25 Phone Interview Tips to Get You to the Next Round

We don’t like phone interviews, and we know that you don’t too. You can show me hardly one person out of ten who might like phone interviews, and we will make them introspect. The point is there’s nothing extremely easier about getting a call where you will be interviewed. You can’t see the person, his/her body language, physical cues and facial expressions that remind yourself to talk slowly. 

On top of that, you shall constantly worry about the background noises as well. Unfortunately, job opportunities start with phone interviews. Post Covid, with all the work from home culture, the phone interviews are only going to hike in number. They don’t get hard if you prepare for them with a set of tips from professional recruiters. 

Here’s a list of the best questions that you might be asked during a phone interview. Keep a note!

Before picking up that phone call, here is a list of things you need to remind yourself

• Understand who’s calling from where, and why.

• Write about the schedules and the scheduling, followed by proper spellcheck.

• Read the job description and understand what the job is demanding from you.

• Research the organization details either by visiting the website or LinkedIn.

• Prepare the salary requirements that you want.

• Use headphones for clarity, and make sure that there is no background noise.

• Pull up the resume and the necessary documents on your professional profiles.

• Slow down, take a breath and make sure you’re confident.

• Prepare some questions to ask the interviewer towards the end.

• Whatever the question is, make sure you’re professional and polite.

• Let them interrupt you by writing a follow-up mail.

• Don’t be scared to communicate if you are looking to reschedule.

• Even if you think that the interview went bad, ask if they have questions for you.

As soon as you hear from the person who is conducting the phone interview, do a professional search to figure out the role at the company. Often, an HR or a potential boss will be calling you, which means they’re going to ask you the basic questions about work inclusive of position entails and work history.

Some interview questions you might face

• Tell us about work history and work experiences.

• Why do you want to leave the current company, and how is it different from us?

• Describe your substantial success in dealing with conflicts at last position.

• What’s the biggest challenge at the current position, and how did you solve it?

• What’s your favorite thing to do, in the last position?

• How do you work well with the team?

• Why are you interested in working with us?

• What makes you a potential candidate for this job?

• Why are you attracted to this particular position?

• When can you go for an in-person interview?

• If you’re applying for a job in another city, are you willing to relocate?

• How far are you in search of a job? Are you speaking to another organization?

• Tell me about this specific experience listed on the resume?

• What are your salary requirements?

• Where do you see yourself in the coming five years?

• What questions do you have for me?

Phone interview tips

Phone interviews are important as in-person interviews, so preparing for them can influence success. If your interviewer chooses to do an initial interview, it is important to be successful in the first round so that you can move to the next. Here is a list of 25 tips to consider while preparing for a phone interview:

1. Confirm the scheduled day and time: Before the day of the interview, confirm the date and time for you to pick up when the calls come in. Write down the time, add it to the calendar and set it as a reminder on the phone. There are ways through which you can make yourself ready for the scheduled interviews. By having punctuality, you can indeed make a good first impression.

2. Reschedule if you can’t make it: If you’re not able to take the call at the suggested time and date, consider suggesting other available times that are convenient to you. Offer a few options that work well and discuss a time that’s accommodating for both of you. Rescheduling if you have a conflict ensures that you’re ready for the interview. It also promotes transparent communication which is one of the skills that the employers look for.

3. Research about the organization: Review the website, the social media handles and the recent activity to know about the company’s culture, goals and values. Know the company which you’re interviewing as it provides you with good insights. Make notes of all the details about the company while mentioning them during the rise of opportunity. For example, if the company makes an acquisition, you can mention the same to the interviewer. Through this, the interviewer will know that you’re extremely passionate about the work. It will also let you think of all the questions that you want to ask at the end of the interview. 

4. Know who will be calling: In most cases, you’ll either be interviewed by a hiring manager, or someone from the recruiting team. If the organization is small, you can directly approach the supervisor by doing an online search. Learn about the members of the organization to determine who will be interviewing you. In case if you are being interviewed by a recruiter, you will be asked more general questions regarding your experience. If you are being interviewed by a direct supervisor, make sure you get in-depth questions that are related to the industry.

5. Comprehend the job description: Understanding what the employer is looking for in an employee gives you all the responsibilities which will help you tailor the answers to various questions. If the organisation is looking for an employee with certain skills and who have experience in creating graphics, you will have to mention that in the interview highlighting your commendable works.

6. Be professional throughout the interview: It is important to be kind and respectful even when the other person is not. This kind of tone will leave a good impression. At times, the employer might intentionally act rude to be sure of their hiring decision. Remember that you have to work with them in future if hired. So, it is extremely important to be professional with the tone and the answers.

7. Listen actively without distractions: Be attentive about all the questions through which you can engage with the recruiter. Your listening ability will decide that if you’re serious about the interview or if you’re doing it as an option. Practice listening with friends and family to know things. Make sure you’re listening to each and every word, follow up all the questions and respond amply to show that you are actively listening.

