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How To Prepare For A Phone Job Interview

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How to Prepare for a Phone Job Interview

Tech Interview Prep by Ian Douglas.

Whether the phone screen is someone from HR or a technical manager, the interviewer is going to be looking for potential problems in your answers with regard to questions they ask. Was the candidate able to communicate the idea effectively with their audience in mind? For example, can you explain something technical in non-technical terms to a non-technical HR interviewer.

Practice With A Mock Interview

Are your interview skills a little rusty? Participating in mock interviews is a great way to rehearse your answers and work out some of the kinks in your interview strategy before the call.

Stop by your schools career center and ask if they offer phone mock interviews. Just be aware that they may record the phone call so you can listen to yourself afterwards. Although this may sound torturous, listening to yourself speak can be extremely effective at helping reduce those dreaded ums and uhs on a phone call.

If youre not affiliated with a school, consider reaching out to a former boss, coworker, or mentor and asking if you could run your job experiences by them. This is a low-pressure way to practice your interview skills plus, its an excellent opportunity to get back in touch.

Choose An Interview Space

Use a quiet, comfortable, and private space. If youre at home, kick out kids, spouses, significant others, parents, pets and anyone else who is in the house and close the door.

Have your resume in clear view taped to the wall or on your desk. Also, have a short list of your qualifications and skills specific to the job youre interviewing for close at hand. A cheat sheet will help you respond to related questions without fumbling for words.

Have a pad and pen ready to jot down notes. Turn call waiting off on your phone and be sure to use a landline, not a cell phone, whenever possible. You dont want to have to worry about dropped calls.

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What Is A Phone Interview

A phone interview, or phone screening, is an interviewing process that recruiters sometimes use as a way to evaluate a candidate’s fit for the job. Success in a phone interview often leads to an in-person interview, and hiring managers may use a phone screening to eliminate unqualified candidates.

Typically, phone interviews are scheduled calls from the interviewer, but sometimes candidates are required to initiate the phone interview by calling the recruiter at a predetermined date and time. For instance, candidates may be expected to call a specific office number to initiate the interview if it involves a group interview with several managers, or if the interview takes place within a conferencing platform.

Other times, interviewers are the ones to initiate the call from their office phones, typically due to the convenience of scheduling interviews during working hours.

Why Companies Use Phone Interviews

How to prepare for a telephone 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.

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Prepare Questions You Want To Ask

Interviewers want to know youre interested in the position youre applying for. Display your interest by asking insightful questions at the end of the interview. Some questions you could ask include:

  • What will my daily responsibilities include?

  • What is the workplace environment like?

  • What is your favorite part of working for the company?

Read more: 17 Best Questions to Ask Your Interviwer

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.

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Find A Quiet Environment

Find a quiet space where youll be able to hear the interviewer loud and clear. This will make sure you listen to everything they have to say and that you get all of the information you need.Turn off the television or music, and close the door to the space youre using for your interview. Remove any background noise and interview in a quiet space to demonstrate your professional courtesy and let your interviewer know youre taking this job interview seriously.

Why Do Employers Use Phone Interviews

How to Prepare for a Phone Interview

Employers use phone interviews because it enables them to identify and recruit the right candidates for an open position. Furthermore, phone interviews help to:

  • Screen candidates

  • Help recruiters narrow down a pool of applications

  • Minimize the cost incurred by facilitating the movement of out-of-town candidates

  • Provides a method for interviewing for remote positions

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Listen Attentively To The Interviewer

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.

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.

Phone interviews are conducted just like in-person interviews. They are used by hiring managers and recruiters as a tool for screening candidates for employment.

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How To Start And Answer A Phone Interview

Answer the phone in a positive and upbeat voice. Dont answer with just hello but state your full name, so the interviewer knows immediately that they are speaking to the right person. Keep the phone away from your three-year-old, so they don’t accidentally answer the phone for you.

It might be easy to get comfortable if you are taking the call at home, but you need to remain professional. Sit up straight or even stand, as this will be reflected in your tone. Let the interviewer speak first, they will probably state the reason for the phone interview and a little bit about the position before diving into the interview. It might be challenging during a phone interview, but you cannot interrupt the interviewer.

Wait until theyve finished speaking to reply, you can even wait a few seconds to collect your thoughts before you answer. Always take notes as the interviewer is talking so you can refer back before you respond if you need to.

Do You Have Any Questions For Me

How to Prepare for A Phone Interview in 2021

The recruiters perspective: The worst answer you can give to this question is, No, you pretty much answered everything. You need to ask at least one question. Remember, interviewing is a two-way street.

The answer: Its important to have a few questions you can ask anyone.

  • How would you describe the company culture?
  • What changes has the company made since going remote?
  • If I were to take this role, what are three things youd want me to accomplish?

Depending on whom youre speaking to, you can ask at least one, if not two, questions that havent been answered already during your conversation.

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Walk Me Through Your Resume

The recruiters perspective: This is a simple way for the recruiter to learn more about you and to see what you think is most important about your experience.

The answer: You should use this time to explain your relevant experience and the skills that make you qualified for this role. Id recommend structuring your answer in three parts. The first part is a summary of your experience: Im an account manager with 10 years of experience in the software industry. Then give them a brief overview of how your career developed so you can talk them through your resume. I wouldnt repeat line by line whats on there, but Id focus on what youve learned and achieved in past roles. At the end, tell them why youre interested in that position.

