You’ve made a great resume and you’ve also mailed it to the necessary people.
Well, just relax and wait for a recruiting manager to get impressed by your resume and give you a call.
And thus, begins the journey of your interview.
Most companies nowadays ask some basic questions as the part of the initial screening process. These questions are really basic and nothing technical or deep rooted.
So, You don’t need to prepare for anything apart from the list of questions that you may ask when the interviewer or hiring manager calls.
These questions can be related to company culture, job details or common questions like additional information or references.
So, I’ll just give you a brief description about the Phone interview process and then move on to the questions that you may ask and also how you can respond to that phone call to make your success at getting the personal interview a sure shot.
The First Impression
Your evaluation starts right from your answering that call.
Some of the key points to keep in mind once you’ve mailed your resume are discussed below.
Always take the call
Once you’ve mailed your resumes, be ready to get a call from a recruiter at any time.
So, always take the calls if possible.
If you were at work or at some other important place where you could not receive the call, do make it a habit to check your phone for missed calls and call back as soon as you can.
Mind your tone
Most of the recruiters are going to judge you by your tone and create a mental image of you in first few seconds of your conversation.
Make sure you sound cheerful and energetic when you answer the call.
The recruiter should feel the positive energy in your voice through the phone. A cheerful greeting accompanied with a happiness to get the call will create an instant positive image of you in the mind of recruiter.
So, rather than saying plain Hello or Hi, begin your call with a Hello followed by your name.
And then move on to tell them how happy you are to get this opportunity.
No funky voicemail messages, please
Say you were not able to receive the call due to some unavoidable reasons, and then the recruiter gets to your voicemail saying,
‘Hey ya, don’t bother to call me again. I am busy’ or ‘Who is this?
And how the hell did you get this number?’.
How would your recruiter feel like calling you again or leaving a message.
So make sure that your voicemail message says something like ‘You’ve reached Joana and I’m glad for your call. Will call you soon.’ or something similar.
No matter how dull this may seem to you, you got to be serious about your voicemail messages. They reflect your maturity and seriousness.
Ask your questions
Prepare a list of questions that you want to know about the company or job. These questions reflect that you are serious about getting the job and are genuinely interested in getting the job even if you need to walk an extra mile for that.
Questions to ask during the phone interview
So, now having learned the basics, let’s move to the questions that you can ask the interviewer.
A phone interview is a very first communication between you and the recruiter.
It can brighten or mar your chances at the interview.
So, apart from keeping the points that we discussed above in mind, do prepare some questions to ask the interviewer.
It serves two purposes. Firstly, you get to leave a positive mark on your recruiter. Second, you get to gather information regarding the job that can help you decide whether you want to do this job or not.
You also want to make sure that you fit in the company. And that the job is what you are capable of and what you deserve. So, let’s discuss the questions.
What do you expect from the person selected for this position?
What are expectations from this job?
What exactly is my job description?
These questions give you an idea about the nature of the work and what is expected from you. You get to decide whether this is what you want to do. If so, then continue with the interview process else just stop there.
What are the qualities in the person right for this job?
What additional skills and qualifications are beneficial for this job?
These questions give you an insight into the nature of the work and skills expected from the person working at this position. This further helps you in selecting why or why not do you want this job.
Is there anything that I should prepare for the interview?
Are there any special instructions for this position?
What are your tips for a good first impression?
Ultimately, the person who took your phone interview is responsible for your selection in the interview.
You are representing his selection.
So, if you make a complete fool of yourself, then he will be put in an awkward position too.
So, he will be more than happy to give you a word of advice on what you can do to brighten your chances at the interview.
May I know the position which the previous employee of this job was offered?
What are the growth opportunities of this job position?
These questions will give you information about the scope of growth that you have in future. Note that in first question, I used the word may. This is to show the politeness and also that the interviewer is free to not answer that question.
Use the phone interview to your advantage
So, let’s just take a review of what points we discussed and how you can come out shining through a phone interview.
A phone interview is the screening process to shortlist candidates before calling them for a face to face interview.
This process is meant to reduce the number of candidates that one has to interview.
