Your Gut Feeling Tells You It Didnt Go Well
Many things happen during a phone call, and it is impossible to quantify all of them. A short break an interviewers made at some point, a strange question they asked you, some remark they made in the middle of the call, the number of questions they asked you, and so on, and so forth.
If we managed to put all these pieces together, we would get a good idea of how went or badly your phone interview went. But its not possible to describe it with words, at least not exactly. Some things cant be describedwe just feel them.
What is your intuition telling you? Do you feel that you gave them good answers? Did their reactions, both verbal and non-verbal, indicate that they were satisfied with your words? What was the overall atmosphere of the call?
Sometimes we prefer to not rely on our intuition, because it tells us things we do not want to hear. But if you feel deep inside that the interview did not go particularly well, and that you likely failed it, more often than not you will be right
What To Expect In A Phone Interview
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:
Get Prepared For Your Phone Interview
Even though you are not meeting in person, it can still be crucial to get prepared for the phone interview as you would an in-person interview. Research the company you applied to ahead of time, practice how you will greet the interviewer and how you will answer the interviewer’s questions, and keep your resume nearby during your interview for quick reference. Also, it’s a good idea to write down their name in your notes to keep as a reference throughout your interview.
Additionally, write down some questions that you plan to ask the interviewer during the phone call. For instance, write down any questions you have about job duties, required credentials or any other information you would like to know more about.
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Research Common Interview Questions
Dont forget to prepare for questions you might be asked during your phone interview. Start by reaching out to people in your network who have worked or interviewed with the company in the past and ask them about potential interview questions.
If you dont know anyone with connections to the company, dont sweat it. There are other ways to get the inside scoop on the interview process. For instance, Glassdoor has interview questions and reviews that can give you a better idea of what will be asked in your interview.
If youre interviewing for internships, you need to be prepared for a different set of questions. Be sure to check out our list of common internship interview questions and know how to answer them.
Apply Good Phone Etiquette
Show the interviewer that you appreciate his interest by practicing good phone etiquette. Don’t place the interviewer on hold while you answer another call. If possible, temporarily disable the call waiting service during the call so you won’t hear the notification tones. Wait your turn to speak and avoid talking over the interviewer, interrupting him or answering his questions before he finishes asking them. These behaviors can make you seem rude and inattentive.
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What Other Jobs Have You Been Interviewing For
Heres why employers ask this: They want to make sure their job fits the general theme of what youre looking for.
Your answer is only going to worry them or raise a red flag if all the other jobs youre applying for are WAY different than this job.
So to give a great answer here, show the employer that their job fits the overall theme of other jobs youre looking at.
And if they do ask for company names, you can refuse by saying, Id like to keep the names of the other companies confidential. Id do the same for your company if another interviewer asked me.
See examples below or read our guide to answers for what other companies are you interviewing with?
Ive been applying and interviewing at small and mid-sized banks and financial firms like yours. I spent the first 4 years of my career with Bank of America, so Im hoping to experience a smaller work environment now to round-out my skill set. Id like to keep the names of the other companies confidential, though. Id do the same for your company if another employer were to ask 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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Tell Me About A Time You Went Above And Beyond What Was Expected Of You
This is another of the most commonly-asked phone interview questions. Youll hear this often in customer service phone interviews but also in other industries.
To prepare for this question, think back to your two most recent jobs and come up with a scenario where you were presented with a task that was outside of your typical work duties.
When you talk about a time you went above and beyond at work, always highlight a story with a positive outcome like a happy customer, a problem solved for your company, etc.
And just like with the previous question, keep your answer length to one or two minutes and tell a clear story from start to finish.
Think about the job youre interviewing for, too, and pick an example that theyll find relevant. In any phone interview, you should focus on demonstrating that your background will allow you to step into this employers job and be successful with whatever they need.
Its not just about showing hiring managers that youre skilled or hard-working you need to show them youre a good fit for their exact role.
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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Top 20 Phone Interview Questions And Best Answers
Are you prepared for a phone interview? What will the interviewer ask you? Before you interview in person with a hiring manager, you may be asked to take part in a brief phone screen interview.
If you’re interviewing for a freelance or remote position or for any job with a virtual hiring process, you may have a longer and more in-depth interview. In these cases, a telephone interview may be the only actual interview you’ll have.
Be Ready For The Small Talk
Getting the small talk right can have big consequences. Its a way for people to build rapport and affinity, and start to generate that elusive, intangible quality of chemistry that characterises all effective business relationships.
So as part of your interview preparation, its a good idea to think ahead to some likely topics that might come up, so as to help keep the conversation flowing smoothly. The key is to come up with topics where you have a shared interest, so that youre able to both ask and answer credible questions.
