Telephone interviews are becoming a lot more common than they used to be and it is important to remember to be just as organised and prepared as you would be for a formal one-to-one interview.
Ensure that your phone is fully charged and you have a copy of your CV as well as any other relevant information you may need on hand. The recruiter may just be looking for a confident manner so the ability to respond intelligently to their questions regarding your previous roles and achievements is essential!
If you seem disinterested and answer the questions half-heartedly then you’re probably not going to be considered for the role. The recruiter is most likely speaking to lots of other candidates so if you don’t want to end up in the rejection pile, you’re going to need to shine.
Do your research
Start by finding out as much as you can about the company. Find out about the size of the company, what they do and their services/products. The best place to start is the company website but be sure to also check out other sources such as news articles.
Write down any questions that you would like to ask
A phone interview is a great opportunity for you to find out more about the role you have applied for. Here are some good examples of questions to ask the employer…
“Is this post a new or existing one?” – This question will help you to find out whether you are replacing somebody or if the role has just been created. If it is a new post, why has it been created?
“Can you tell me more about the day-to-day responsibilities of this role?” – This is your chance to learn as much as possible about the role so you can decide if this really is the job that you want. This question also enables you to find out more about the specific skills and experience required.
“What are the promotion prospects?” – Nobody wants to fall into a dead-end job and this question enables you to find out more about the potential for progression within the company. You are also demonstrating your desire and drive for success and career progression.
“What are the company’s plans for the future?” – This question not only shows that you are interested in the company but will also allow the recruiter a chance to talk about their plans.
“What do you like best about working for this company?” – This question will give you an insight into the culture of the company and the interviewer’s personal experience there.
Don’t ask about salary or benefits at this point. Wait until you are coming to the end of the interview process before you start negotiating.
Find a quiet room to take the call where you can be sure there will be no disturbances and speak clearly into the receiver so that the interviewer can understand you. If you are expecting to be called on your mobile then ensure that you have a strong signal.
To help you prepare for the questions that may be asked during the telephone interview, we’ve listed some of the most commonly used ones below, along with examples of how to answer them.
Why are you leaving your current position?
This question is usually asked towards the beginning of an interview.
It is definitely advisable that you refrain from being overly critical or negative about your current employer as this will only send alarm bells ringing for your potential employer.
Rather than focusing on the negative aspects causing you to leave your current role, focus on the positive ones which attract you to a new one. For example; “I would like to find a role which is more challenging” or “I would like a role with a chance for progression”.
What do you know about the company?
Many employers ask this question at some point to find out what your preparation skills are like. Researching a company before an interview is very important.
Take some time to find out about what the company does and what your role would entail. The company website is a great starting point but be sure to look elsewhere too – this demonstrates to your potential employer how much you want the job.
You do not want to find yourself in an uncomfortable position admitting that you have no idea what they do. Instead, you want to be able to give them a short overview of the company.
What were your main responsibilities in your last role?
You will most likely have written about your current responsibilities on your CV, so have this to hand for this question. Practice a clear explanation for each of the main duties you carry out in your current position – be confident. This does not, however, mean read from your CV word-for-word as they will most certainly have it to hand themselves!
When listing a few of your main responsibilities, do so in a way that is different from how you wrote about them on your CV. Be sure to expand on how your experience would make you right for this role.
What are your greatest achievements?
A potential employer may ask this as a way of finding out whether you are telling the truth on your CV.
So, if it has been written down for them to read, ensure that you can elaborate on each individual accomplishment mentioned – in other words, you need to be able to expand on each of these in more detail than already written on your CV and be able to answer any questions they may have about them.
What salary are you looking for?
Many people find it awkward speaking about salary but honesty is the best way forward on this one. Be sure to give a broad range in salary which you feel is realistic/achievable for the role you have applied for. Never aim too low with what you are asking for. This could result in coming out with less than you are worth!