Top 11 Phone Interview Tips For 2020 [+Questions and Answers]

You sent your resume to that dream job and finally got a call from the company’s HR or recruitment and selection agency. Feeling anxious and excited is normal, but it doesn’t help much at the time of the interview. Many companies start the selection process with a call to discuss work-related aspects and get to know if the candidate in the right choice through a brief conversation that allows a pre-assessment. Thus, it is a good idea to value a telephone interview because success in this stage will lead you to the next stage of the interview. As such, understanding basic tips for phone interview is important for every job seeker

A job interview on a call has its challenges. One of them is the fact that this is the first contact with a representative of the company, a representative that you have not had the opportunity to meet in person. In such a situation, visual communication does not exist; however, there is non-verbal and intense communication! Know that the interviewer will “listen between the lines” of your speech, that is, he will know if you are anxious or relaxed, available to dedicate your time to the interview or in a hurry, if you are alone or surrounded by people, if you are in a quiet environment or at the moment of leisure.

The first impression is essential in a job interview process, and over the phone, it is easier to fall into misunderstandings. So, take care of the environment in which you will conduct the interview. If the recruiter calls you at an inopportune time, it is preferable to ask them to call you later. In this case, contextualize: inform that you are driving (for example) and ask if it is opportune to return the call at “x” hours. Try not to be caught completely off guard: always have your job search dossier with you, where you must compile all the information about the applications you have made.

If an employer chooses to conduct telephone interviews, it is because they find some advantages in them – they save time and effort on the part of everyone involved, especially when they are at a considerable distance. When there are countless job seekers, conducting the first screening using a call is a way to save resources and make the process faster.

You may be “lucky” to be able to schedule your interview: if you have an appointment through a call. It is recommended that you prepare as much as you can, answers possible questions about yourself, previous professional experiences, current professional situation, availability of schedules, among others. It is also prudent to study interview phone tips in details.

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The telephone interview can be done in two main situations:

• Screening of candidates: when there are many candidates compatible with the same vacancy, it is common for interviewers to screen over the phone, a “sieve” to select some for an in-depth interview, which may be in person or over the phone. The screening interview is usually shorter, and the call usually takes place by surprise.

• Confirmation and information collection: it is a slightly longer interview, and in it, the interviewer can ask some questions to confirm the data you provided in the curriculum and learn more about your activities and skills. It can be done by surprise or scheduled by email.

In both cases, it is worth preparing to make the right impression and try to move on to the next stage of the process. Learn to prepare to answer the interviewer’s questions and what to avoid in telephone job interviews.

Wonderful tips for phone interview

1. Be ready

Unless the interviewer is calling because you received your mobile number from someone, you can start preparing for the interview the moment you applied for the job. Print the CV sent and mark the most important items for that specific vacancy. If you sent a cover letter, print it out too. The interviewer is likely looking at these two documents while talking to you. It is also worth researching the company, its industry, main products and services, recent achievements, location, and structure.

Also, print the characteristics of the vacancy. Reflect on the reasons that led you to apply and write down your main differentials for this position. Write down how your experience can contribute to the company. Keep all of these documents and notes together for easy access.

2. If you can’t speak, make an appointment.

A surprise call, while you are working, doing another activity or in a noisy place, can impair your performance. There is nothing wrong with briefly explaining the situation and trying to make another appointment with the interviewer. Thank them for their interest, explain that you cannot speak at the moment, and ask if it is possible to reschedule the conversation for another time. Take the time and ask the interviewer how much time he will need for this conversation. Be clear, direct, and courteous. Before hanging up, thank them again.

3. Practice speech

Interviews can cause nervousness, so practising a little in advance may be a good idea. A good way to practice is to record yourself talking. Listen carefully to the result and try to see if there are aspects to improve. Often our perception of our own discourse does not correspond to reality, so it is most likely to be surprised at the way you speak, with the excessive use of verbal “crutches”, with the repetition of certain words, “tics” and addictions of language – “hmm”, “ok”, or “because,” “therefore.” It will also be a good opportunity to notice if you speak too slowly or too quickly. Do enough research on tips for phone interviewing in advance.

4. Prepare the environment for the interview.

Ten minutes before the scheduled time for the interview, start preparing the environment. If you’re at home, choose a quiet, distraction-free room. If you’re at work, go to a meeting room. Take the documents and notes you prepared for the interview, paper and pen, a watch, and a glass of water. If you have scheduled the interview by landline, hang up. Take a deep breath, reread your material, and try to stay focused.

5. Understand common questions

Prepare answers to common interview questions. Some of the most frequently asked questions can be:

  • “What are you looking for with this job?”
  • “Why are you looking for a new challenge at this stage in your life?”
  • “What are your salary expectations?”
  • “What do you idealize in terms of culture and benefits, on the part of a company?”
  • “If you get the job, when will you be able to start?”
  • “What is your availability for a face-to-face interview in the next few days?”
  • “If the workplace is far from your city, are you willing to move?”

Research the company: if you have the opportunity, look for a maximum of information about the company. Check their website, industry news, and LinkedIn’s profile. Do not give more information than what is important at this stage!