How To Prepare For The Phone Interview

If you think you can prepare for your phone interview a few minutes before the call, think again.

As a former talent recruiter and current VP of people for M1 Finance, Maria Selvaggio can always tell when a candidate is winging it. Their answers wont be as concise and they will often trip up on questions about the company.

You can tell when someone is prepared, Selvaggio said. They know a little bit about what you do as a company, theyve got three questions prepared and theyre able to communicate .

Most phone interviews cover three topics your background, your achievements and challenges, and what you can bring to the company. Before your interview, you should review the job description and come up with examples from your own career for each requirement bulleted, said Margaret Buj, who works as an independent interview coach, as well as a tech talent recruiter for Typeform.

You can tell when someone is prepared. They know a little bit about what you do as a company, theyve got three questions prepared and theyre able to communicate .

She also suggests having a story for every item on your resume. The interviewer doesnt need you to repeat it line by line, but having stories ready can add more context to your accomplishments.

But perhaps the most important thing you can do to prepare for your phone interview is practice. Type out your answers and then rehearse them in front of the mirror or with your family and friends, Selvaggio said.

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When Can You Start

The recruiters perspective: I’m looking for the truth. Generally, people will say they can start after their two-week notice, but this is also the time to let the recruiter or hiring manager know that you have a three-week vacation at the end of the month that will affect your start date. My job is to figure out what your timeline looks like and determine whether that syncs with our timeline.

The answer: Theres no wrong way to answer it, but sometimes the timelines dont match up. For example, a college student might say they cant start until they graduate in June and the role is open for March. In those cases, we may have to say, Well keep you in mind for the future.

If you are flexible, tell the recruiter that up front, I can be as flexible as you need me to be, but I dont think that I can start until June. Then we can come back and try to make the timelines work. But if were ready to give you an offer and all of a sudden you tell us you have a three-month-long vacation and you cant start yet its a waste of everybodys time.

What Type Of Work Environment Do You Prefer

How to Prepare for a Job Interview

Employers want to make sure that your personality is a fit for their work environment. This is different than determining if your skills are a fit for their job.

So after some of the competency-based questions in the interview, theyll likely ask about how you prefer to work, types of companies/environments youve enjoyed in the past, etc.

To answer, you can either describe an environment that you feel is similar to theirs, or demonstrate that you can work well in a variety of environments.

For more help with this, read our guide to answering what type of work environment do you prefer?

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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.

Set A Friendly Voicemail Message

Ideally youll actually pick up the phone when the interviewer calls. But in case you cant for whatever reason, youll want to make the best impression you can offlineand this means setting up a professional voicemail message.

Try something like: Hi, youve reached . Im sorry I missed your call. Please leave me a detailed message and Ill return your message as soon as possible. Thanks!

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What Are Phone Screening Interview Questions

Phone screening interview questions are how hiring managers determine which candidates can move forward to in-person or more extensive interviews. They use these questions to get a better understanding of a candidate’s intentions for applying to their company. Your phone screening interview is your chance to show employers that you have a strong interest in their company and can add value to their team. This is your opportunity to show your personality and highlight your most impressive qualifications.


Before You Hang Up Address The Interviewer By Name

How to Prepare for a Phone Interview

Restating the interviewer’s name toward the end of your phone conversation reiterates personal attention and shows a sign of respect. Be sure to address the interviewer professionally with their designated title, such as Dr., Mrs. or Mr.

Example:”Thanks again, Dr. Seber, for taking the time to discuss the job with me.”

Example:”I appreciate your answering my questions, Mr. Taylor. Thank you again for connecting with me today.”


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Best Job Interview Tips For In

I must admit, my last in-person interview was a little weird . I was first interviewed in the companys kitchen and then in this really tiny, stuffy room . Anyways, I hope this doesnt happen to you, and honestly, that interview should have been a red flag for me! As I said, youre also interviewing the company to see if you want to work there! But I kept it professional that day, and so should you with these tips:

The Cloak of Invisibility: Dress for Success

OK, as much as it would be great to throw on a cool cloak with minimal effort, you absolutely cannot do this in a job interview, whether in-person or virtual.

Take this advice from Kim:

Plan a wardrobe that fits the organization and its culture, striving for the most professional appearance you can accomplish. Remember that its always better to be overdressed than under and to wear clothing that fits and is clean and pressed.

Weve also got a post dedicated to what you can wear in your interview, so check it out: Job Interview Appearance Rock Your Next Application.

There are different rules for different companies. Sam Horrocks suggests that you take a look at the companys people/team page on their website and see what theyre wearing that will give you a good indication of how you can dress for the interview. If youre going for a corporate job, youre likely looking at ties, pencil skirts or slacks, and comfortable heels.

Mysterious thing, Time. Powerful. Be Punctual!

Time to Show Them Your Magic

Tell Others You’re Expecting An Interview

If you’ll be doing the interview from your home, make sure that family members and roommates know that you’re expecting an interview call. Ask them not to play loud music or otherwise make noise during the scheduled time. They should also refrain from interrupting you while you’re on the phone.

Also, you should answer the phone yourself. Don’t ask a friend to answer for you.

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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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