Tell Me A Little About Yourself
If you’re the interviewer, there’s a lot you should already know: The candidate’s resume and cover letter should tell you plenty, and LinkedIn and Twitter and Facebook and Google can tell you more.
The goal of an interview is to determine whether the candidate will be outstanding in the job, and that means evaluating the skills and attitude required for that job. Does she need to be an empathetic leader? Ask about that. Does she need to take your company public? Ask about that.
If you’re the candidate, talk about why you took certain jobs. Explain why you left. Explain why you chose a certain school. Share why you decided to go to grad school. Discuss why you took a year off to backpack through Europe, and what you got out of the experience.
When you answer this question, connect the dots on your resume so the interviewer understands not just what you’ve done, but also why.
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.
Does The Candidate Show A Sincere Interest In Our Company
Again with the common interview advice, right? Well, not exactly. Most people know that recruiters want to hear about why youre interested in the job. But what many people in my network tend to ignore is the fact that most recruiters have heard just about everythingand a canned answer about how you know the organization is going to change the world isnt going to move the needle in your favor.
A lot of the candidates I spoke to overthought their answer to this question. And often times, Id wait patiently for them to wax poetic about how they couldnt imagine a more perfect job for them at this point in their careers.
Instead of making this answer about you, make it about your genuine interest in the job. If you have specific reasons for being excited about the role, share them! Youll stand out for your honest, candid answers.
No matter how you slice it, phone interviews are a tough part of the interview process. And while getting comfortable with them requires some practice, its also important to understand the that youre probably overthinking it.
Knowing that recruiters arent expecting world-changing answers should help you relax, be yourself, and answer the questions as well as possible. Just being confident in yourself and in your reasons why youd like this job is more than enough at this stage.
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Common Phone Interview Questions And Answer Samples
If you have a phone interview coming up, there are some questions you are very likely to be asked and practicing them can immediately help you feel confident and be ready to wow the interviewer so you can move on to the next stage!
Im going to walk you through the most common phone interview questions and best answers, so you can get hired faster.
Lets get started
Practice Answering Common Questions
Many phone interviews start with an open-ended question like “tell me about yourself.” Practice a concise, focused answer to that question and other common questions. Practice speaking about your strengths and your professional accomplishments. Planning these answers will help you relax and sound confident during the interview.
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Plan Your Travel Arrangements
Coordinate how and when you will arrive at your interview. Make sure to map your route and leave plenty of time for travel and potential traffic. Arriving early for your interview is a great way to show your interviewer that you are punctual. Arrange to leave early should traffic become an issue. Have the address of the location readily available if you need to reference it.
If something out of your control comes up, keep your interviewers contact information on hand, as well, in case you need to call them and make them aware of the situation. If your interview will take place in an area close to you, its a good idea to visit the surrounding location in advance to scope out parking and traffic so you know what to expect the day of your interview.
How To Prepare For A Phone Interview
Phone interview prep takes more than confidence and basic knowledge. The key here is to be different. For example, in software engineering, it is a given that you know coding. However, also possessing sound knowledge on deep learning will separate you from the crowd, increasing your credibility.
Here are some pro tips to ace your phone interviews with corporate giants.
Practice your tone
In a phone screen interview, creating an impression through your demeanor isnât an option. Itâs a must.
Check your tone. Your voice is the first thing that the hiring managers will judge before they even hear your answers. So, having a calm yet mature tone is necessary. Try practicing your tonality while speaking. Prepare compact and concise answers for phone screening questions that you think the interviewer may ask, and practice your tone while verbalizing these answers.
Knowing your strengths
The company has no interest in knowing how their job position is a golden opportunity for you. They instead wish to learn why they should select you and not the thousand others waiting outside their office.
âKnow your strengths and take advantage of themâ â Greg Norman.
What makes you different from the crowd is your strength so clearly mentioning them at the time of describing yourself is essential.
Research the company and job position
Be sure about what you want
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What Do You Consider To Be Your Biggest Professional Achievement
Here’s an interview question that definitely requires an answer relevant to the job. If you say your biggest achievement was improving throughput by 18 percent in six months but you’re interviewing for a leadership role in human resources, that answer is interesting but ultimately irrelevant.
Instead, talk about an underperforming employee you “rescued,” or how you overcame infighting between departments, or how so many of your direct reports have been promoted.
The goal is to share achievements that let the interviewer imagine you in the position — and see you succeeding.
How Many Years Of Experience Do You Have With Software
If they are a mechanical engineer you may want to know how many years they have with a CAD system such as SolidWorks. If they are a software developer have many years of Java experience do they have.
Once you have established the number of years of experience using the software. Dive into how they have used the software for the past few years.
Make sure they have a good understanding of what you want them to accomplish with it.
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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.
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?
Interview Questions About You
These questions are asked both to assess your level of self-knowledge and to determine whether you would be able to fit in with the employers workplace culture. The interviewer wants to know whether you’re the right person for the job and for the company.
