Telephone Interview Preparation


Telephonic interview or phone interview is the newest trend in short-listing or selecting candidates for a profile. In the recent time the rate of telephonic interview has gone up as more numbers of companies have adopted it as a preferred way of screening job seekers.

Telephonic interviews are conducted for several reasons, which can range from cost saving, saving HR time, short-listing large number of resume and even interviewing outstation candidates. Hence, you may also find yourself facing a phone interview in your next job.

Tips for Telephone Interviews

Organize your thoughts: It can be difficult to concentrate while giving interview on telephone. Often it lacks the right feelings and ambiance. Hence, it is important that you organize your thoughts ahead of giving the interview. Keep a copy of your resume before you and also make a list of achievements and accolades to ensure you don’t miss any. Make a list of important points that will help you get the job.

Practice: If you have the opportunity you may wish to practice before taking on the interview call. Ask a friend or colleague to ask you questions and speak over phone. Ask them for feedback and improve on areas required.

Find a right place: For the telephonic interview you’d need to find the right place where you will not be disturbed; further, where background noise is at minimum. It is easy to get distracted while talking on phone and any such distraction is easy to identify on a phone call. Hence, make sure you are in a place where you will not be disturbed.

Stand while talk: It is said that standing helps with the projection of your voice. Also, it helps in sounding confident. Hence, you may stand while taking call for the interview.

Use a mirror: You may choose a place where there is a mirror. It will help you keep an eye on your facial expression and body language. Your mood gets reflected in your voice. Hence, if you are frowning you’ll sound disinterested and negative. Answer all the questions with enthusiasm.

Be positive: It is essential to maintain a positive attitude while answering questions over the telephone. Often the telephonic interview is conducted during the first phase of the screening process. Hence, you’d need to sound enthusiastic for the position to ensure a call for the next round.

Use a landline, if possible, so you don’t have to worry about dropped calls.

Have the job description and your resume handy.

Avoid talking in too much detail, as a general impression is what’s necessary.

Speak discreetly: You need to make sure that the employer is being able to hear each and every syllable you speak. Speak clearly and slowly over the phone and also pay attention while the interviewer is speaking. Asking the interviewer to repeat his/her question over and over isn’t a good sign and may create an impression of inattentiveness.

Glass of water:Keep a glass of water near you so you can have it when necessary.

Many companies are now using telephonic interview to save on the time invested in meeting each candidate personally. Hence, whether you like it or not, you can’t avoid the importance of phone interviews in the selection process. However, during the telephonic conversation you may remember not to ask questions on- salary, benefits, commutation facilities etc. These discussions can be preserved for the last phase of the process.

Interview Questions with Answers

Why did you apply for this position?
Though the answer seems obvious – you want a job – this is an opportunity to talk about the company’s reputation and details about the position. If you are having trouble, consult with the job description to jog your memory. Sample Answer “Your company is widely known for its concern about the environment, something that’s important to me. When I saw the advertising position open up, I felt like it was a good fit on a personal and professional level.”

What do you look for in an employer?
Talk about the things that are important to you, whether it’s the possibility for growth or the chance to do meaningful work. Avoid the temptation to say what you don’t like – simply giving a response that is positive says a lot about your outlook.

Sample Answer “I want to be in a place that strives to innovate and create new experiences for people by designing products to match dreams they don’t know they have.”

How would you describe your current (or previous) work environment?
Though you might want to talk about all the frustrations you have, take a second to make sure you frame them properly. “I feel like the opportunities to grow with the company are a bit restricted” is better than “I have a boss that’s a complete jerk.”

Sample Answer “The organization is good, but its size makes moving quickly pretty difficult. I’d prefer to be in a place that is agile and on the cutting edge.”

How has your past work prepared you for this position?
This is a chance to talk about yourself with more detail, one of the few you are likely to have in such a short period of time. Give the interviewer an overview of the different projects you’ve worked on without telling the whole story. 

Sample Answer “I started in the industry as a fabricator in a composites plant and have achieved a leadership position now, in which I supervise two of the primary manufacturing areas on the shop floor.”

Please tell me one of your strengths and a corresponding weakness.
Let’s face it, none of us like to mention things we don’t do well when we’re trying to get a job, but it is a tremendous opportunity to display some humility. Talking about your strengths is easy – pick the one that applies best to the open job – but be careful in what you discuss when it comes to your faults. Make your downside something that can be developed to benefit the company.

Sample Answer “I am very good at helping groups work together. I really enjoy connecting people and forming a cohesive unit to get things done. When it comes to the opposite side, I struggle sometimes with getting focused on the details. I want something to be perfect from the start, when often ‘good enough’ will do.”

If work requires you to leave town, will that be all right with you?
This can be challenging to reply to, as you may not know exactly how many days a week you’ll be gone. If you can, ask to see if the interviewer can clear up the confusion, then answer with some specifics about why it is or isn’t a dealbreaker.

Sample Answer “I’m young and unmarried, so I can be out on the road more than most people. With the exception of my dog, whom I would need to find housing for, I don’t have any responsibilities that would keep me from being out of town for a while.”

In an ideal situation, what would this company to do for you? What will you add to it in return?
This is a rare chance to get some real depth as you respond. The tough part? Answering quickly but making sure to spell out entirely what you’re looking for and hope to bring to the organization. Show some self-assurance and openness without sounding arrogant.

Sample Answer “I think I could bring some passion to this job, as I really enjoy interacting with people online. When it comes to social media, sharing a message that gets across can be a challenge and, as a member of that generation, I feel like I could help direct the message with a keen eye for what works best. “I’m really searching for openings that will encourage me to develop new skills and engage my creativity. I like the idea of being somewhere that fresh ideas are sought after and respected, even if they seem a bit out of this world – that’s often how companies create something no one knew was possible.”

What do you see yourself doing in five years’ time?
Regardless of industry or salary level, this is one of the most popular questions asked. The reason is simple: it’s a fast way to see what your goals are – assuming you have any at all.

Sample Answer “I would like to have a position that challenges and stimulates my creative thinking, possibly working with a large group. Whatever it is, I want to be excited to head to the office each day.”

More Questions for Telephone Interviews

Since most of the companies are now switching to telephonic interview as the first phase of screening candidates you may better check out the list of questions that the interviewer may ask you.

  1. Give us a brief introduction of yourself.
  2. Tell us about your career so far. How many years of experience you have in this field?
  3. What was your starting level of remuneration? What is the current package?
  4. What is your educational background? Have you done any specialization? Why?
  5. Why have you decided to pursue a career in this particular line?
  6. Describe a typical day in office.
  7. What motivates you? Are you a self-driven person?
  8. Have you handled a team before? What was the size of the team?
  9. What is your KRA in your present company?
  10. Why do you want to leave the organization?
  11. What have interested you to apply for the post?
  12. Why do you want to join our company?
  13. Are you aware of the current market position of the company?
  14. What makes you the best candidate for the profile?
  15. What value addition can you make towards the organization?
  16. If the job requires extensive traveling will you be able to do that?
  17. Are you open for relocation?
  18. What are the challenges you are looking forward to in the post?
  19. Tell us about your strengths. Can you explain a situation when you have applied your skills to resolve an issue effectively?
  20. What do you think are your weaknesses?
  21. What do you know about our company? What do you think makes it different from its competitors?
  22. Do you like to know something more about the organization or the profile?

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