Monday, December 4, 2023

How To Have A Successful Phone Interview

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Consider What You Wear

How To Do A Phone Interview Successfully – Phone Interview Tips

Even if its a phone interview and your interviewer wont see what you look like, that doesnt mean your yoga pants are the best way to go. The cliché adage can be true: dress for success. Dress in a way that will make you feel your best and feel like a professional.

Maybe that means you need to put on slacks and nice blouse as you would for an in-person interview. Or maybe you can put on jeans and still feel good. Whatever the case, be cognizant that what you wear can affect the confidence you portray on the phone.

Update Your Linkedin Profile

If youre a LinkedIn user, make sure your profile is up to date and matching the info on your resume . This is likely the first place interviewers will seek information on the web from outside of the Teach Away site.

Having a complete LinkedIn profile with projects and recommendations can be a powerful tool during your interview. If the interviewer has web access, you can guide them straight to your projects and references on LinkedIn as part of your answer.

How To Prepare For A Phone Interview

Whether youre trying to launch a career, land an internship, or get into your dream school, first impressions are everything. To get an offer letter, youll need to dazzle the interviewer and showcase yourself in the right light.

Before you hop on the phone, check out these pre-interview tips to make sure that youre prepared and ready to impress.

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How Should I Conclude The Phone Interview

The best way to conclude a phone interview is with some level of transparency. If the applicant is worthy of moving forward to the next round, let them know someone will be contacting them to schedule a follow-up. Should they not be deemed a good fit for the position, let them know why or tell them that you have other candidates who are a closer match. When you have mixed feelings and need some time to think about it, let your applicant know a definitive time frame when you will get back to them with an update. Interviewing is a two-way street. Do not assume an applicant is going to wait for your response and not continue interviewing elsewhere.

Additional Tips For Phone Interview Success

How To: Have a Successful Phone Interview
  • Make your answers detailed, but brief. The interview should be a 50/50 exchange.
  • Smile on the phone. While the interviewer cant actually see you, smiling on the phone will make you sound warmer and friendlier.
  • Keep your phone fully charged.
  • Do not chew gum during the interview.
  • Use headphones. It reduces background noise and will help the interviewer hear you better.
  • Have a bottle of water nearby in case you need to clear your throat.

Recommended Reading: Preparing For System Design Interview

Phone Interview Questions To Avoid

Bad phone interview questions can create a poor candidate experience, waste hours of time, and potentially have legal implications. With such a serious downside, its worth spending time to learn how to avoid these potentially damaging interview questions.

Questions that ask for personal information

You must avoid asking questions that are related to the candidates age, marital status, religion, ethnicity, citizenship, disability status, sexual orientation, plans to conceive, etc. In addition, you should avoid sharing any of this information about yourself. Doing so may make the candidate feel uncomfortable and could also open you or your company up to legal action.

Questions asked for the sake of passing time

While this is rarely intentional, and typically happens due to a lack of preparation, its important not to ask questions just for the sake of asking questions. It can be tempting to go online and Google interview questions to ask candidates and then incorporate those questions into your phone interview. However, think about each question and what significance it plays in the interview process. There are enough quality interview questions out there to fill a 30-minute time slot.

Related Blog: Read our article on the worst interview questions to ask candidates

Phone Interview Tip #: Understand Who’s Calling

Some Phone Interview Questions You Might Get:

  • Tell me a little bit about your work history.
  • Why are you looking to leave your current company?
  • What is the biggest challenge you have seen at your current position and how did you overcome it?
  • Describe a substantial win in your last position.
  • What was your favorite/least favorite element of your last position?
  • How can you contribute to our companys success?
  • How well do you work by yourself, with a team?
  • Why are you interested in coming to work for us?
  • Why are you attracted to this specific position?
  • What makes you the ideal candidate for this position?
  • When can you come in for a face-to-face interview?
  • Are you willing to relocate? If we don’t provide relocation assistance, are you still willing?
  • What are your salary requirements?
  • How far along are you in your search? Are you speaking to other companies?
  • Tell me about in your resume.
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What questions do you have for me?

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What To Expect During A Phone Interview

There are a few occasions when an interview happens over the phone. Many companies use a phone screen with a recruiter as the initial step in the hiring process. This is a critically important part of your job search. The recruiter will ask you about your background, skills and experience to see if its well-aligned with the open position. They may also be screening to see if you would be a good culture fit for the company. If all goes well, the recruiter will move you onto the next stage. But if they come away with a poor or incomplete impression of you, things are unlikely to progress.

The next stage of the interview process is also typically conducted over the phone. In this phase, you will likely speak with the hiring manager or another individual on the team thats hiring. This interview is usually more in-depth than the phone screen as the interviewer has a deeper knowledge of the open role and what qualifications would make someone successful in it.

Both of these interviews usually last around 30 minutes. Consider phone interviews your opportunity to sum up whats most attractive to you about the job and the company, as well as the skills and qualifications you bring to the table.

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  • Why are you applying for this position?

  • Why do you want this job?

  • Tell me what you know about the role

  • Why do you want to work here?

  • Why are you looking for jobs?

  • What are you passionate about?

  • What are your salary expectations?

  • Are you interviewing with other companies?