Take care of posture and tone of voice.

During the interview, maintain good posture. Although the interviewer cannot see you, your voice will reflect the way you are positioned. Have you noticed how people’s voices change when we are bent over, thrown on the couch or with our heads down? Sit comfortably and keep your spine upright. If you prefer, stand up, walk around the room and gesticulate as you speak. Smile and behave as if you are in a face-to-face interview, and this will make the conversation more natural.

6. Listen carefully, respond calmly and objectively.

The tip may seem obvious, but at the time of excitement and anxiety, we often forget about it. Wait for the interviewer to finish your question or comment, take a breath and then answer. Try to be objective and pass on the information that was requested in a clear and concise manner.

7. Have your curriculum in hand

Keep your resume up to date, with your latest professional experiences and the respective activities performed, the last completed courses, languages (it is important to mention the level) and complementary information. Make a copy of your resume and keep it handy during the interview. It can be useful to help you organize your ideas if any questions are asked about your past experiences or specific skills.

8. When in doubt, ask

It is better to clarify the doubt than to give an inappropriate or out of context response. If you do not understand any questions used by the interviewer, ask to repeat. If you don’t know any technical expression or term, don’t be ashamed to ask.

9. What to do when you realize you don’t fit the profile

It may be that the vacancy is for someone with less experience than you, or that you do not have the necessary qualifications to play the role. In both cases, it is best to be transparent. Explain that you have the impression that the profile the interviewer is looking for is someone more / less experienced than you. If your suspicion is confirmed and you are not really interested in continuing, thank them for their interest and say that they are available for a future conversation if an opportunity appears more appropriate to your experience/qualification / professional objective.

10. Ask what’s the next step.

The interview is coming to an end, and it is possible for the interviewer to inform the next steps of the selection process. If he does not do this, ask what the next steps are and even when they intend to complete the hiring for that position.

11. Give thanks

Regardless of your performance, interest, or success in the telephone interview, always thank the interviewer for his time and willingness.

What to avoid in the phone interview?

What to avoid in the telephone interview is as important as what to do in a face to face interview! Here are some mistakes that you should not make when you get the call from the person who is interviewing you.

1. Lack of Preparation

If you are not prepared to answer the question: “What do you know about our company?”, it can simply mean the end of your pretensions in that place. Knowing basic information such as, for example, the company’s history, fields of activity, objectives, market positioning, etc., is very simple, since all of this is available on their website. It doesn’t take much effort, just a minimum of interest, a quick look, print and read; keep it, and to refresh your memory, read again just before facing the interviewer.

2. Poor Communication Level

It is also important to know how to communicate with minimum clarity during your pilgrimage in search of a professional placement or replacement, and that means, adequate vocabulary, elaborate and precise phrases. But, it is really important to make a good impression on the person who will decide whether to hire you or not. A firm handshake, eye to eye, discreet, safe gestures, and friendliness captivate the person you are talking to. Such gestures will win over the recruiter and will have the same impact as a recommendation on hiring.

3. Speaking like a chatterbox

There is nothing worse than interviewing someone who speaks non-stop. The interviewer does not really need to know the full story of your life. Give short, objective answers, without flourishes, a maximum of 1 minute for each one, and always focusing on the questions asked, emphasizing their qualities in relation to the intended position. Don’t be wordy; just answer what was asked.

4. Attend at an inappropriate time or place so as not to miss the opportunity

Interviewers know that if they call by surprise, you may be at work, on the road, or at some other inopportune time. Instead of proceeding with the interview without being prepared, you can respond evasively to disguise or risk distracting yourself at the wheel, explain the situation, and ask if it is possible to reschedule the conversation for another time.

5. Start by asking about salary and benefits.

Of course, the salary and benefits offered by the company are an important factor in deciding whether or not you want that job, but starting the conversation by asking how much you will earn can make the impression that that’s all that matters to you. Wait for the appropriate time to ask this question, usually after going through the first screening and at the end of a more in-depth interview.

6. Be in a hurry to say everything.

You are well prepared, know that you have the necessary profile, and want to convince the interviewer that you are the best candidate for the vacancy. So far, so good. The problem is wanting to dump your entire professional life at once, speaking quickly to “show service.” Remember that the interviewer cannot see you, and over the phone, too fast a speech can impair understanding. Save both your time (yours and the interviewer’s) and try to speak at a more leisurely pace.

7. Complain

Another tip for the phone interview that seems obvious, but many people make this mistake and are eliminated in the first contact. Never complain or speak ill of working conditions, salary, current and former colleagues and bosses. The interviewer’s reasoning is very simple: if you spoke ill of other jobs, you would speak ill of others.

8. Talk too much

Talking a lot does not mean doing well in the interview. Be careful to answer what was asked, without going into unnecessary details. One of the interview by phone tips is to be aware of the time you are talking to yourself. The interview is a dialogue! Provide the information calmly and objectively and allow the person interviewing you to ask more questions, in case you want to know more about a certain activity that you performed.

