Have you ever sent resumes to ten different companies, and after a few days, only half of them contacted you? Since the others are missing in action, you thought they’d never respond. But suddenly, one of them calls you, and you’re unprepared! They talked and gave their pleasantries, but you can’t exactly remember which position you applied to in the company. So you improvised, and as far as improvisations go, you failed.
This experience must have been stressful. It may not be the exact scenario, but we’ve all been there. Perhaps most of us dreaded that moment up to this day.
Crafting a great resume and finding a job is stressful enough, so a few surprises here and there may be too much to handle. To help you prevent experiencing this incident again, we rounded up the best phone job interview tips for you to ace it.
But first, what happens in a phone job interview?
Before nailing a phone job interview, you need to know what happens in one. Here’s a brief list to know what to expect during a phone interview:
- Recruiters are checking if you’re fit for the job, so they will ask:
- work-related questions;
- your career history; and
- some standard questions about your personal life (like a place to stay near the workplace, if you live far, or your earliest availability to work).
- Although there will still be more interviews to follow before the job offer, some HRs will ask about your salary expectations.
Six Phone Job Interview Tips
There are phone job interviewers that call unscheduled. If they did and you’re not available, respectfully say, “Hello! It’s great to hear from you. I am currently on an urgent matter, and I’m afraid I can’t give this interview the attention it deserves. What is the best time to call you back?” While other recruiters will be pissed or eliminate you, it pays to be honest if situations do not permit it.
Nonetheless, most recruiters or HR officers text or email ahead of time to schedule a phone job interview. To ace the interview, give time to study the following tips:
1. Research about the company and keep your notes handy
We cannot stress enough the importance of researching the company, even if you’re only given 10 minutes to do so. Studying about the work values, company culture, and the position you’re applying for gives you an idea of what to expect should you get in the organization. It also lets you determine if you want to pursue a career in the company.
To not mess up the phone job interview, it will be helpful to keep your notes beside you. Your list could also include industry buzzwords to guide your answers.
2. Practice possible Q&As
Practice makes anyone perfect. To ace the phone job interview, make sure to generate a list of possible questions that recruiters throw at you. It’s also helpful to study the worst ones. After making a list, write down your answers and take note of the keywords.
It’s also a great practice to do a mock interview with a friend or family member. Best to record it so you can hear what you sound like over the phone.
We also gathered the most common questions and provided sample answers for you to note, but let’s talk about that later.
3. Bring the conversation to a quiet place
The loud honking of cars, the barking of dogs, crowing of chickens, or TV noises do not only steal your attention from the conversation. They can also negatively affect the quality of the phone job interview. Staying in a quiet place during the call helps you stay focused and hear what the other person says.
Also, do not forget to turn off your notifications or any smart devices that can distract you, should it ping or ring.
4. Smile as if the interviewer can see you
It may sound silly, but smiling during a phone job interview helps at keeping the conversation positive. The other person may not see it, but a light and relaxed smile will translate to a calm, controlled, and positive feeling. It also lets the other person sense that you are confident throughout the conversation.
While your skills and experiences get you the job, your pleasant personality will coax them to consider you for the next steps in the interview.
5. Be at your best behavior
Keep a positive behavior throughout the conversation. While it’s necessary to be calm during the interview, this doesn’t mean you should be too friendly to the point of being unprofessional.
Set a warm but polite tone during the call. This is not about organizational hierarchy; it’s about paying respect to the person giving you an opportunity in the company.
6. Ask questions
After every interview, recruiters always ask if you have questions for them. No matter how shy you are, always ask a question. No inquiry is ever irrelevant to them.
Asking questions also shows that you’re engaged in the conversation, thus interested in the position. A candidate that’s not interested in a job will make sure to end the interview as fast as possible.
More Tips: Four Don’ts During a Phone Job Interview
There’s a famous line in a commercial that goes like, “You never get to have a second chance to make a first great impression.” So, get this opportunity to present yourself in the best way possible.
As a start, take note of the don’ts during the conversation:
1. Don’t presume that the reception is good
Nothing’s worse than having too many things to say, but the other person missed them because of bad reception. You know your house, so you know which part gets the worst reception. Stay in a place where you’re sure that the connection is excellent.
2. Don’t be late
Just because it’s a phone job interview doesn’t mean it is less important. Take it seriously, and by that, be ready at the scheduled time. If the interviewer is late after 15 to 20 minutes, you should give him a call yourself. This way, you’ll know whether or not they will reschedule the interview.
3. Don’t call them by their first name unless they ask you to
It’s always a best practice to address your recruiters with a Mr. or Ms. You can only call them using their first name if they specifically ask you to. Don’t expect that familiarity is welcome because that could seem disrespectful to some.
4. Don’t put the recruiter on hold
Never make the mistake of putting the interviewer on hold to take another call. The interviewer you are currently speaking with is the priority. However, if you are expecting extremely urgent news, be sure to let the recruiter know ahead of time.
Phone Job Interview Cheat Sheet
It always feels different when you are prepared with all the questions the interviewer throws at you. You feel more confident to go through the interview. Thus, we gathered for you the common phone interview questions to prepare you ahead. After every sample question is the best answer that you should provide.
“Tell us about yourself.”
This question is, by far, the most common question in every job interview. It’s designed to be like an elevator pitch — to sell yourself in 30 seconds. Try to mention any recent achievements that will make you memorable.
You could say something like, “I graduated two years ago with a degree in Advertising. I took a job in Swarovski as a social media associate and had the opportunity to lead a team in building the website. The challenge in successfully launching the brand’s dot com has been fun. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, I was forced to let go. Now, I am looking forward to working in an organization where I can apply my skills and knowledge in the area, and at the same time, build a great relationship with the team. And I believe I can do it at ABC Company.”
“How is your job search going so far?”
Yes, you’re struggling to find a job, but the interviewer doesn’t know that. The last thing you want them to know is that you’re desperate for a job. This may put your negotiating power poorly, should you request for benefits negotiation in the future. Play your cards well, and construct your answers in a professional, honest, and reserved manner.
When they ask this question, reply with something like, “So far, they are going great. I am still in the first stage of my job search. I expect to have a video interview with other companies soon.”
“What are your salary expectations?”
Your salary or compensation benefits matter just as much as the work experience itself. It’s best to discuss this topic face-to-face or in a video conference.
The best strategy for this phone job interview question is to tell them you don’t have a number in mind as of the moment. Say something like this, “At the moment, I don’t have a specific number in mind. I am more focused on looking for a job right now. Can I kindly get back to you on this question if you allow me to proceed on the next step?“
Use these tips to ace your phone job interview
After the interview, end the conversation by asking when you can expect news about the next steps. This way, you can follow up when the time has passed. Make sure also to send a “Thank You” email! It shows that you are invested in the role and interested in working for the organization.
Sending all good juju your way!
To prepare yourself more for upcoming job interviews, check out our other guides.