It also separates some just inadequate candidates who are going to waste the interviewer’s time and clutter the waiting area.
Usually, a very busy hiring manager asks his associates or juniors to conduct phone interviews and pick out the candidates.
It is up to the person conducting the phone interview to decide a good candidate from bad. And he is also responsible for choice of candidates that will prove to be successful in the interview.
Thus, the interviewer’s capacity to sort out the candidate is also evaluated.
Thus, there are certain things that you can use to your advantage.
Ask the interviewer if you need to do any special preparation for the interview. He will be more than happy to guide you on how the overall interview process will be. Thus, you’ll be prepared in advance thereby preventing any shock or surprise moments.
You can also ask the interviewer about what position did the previous person go on to. This question serves two purposes. First, you asked about the person’s promotion or change. You didn’t use words like fired or left. This will put you in positive light. Second, you will get an overall idea of what your future prospects are. If the person previously working goes on to a higher position, then you can expect that too with your hard work and dedication.
You can ask the person whether you need to add any additional skills or qualifications in your portfolio. This can help you to improve or attain some skills to get an upper hand over other candidates. The interviewer generally has information about the skills and qualifications of candidates applying. So, this information can come handy to you.
The person conducting the phone interview will try to give you a generalised idea of the interview and tell you what to expect.
Next thing is how you can impress the interviewer with your tone, your answers and your counter questions.
Putting everything together
Now, let’s just briefly put everything together to make the recipe of a perfect phone interview.
- Be cheerful when answering the phone call. You’ve to reflect from your tone that you are really interested in what the interviewer has to say and are happy to receive his call. This leaves the interviewer with a positive attitude about you.
- Now you’ve set your tone and a good first impression. Next comes the turn of how you answer the questions. A phone interview generally does not include technical questions. You are asked about your current interest in the position and when you can schedule the interview.
- You may also be asked questions related to your interest in the position and why you want to work for the company. At this point, you have to show your interest in the company and the position. You have to show that you are entirely eligible for the position because of your skills and qualifications.
- If there is something that you don’t know related to position, show your willingness to learn it and prove yourself.
- The interviewer may ask you about the reason for applying to this job or the reason for leaving your previous job. You should never complain or remark negatively about your previous employer. Your goal always should be your development or better career opportunities or a wide area of work. The negative remark on your part will only leave you in the negative light. Nobody is interested in hiring a candidate who spreads bad words about their employers.
- Lastly, before finishing the interview, ask some questions that will help you to decide whether you want to work in the company or not.
- A phone interview or even the personal interview can be considered as a two way model. It’s not just about whether the company finds you suitable to work with them or not. It also is about whether you want to work with the company or not.
- We have already discussed the questions that you may ask the interviewer. Have a look at them again. See what applies to you and which questions will help you to boost your decision to work with the company.
- Some of the questions will also help you to get an overall idea of company culture, expectations from you and what things you can do to gain an upper hand in the interview.
So, that’s it for the phone interview.
Don’t get and sound nervous during a phone interview.
It is a wonderful opportunity to display your interest, and calibre for the job. It is like an arrow which can go either way.
You can leave a very positive impression even before you’ve set the foot in the company or you can just eliminate all the chances of ever setting your foot in that company.
Phone Interview Tips – Final Word of Advice
Just remember the following key points.
- Always answer your phone. If that is not possible, then make it a habit of checking your call log and call back immediately unless of course it’s 2:30 in the morning.
- Make sure that your voicemail message is appropriate and it also includes your name. This way the interviewer will know that he has approached the right person. And also, an appropriate message will convince the interviewer that he is not approaching a psycho set loose.
- Maintain your tone and interest throughout the call. Make the interviewer feel that you are so happy that he has called.
- Give prompt and accurate answers to his questions. Be honest but do not deliver throat cutting honesty.
Never make a negative remark about your previous company or employer.
- Ask questions that you think will help you prepare for the interview and clarify any doubts in the mind of interviewer, if he has any.
That’s it people. Follow these simple rules and shine through the phone interviews. And make success a habit.