate fairly and equally. Remain fully engaged during every call. All that can be easier said than done: When you conduct one phone screen interview after another, its easy to race through the questions you ask each person. If that sounds like you, refrain from stacking up the calls back-to-back. And set aside a time and if youre not at your office a location where you can conduct the screening interview free of noise or other distractions.
Remember, youre engaging with an external audience. A professional, thoughtful screening interview will burnish your business reputation a hurried process and a gruff manner wont reflect well on you or your firm. Keep in mind that your top candidates are evaluating you as closely as you are them. Some might decline an invitation to a formal interview if theyre at all uncomfortable during this initial contact.
How To Conduct A Phone Interview
Conducting phone interviews can save a company time and money by using them to screen candidates before inviting them for an in-person interview. A phone interview allows you to confirm basic requirements, give the applicant more information on the position and get to know them a little before a serious job interview. In this article, we discuss the importance of phone interviewing, steps for how to conduct a phone interview well, tips and sample questions.
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Follow Up If You Dont Hear Back
If you dont hear from the hiring manager in a week or so, dont hesitate to follow up to see where they are in the process. They may still be conducting interviews and thus have no updates for you, but checking in keeps you top of mind when they go to narrow down candidates.
It could look something like this:
I hope all is well! It was really nice speaking with you last week.
I just wanted to follow up and see where you were in the hiring process for the sales development representative role. Im still very interested in and excited about this opportunity, so please let me know if theres anything else you need from me to help in making your decision.
Resist The Urge To Multitask
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. âMy number one pet peeve is people who decide to multitask while on the phone interview,â says Dan Krupansky, Talent Acquisition Manager at PrimePay. âI 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.â Needless to say, this doesnât reflect well on your level of interest in the position youâre interviewing for.
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Tips To Conducting An Effective Phone Interview
Hiring new employees can be a lengthy and challenging process, especially if you have a large volume of applicants to consider. To screen job seekers more efficiently and identify which candidates should move on to the next step in the process, you may want to consider starting with a round of phone interviews.
Here are several tips to help you develop an effective phone interview practice and streamline your hiring process.
Whats The Difference Between Someone Who Passes A Telephone Interview And Someone Who Fails
In a nutshell, preparation! You see, most candidates do little or no preparation for phone interview questions, simply because they dont take it seriously enough. Although it is not a face-to-face interview, you should still take it very seriously and prepare your answers properly! There is also nothing to stop you from having notes with you during the telephone interview, which is even more reason to download a copy of our questions and answers direct from this page!
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Clear Your Mind Of Bias
The purpose of the phone screen interview is to determine whether a candidate deserves an interview. Bias can diminish its effectiveness. If you were impressed by a candidates resume and youre already determined to bring them in for an interview, the call is obsolete. Conversely, if you dont like this candidate because of their cover letter or resume, youre likely to deny them the opportunity anyway. Avoid the risk of making a bad decision by being objective.
What Is A Phone Interview Or Screen
In a phone screen meeting, an employer interviews potential employees who appear qualified for the advertised job after the resume and cover letter are reviewed. These meetings, by phone, are conducted by one person, usually the hiring manager or a Human Resources staff member, who ask the same basic questions of each candidate they call.
You ask each candidate the same basic questions during a phone screen to give you a basis for comparison of the skills and responses of each person. It is also likely that during your phone interview, your candidate’s responses may lead you to ask additional different follow-on questions. This is fine as long as you ask the same list basic of questions to avoid any possibility of unconscious bias or any possibility of discrimination.
The phone screen allows the employer to determine if the candidate’s qualifications, experience, workplace preferences, cultural fit, and salary needs are congruent with the position and the organization. The phone screen saves managerial time and eliminates unlikely candidates.
While developing a set of customized phone screen questions for each position you are attempting to fill is the recommended approach, use these phone screen best practices to guide you.
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Be An Active Listener
Be attentive, ask insightful questions and engage with the recruiter. This will show that youre taking the interview seriously and that you genuinely care about what they have to say. Practicing with friends or family could be greatly beneficial. Make sure youre listening to every word, and follow-up with questions that show you were actively listening to what they were saying.
Look Over The Job Description
Understanding what the employer is looking for in an employee and what your responsibilities will be can help you tailor your answers to various interview questions. If theyre looking for an employee with certain design software skills and who has experience creating graphics for B2B companies, youll want to mention this during your interview.
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