For example, if you see a picture of your interviewers family, perhaps you could ask about them and be ready with a family anecdote of your own. Or if youre a sports fan and you spot signs that your interviewer is too, perhaps you could ask a suitable question that youve also got an interesting answer to .
Think, too, about topical themes. For example, has your potential employer been in the news recently? Or could you ask about the potential impact on the company of a recent development, such as Brexit or falling share prices or a serious malware attack? In each case, make sure you have an interesting thought of your own to contribute too.
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Ask Questions That Will Give You Real Insight
Once you’ve painted that picture of your ideal hire and listed out exactly what you’re looking for, you should be able to ask very targeted questions to uncover whether or not the candidate meets your criteria. Skip the generic interview questions that don’t give you much insight and leverage every minute of your interview time to get to the heart of what you’re looking for
Talking To A Recruiter Heres What You Should Know About That Phone Call
If your phone interview is actually with a recruiter who found you via LinkedIn or another source, thats awesome! Youll want to keep several things in mind.
First off, this is still an interview. It shouldnt be a formal conversation , but you should still do your research, practice some responses, and prepare your own questions. And youll want to express enthusiasm for the opportunity and speaking with themeven if youre not actually all that interested in the role .
As Muse writer and career coach Jenny Foss points out, you have the upper hand because the recruiter is rooting for you to succeed. So use that to ask for their help and suggestions in moving on to the next round and express clearly your intentions for the role, like your salary demands and ideal set of responsibilities.
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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.
How To Start A Phone Interview
Employers commonly use phone interviews as a way to screen job candidates to find out if they meet the job requirements. This method can be beneficial for finding and inviting only qualified candidates to attend additional in-person interviews. If you are anticipating a phone interview, the way you answer the call and start your conversation can impact the interview’s overall success. In this article, we discuss effective ways to answer the call and begin a phone interview, along with tips to start the conversation and increase your phone interview success.
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Have Your Job Materials Nearby
You should feel comfortable and ready to discuss your background and skills confidently during a phone conversation. Have a copy of your resume nearby, so that you can refer to it during the interview. Also have a copy of the job posting and a copy of your cover letter if you sent one.
Consider creating a draft email or a new Word or Google file with all of the relevant information. That way, you’ll have all the detailsnotes on the company, key points you want to emphasize during the interview, your cover letter, the job posting, and so onin one spot.
Listen And Dont Dominate The Conversation
Yes, this is an interview which means theyre going to be asking you questions, but its also an opportunity to show your potential employer that youre good at listening too.
Talk, but dont dominate the conversation. Let the interviewer guide the conversation.
Answer the questions, but dont turn it into a one sided monologue. This is as much about you getting to know them as it is about them getting to know you.
Keep a pencil and paper nearby so you can jot down questions and notes and save them for the end.
Ask a few follow up questions but dont flip the interview onto the interviewer. It helps to reinforce to the interviewer that youre truly interested in the company and the job and that youve paid attention during the interview.
Have a copy of your resume with you so you can reference it at any time. Keep your answers honest, thoughtful and reflective.
Make sure you breathe and speak clearly.
Most importantly, smile! Sure, they might not be able to see it, but your tone of voice will reflect it.
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Answer The Phone Call Personally
After scheduling your phone interview, it is important that you are prepared to answer the call yourself. For instance, let your family members or roommates know that you are anticipating a phone call to interview for a job. This ensures that everyone is aware of the importance of being away from the phone when the call comes.
Consider Possible Interview Questions
Research common interview questions so you know what you might be expected to answer. Many interview questions fall into the same categoriesadaptability, leadership, collaboration, culture fit, prioritization and development. Determining the questions they might ask can help you gain confidence since youll know what to expect. Reviewing highly anticipated questions will ease any nerves going into the interview.
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Tell Me About Your Most Recent Job What Were You Responsible For Each Day
With this interview question, be ready to respond with specific accomplishments and details of what you did.
What did you learn? Which specific tools and technologies did you work with? What results did you help your company or group achieve?
Try to prepare specific details to talk about before your interview. You ideally want to be able to share results you achieved and how you helped your company make money, save money, save time, etc.
Also, you want your examples to be relevant to THEIR needs. So prepare by studying the job description, and then mention things that will be relevant for this particular job!
Example phone interview answer:
One of the biggest areas I was responsible for in my last job was to ensure our website had as close to 100% up-time as possible. I achieved the best result in our companys 29-year history last year by making some key changes and optimizations immediately after being hired. I saw on your job description that you seem to be looking for someone who can do similar work for you. Your company is in a similar stage to my last employer when they hired me in terms of size and growth. So its something I could help with immediately in this role.