- What are you looking for in your next job? – Best Answers
- What is your greatest weakness? – Best Answers
- What is your greatest strength? – Best Answers
- How do you handle stress and pressure? – Best Answers
- Tell me about yourself. – Best Answers
- Questions about your career goals. – Best Answers
- What type of work environment do you prefer? – Best Answers
- How do you evaluate success? – Best Answers
- Job interview questions about your abilities. – Best Answers
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Hire And Develop The Best
Leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion. They recognize exceptional talent, and willingly move them throughout the organization. Leaders develop leaders and take seriously their role in coaching others. We work on behalf of our people to invent mechanisms for development like Career Choice.
Never Take The Interview Somewhere Noisy
It might seem like common sense, but youâd be surprised what interviewers say they can hear in the background of their phone interviewsâeverything from barking dogs to screaming children. âPrepare for the interview by securing a quiet space in advance, even if it means escaping to your car parked in the garage,â advises Chere Taylor, founder of Fulcrum HR Consulting. âIf you can lock your home office door, by all means do it. We’ve all been there and sometimes things just happen, but the more time spent anticipating what could go wrong, the better prepared and organized you will appear to the interviewer and the greater likelihood of success.â That doesnât mean that if your washing machine beeps once in the background all hope is lost, but the more effort you put into being in a quiet place, the more focused youâll be.
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The Purpose Of Phone Interviews
Its no secret that people under the age of 35 tend to dislike talking on the phone. So, why do some employers and colleges insist on conducting phone interviews?
It mostly comes down to convenience and necessity. Some employers may end up having far more qualified applicants than they can realistically interview. To narrow down their pool of applicants, theyll use phone interviews to identify the top finalists.
During a phone interview, most employers have the following objectives:
- To confirm the applicants interest in the position.
- To make sure that you have the required skills they need.
- To assess cultural fit.
- To get a better idea of your expectations, especially on salary and benefits.
In college admissions, phone interviews are typically conducted by college representatives and former students. These interviews are slightly lower stakes in that your phone interview likely wont make or break your chances of admission. Still, you should come into the interview with an idea of what college interview questions will be asked and how you want to answer them.
The main objectives of a college interview include:
- To get to know the applicant a little better, beyond their test scores and grades.
- To confirm the applicants interest in the college.
- To discuss the students educational and career goals.
- To answer questions about the college.
When Can You Start
One key piece of information employers may need upfront is when you would be able to start in a new role. They might be looking to fill the position quickly, so if you cannot start for another month or two they may need to look for other candidates. Take time before your interview to carefully consider the soonest date you will be able to start. Review the terms of your current role to make sure you can leave after the standard two weeks. If you are unemployed, you will likely be able to respond with as soon as possible.
Example answer:After getting an offer, I am able to start two weeks later to provide time for my current role to be filled.
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Do Some Research Before The Interview
Odds are youve applied to more than one company and its always helpful to know a bit about who youre talking to, from both a professional and a business standpoint.
Double check the job description youre interviewing for.
Google the company. See how theyre doing and what theyre doing.
If you know whos doing your interview you can see what sort of digital footprint they have and find out more about them on a personal level. Look them up on but dont go overboard.
Its never a good idea to send them a Facebook Friend Request before you even have the interviewin fact, its probably not a good idea afterwards either. Maybe in six months when youve already got the job and youre all good friends having lunch twice a weekbut not yet.
The best part about doing this research is it also allows you to tailor your answers when you start getting hit with those interview questions.
Tailoring your answers is the best possible way to ensure that not only are you satisfying what the interviewer is asking, youre positioning yourself to be the best possible candidate for the jobor, dare we saythe perfect candidate!
Remember as youre pouring over all those notes you culled about the company and what they stand for that your ultimate goal is to be everything they need in a candidate and that means making sure your answers are specific, targeted and tailoredin a nutshell, customized.
Phone Interview Best Practices
During a phone screen, your goal is to eliminate your least qualified candidates to save onsite staff time and money. Additionally, you are hoping that your most qualified, mission compatible prospects rise to the top. During a phone screen, you are also looking for hints that the candidate’s needs are congruent with the offerings and culture provided by your organization.
You want to ask enough questions during the phone interview to determine if the person is a viable candidate. Remember, you have already screened many resumes and applications to come up with your short list of applicants eligible for a phone screen.
The applicants that you will phone interview should be your best prospects at this point in your recruitment process. If a candidate was sorted into your “maybe” resume stack, the candidate is unlikely to surpass the prospects you definitely identified as your top candidates. Don’t waste your timeor theirsin a phone interview unless their credentials and experience were in your top tier of candidates.
Are you interested to know what you should be able to expect from the candidate during the phone interview? See these recommended phone screen interview questions.
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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.
Make An Accomplishments Cheat Sheet
The interviewer will want to know why they should hire you. Make a cheat sheet of your experiences, skills, and accomplishments. Read the job posting again and write down specific qualifications that the employer is looking for. Make sure you talk about these qualifications in your interview. Use the cheat sheet during the interview when they ask you to provide specific examples of your accomplishments.
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