Successful Telephone Interviews


What to do on a phone Interview

The step that separates you from walking into the company’s offices wearing a sharp suit is the phone interview. You have to make a good enough impression so that the company would like to see you in person.

Phone interviews allow employers to screen potential employees without committing valuable resources in order to organize an on-site interview.

It takes a few weeks before you receive a response for one of the applications that you submitted. Now that you have gone through this course, you will probably be advanced to the next stage of selection; phone interviews.

It is very important to fully read the e-mail that you receive. It contains valuable information that can give you great insight regarding the future interview. Sometimes you will receive a phone call that will schedule the interview. If that happens, make sure that you ask what the interview is going to be about – whether you have to prepare for any technical questions, etc.

And make no mistake about it; a phone interview is an interview. You need to prepare for it. It’s important to spend enough time researching the company and the position you are applying for. However, before we get on to that, I would like to advise you on a few important matters concerning your phone interview:

  • Use a good phone – It is very important to fully understand the other person and that he/she can hear you as well. Make sure that this is the case with the phone you use; if you have any doubts about it, ask a friend for his phone or take the call from your domestic phone
  • Make sure that you have battery – Once I interviewed with a very important Investment Bank and my battery fell and although we continued the conversation 15 minutes later, you can imagine the kind of impression that this whole scene produced
  • Control your environment – It is absolutely critical that you receive the call in a silent room that allows you to concentrate on the interview; otherwise, you risk being distracted and losing your focus
  • Stay calm – this is the tough part, especially when you want the job you are interviewing for. Preparation and practice are the best cure. Write-down several questions that you are likely to come across during the interview and practice providing the answers to these questions. Answering familiar questions will be less stressful. Another thing that has worked really well for me is taking a few very deep breaths before answering and trying to smile during the interview. There are two reasons for that: first, the phone interview is an experience and I want to enjoy it (regardless of the fact that it’s stressful) and second, I believe that a smiling person sounds better on the other end of the phone, which has a great impact on the overall impression that the interviewer will have.

How to end your Phone Interview

Once you have answered the interviewer’s questions, he will ask you whether you have any questions that you would like to ask. You should be prepared for this. In fact, you can include a fourth topic in your cheat sheets – “my questions”. You will make a great impression if you manage to show interest in the job by asking thoughtful questions. For example, you may ask “Can you please describe to me the team I will be working with?” or “What makes for a great employee at the position under consideration?” These questions will do the trick. They show you are highly interested in the job. The fact that you ask about the team shows that you are not self-centered and imagine yourself working within a team, which is very good. Asking what makes for a great employee means you are interested in becoming one and by coincidence or not, this is precisely what the interviewer is looking for.

In case you have the e-mail of the person who interviewed you, it is highly recommended that you write a short thank you note after the interview.

Basically, you should thank the interviewer for his/her time and express interest in the position that you discussed. You should know that you won’t necessarily get an e-mail reply. Be patient and wait for the results from your interview to come in. A follow-up e- mail is a good way to make an impression, given that many candidates don’t send one.

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