The Dos And Donts Of Phone Interviewing

How to Have a Successful Phone Interview
  • 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

Read Also: System Design Interview Prep

Is A Phone Interview A Good Thing

Partner at Systems Research Inc.

Is the phone interview a good thing?

You finally get a response. After sending seemingly hundreds of resumes and hearing nothing, you finally receive a voicemail message from a corporate recruiter wanting to schedule a phone interview with you. Time for celebration, right?

Not so fast.

The phone interview is merely another hurdle that candidates are asked to clear before finally getting a real chance at landing their dream job. Understand what it is from the companys perspective an opportunity to find a reason not to bring you in for a face to face interview.

You should always push for a face to face interview instead.

So how can you get around it?

Immediately offer a time when you are available to meet in person, something like, You know, I have some flexibility to come out to meet in person, if that works for you. Is there a day that is better for you?

You will be surprised at how often you are able to schedule something. You will still usually get asked a few token questions, but you should not have to go through the full blown phone interview.

A candidates ultimate goal is to get hired at a great company as quickly as possible, right? I am confident in telling you that you will not get hired from a phone interview. . So, wouldnt you be better off starting with an in-person meeting?

Tell Me About Yourself/tell Me About Your Background

Recruiters and hiring managers will likely start a phone interview by asking about your background. This is a simple way for them to learn more about you. You should use this time to explain your relevant experience, what youre currently doing and why that makes you qualified. While you can include a few personal details that allow the employer to understand how you lead a well-balanced life, you should focus on professional qualifications and accomplishments.

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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.

Skip The Money Conversation

Get Some Great Phone Interview Tips

To put it bluntly, itâs simply too early in the process for you to be the one who brings up salary expectations. âChances are if a candidate is participating in a phone interview, this is the first time they have talked with the company, and the first call isn’t the appropriate time to talk about âwhat’s in it for you,ââ says Justina Strnad, the Talent Acquisition Manager for Shiftgig. âTrust me, if you are a great candidate and make it to next steps, the hiring team is going to be very transparent about what’s in it for you later on!â

Recommended Reading: Questions To Ask A Cfo

Whats Your Greatest Weakness

When it comes to tricky questions, this one takes the cake. Hiring managers want to know that youll be honest and that you are self-aware. Plus, this phone interview question lets them screen out inauthentic candidates who try to masquerade a strength as a weakness.

You want to be genuine when answering, so dont be afraid to discuss a potential shortcoming. However, also talk about how you work to overcome it. By doing so, you can admit your flaws but also your dedication to self-improvement.


When I first join a team, I have a tendency to be a bit formal. While I enjoy meeting new people, I need a little time to acclimate and form bonds with my colleagues. Usually, I work to overcome this by engaging others and learning more about them as soon as the opportunities arise. This ensures that I dont come across as standoffish, increasing the speed at which I fully integrate with the team.

Preparing For A Phone Interview

Usually, during phone interviews, employers are seeking general, high-level information about you and your background to see if they should advance you to the next step in the hiring process. You should be prepared to talk about why youre looking for a job, why youre interested in this specific job and company, and your background.

Each employer has a different set of questions for phone interviews, but there are several commonly asked questions. Below are several phone interview example questions and answers you can use as inspiration when preparing for your interview.

Image description

  • Why are you applying for this position?

  • Why do you want this job?

  • Tell me what you know about the role

  • Why do you want to work here?

  • Why are you looking for jobs?

  • What are you passionate about?

  • What are your salary expectations?

  • Are you interviewing with other companies?

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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.

Listen Attentively To The Interviewer

Successful Phone Interview Tips

As you get into the conversation, listen attentively to the interviewer as they explain the job details and ask you questions. Avoid interrupting the interviewer when they are speaking, and if you think of something you want to say, write it down for further discussion when it is your turn to speak. Additionally, practicing active listening can ensure you avoid miscommunications or a misunderstanding of something the interviewer discusses with you.

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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.

Never Talk Over The Interviewer

You might be eager to get your point across or talk about your experience, but interrupting the interviewer is awkward and rude when youâre speaking on the phone, even more so than in face-to-face interviews. âInterviewing can be stressful and sometimes that stress manifests itself in speaking too fast, speaking too loud, talking over the interviewer, or attempting to answer the interviewer’s question before they have actually finished asking the question,â says Taylor. âDon’t do this.â Thereâs a big difference between being assertive and being aggressive, and interviewers can always recognize it.

Also Check: Prepare For System Design Interview

Research The Company And Show What You Know

Do your homework and research the employer and the industry, so you are ready for the interview question, “What do you know about this company?” If this question is not asked, you should try to demonstrate what you know about the company on your own.

You can do this by tying what youve learned about the company into your responses. For example, you might say:

I noticed that when you implemented a new software system last year, your customer satisfaction ratings improved dramatically. I am well-versed in the latest technologies from my experience with developing software at ABC, and appreciate a company who strives to be a leader in its industry.

You should be able to find out a lot of information about the companys history, mission and values, staff, culture, and recent successes on its website. If the company has a blog and a social media presence, they can be useful places to look, too.

First Phone Interview Tip: Plan For It

How To Have A Successful Phone Interview If You

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.

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