9. Talk less

If you apply for a job, it is because you certainly believe you have the requirements to meet the job requirements. However, due to several situations that hinder the reintegration of professionals in the labor market as a political, social or financial crisis in the country, many candidates distribute a number of resumes in several companies, thinking that this way they will be more likely to be called for a job interview.

However, when this happens, and the person has not even carried out previous research on the company’s culture, the position he is applying for, and the desired profile for the vacancy, the chances of being called for the next stage of the selection are considerably reduced. So always, always research before going to the interview about the company that called you for the selection. If talking too much can be bad, the other extreme is talking less. Avoid monosyllabic responses (yes, no, yeah). They should be used only when the question requires it, for example, if the person who is interviewing you asks if you live in such a city, or if you are available for travel.

10. Use slang and inappropriate expressions

Punctuating your sentences with slang, swear words and expressions like “type,” “type like this,” and their variants, should be avoided at all costs. Even if the vacancy is for a modern and informal company, using this language conveys an image of immaturity and neglect. Stay tuned and use more professional language. If you find it difficult, train first.

Questions Recruiters Can Ask in a Telephone Interview

If you are looking for a job, you may face a telephone interview at some point. So that you are not be caught off guard and can feel prepared for this conversation, here is a list of the most common questions that interviewers ask at this stage of the selection. Check out what they are and what is the best way to answer each one. Besides, take your time to study interview phone tips deeply.

1. How did you hear about this vacancy?

In a face- to- face or telephone job interview, the answer here is no secret. If you heard about the vacancy through an advertisement on VAGAS, for example, this is what you need to answer. If you arrived because you have a personal connection with someone who already works at the company, tell the person interviewing you this, citing the person’s name and position, if possible.

2. Talk a little about yourself.

The tip of Tina Wascovich, Muse’s career coach, is that you focus on the experiences and skills you have and are relevant to the position. “Use the past-present-future formula,” she says. That is, explain where you are and what you do now, tell what you have done in the past, and end by talking about what you are looking forward to doing in the future (and how it relates to the job in question).

3. What do you know about our company?

The interviewing person wants to know if you’ve done your homework and researched the company you apparently want to work for. Highlight one or two qualities of the company that is in tune with you. It may be the mission, a product, the brand, or the organizational culture itself. Explain why you feel aligned with each one and give examples. For example, if you were applying for a position at VAGAS Professions, you could say that you’ve been following the posts for years and would love to help other people get the ideal job for them.

4. Why did you leave your last job?

This answer can say a lot about your ethics and attitude at work. For starters, don’t be ashamed to be honest and say you were fired, if applicable. There is no need to detail the reasons that led to the dismissal or the frustrations you experienced at that time.

Don’t speak ill of the old boss, the old colleagues or the old company. Under no circumstances does this count points for you. It is best to say what you have learned from what you have gone through and how you have become – or are working to become – a better professional.

5. Tell us a little about what you do in the current/last function.

The interviewing person wants to know more about your skills, abilities, and experiences. The idea is to list your responsibilities, yes, but also to show how you can contribute to the company’s goals. How does your work make things more efficient? What skills have you developed in this role, and why are you an advantage to the company?

6. What are you looking for in your next job?

If you are employed and looking for another opportunity, surely something is missing from your current job. You do not need to speak ill of anyone – remember this always. Do you want more quality of life? More benefits? Greater career progression? Define that.

7. Why are you interested in this position? What attracted you?

This answer is similar to the one you structured for the question “What do you know about our company?”. The interviewer wants to know what you have researched about the company and its performance in the market. The tip is not to be generic. Highlight something that really caught your attention in the vacancy announcement or on the company’s website, for example, and say in a very personal way why it attracted you.

8. What type of manager are you most comfortable working with?

The person interviewing you wants to know if you have the ideal profile to work with the person who would be your manager at the company. Be sincere. Do you like to have autonomy? Prefer to follow the rules? The ideal is, to be honest, but not appear unyielding. After all, you don’t know the profile the company is looking for.

9. Why should we hire you?

Highlight something that only you can offer the company. An experience, an incredible skill, a rare knowledge, a great determination to solve a problem. It’s your time to show why you are the best candidate for the job.

10. When can you start?

If you’re not working, you can make yourself available to get started right away. If the recruiter has an urgent need to fill the vacancy, that response may yield some positive points. On the other hand, if you are working, consider the time it would take to communicate your departure and comply with the notice, if applicable.

11. Do you have any questions for me?

Do not dismiss this question. This is the opportunity to show your interest in the vacancy and the company, in addition to clarifying your doubts. Prepare two or three questions in advance for the interview. Also, during the conversation, write down any doubts that arise. At the end of the conversation, feel free to ask about the next selection steps. Prepare your answers in advance. Try to stay calm and with good expectations from the phone interview!

One of the most anticipated moments of professionals looking for a replacement in the job market is the interview. It can be the gateway to the job you want in times of crisis or the passport to any company. Many good candidates with enviable technical experience lose the chance to re-enter the market because they do not know how to behave during the phone interview. The above post will guide you on all that you should know concerning interview phone tips.

Written by Vitalii Butiluk

Editor and CTO at Jobitin

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