8. Smile: Even though you are speaking on the phone, make sure that you smile through the interview. Smiling creates a positive mood. Though the interviewer will not be able to see it visually, they will hear it. Practice smiling as you speak with family or in the mirror.

9. Let them know your salary expectations: It's an obvious thing that you will be asked your salary expectations. Firstly, start with researching the average salary in the industry when you’re considering getting paid. Don’t quote high salaries; be reasonable about them. It is wise to offer them an average salary range and in case if you are experienced, tell that you are expecting more but are also flexible with terms if there are any limitations.

10. Have your CV and resume ready: The interviewer will ask the questions that are listed in the portfolio or the resume. Make sure that you readied all the necessary documents so that you can either have them open on the computer or print them to have them before your eyes.

11. Prepare the notes: If you are certain about mentioning things in the interviews, such as qualifications, specific job duties at the previous job, do it. These things might let them see how you fit the job description. Make a note of them in your portfolio/resume and refer to them. Make sure all your notes are legible so that you can readily access them.

12. Consider interview questions: Research all the interview questions to know what you’re expecting from it. Determine the questions that might help you gain confidence, and this way, you will also know what to expect from work. By googling and knowing all the highly anticipated questions and answers, you can ease your nerves in the interview.

13. Prepare for personal questions: After researching the professional questions, consider answering personal questions as well. Write about the potential personal questions and make a bullet list. List all the answers by highlighting your experiences so that you can beautifully draw the demonstrations. As you will be on the phone, it will be helpful to have noted during the interview. Rehearse all the answers without looking at it, for practice.

14. Be communicative: Maintain a friendly tone rather sounding extremely formal. The interviewer shall not know that you have rehearsed everything. Soundless like a robot and more like a human. To make sure you’re friendly, record a conversation while you’re speaking with a friend or family. Ask them to give feedback about voice, slang, speaking speed and words that you’re using. Playback the recording and determine how you can improve it. During the interview, be polite and engage in small talk as well.

15. Articulate the words: Carefully articulate your words while answering questions. Interviewers will be able to understand you as they observe your communication skills. Work on what’s important to the industry along with what’s important to you. This way, you will also be able to analyse your own communication skills and can work on them later. Make sure whatever sentences that come out of your mouth are neat so that you can be accountable to them.

16. Take proper notes: Taking notes through the interview is extremely important. You can note whatever the interviewer has discussed using a pen/paper or a computer. Once the interview is ended, you can use them to refer – salaries, responsibilities, information or other job-related details that you have discussed with them. Especially when you’re giving multiple interviews, notes will help you keep track of all.

17. Dress up: Yes, we know that it’s a phone interview. But try and consider dressing as in if you are giving an in-person interview. Sit tall and boost confidence through your posture. By not being in pyjamas and slouching on the couch, you can create a huge difference in the way you speak.

18. Find a quiet environment: Find a quiet space that you can use so that you and the interviewer are clear to each other. In low background noise, you can almost listen to everything that they have to say to get the needed information. Turn off all the music devices and the television. Close the doors and be in a room all by yourself. In case if you know that someone else might disturb you, warn them not to. Remove all the noise to demonstrate your courtesy so that the interviewer will understand that you're a professional who is taking this job opportunity, seriously.

19. Get rid of distractions: As you wait for the call, don’t give in to distractions. Apart from turning all the music devices and televisions off, close all the tabs on your computer as well. Make sure the apps on your phone are off so that you give your whole focus to the interview. You can let all your potential callers know that you won’t be able to take any calls for a particular interval, including the duration that you need for preparation of the interview.

20. Set a voicemail: In case if you can’t answer the phone for the first time, leave them a good impression by having a professional voicemail. For example, if you’re busy and your phone is somewhere, make sure your callers are redirected to something like, “Hi, you have reached X. I am sorry to miss your call. Please leave a message and a call back number. I will get back to you. Thank you”.

21. Prepare to ask questions: As mentioned earlier, all the interviewers want to know if you’re interested in the position that you’re applying for. Show them your interest by asking them questions towards the end like: 

• What are the challenges involved?

• What is the environment at the organization like?

• What is the daily workload?

• Why do you love your company, and what makes you love it?

22. Ask what’s next: Asking the interviewer about what’s next is very important, and it is also a way to express your continued interest. While some employers readily offer you the job, some would want you to attend an in-person interview before you narrow things down. Knowing this, the question of what's next will give you an idea on what to expect and when to expect from them.

23. Send regards: Soon after the interview, compose a thank you mail to your interviewer. Make sure you thank them irrespective of however the interview went because they have taken time to consider you. Include the details that you have discussed to express your continued interest. It is important to address the interviewer at least within 24 hours. If there’s something that you haven’t mentioned in the interview, you can ask them to elaborate more on that topic as well.

24. Keep your mobile ready: If you’re using a cell phone, be sure that it is charged and is in perfect working condition on the interview day. It is a good idea to do a test call. Have someone call you to make sure that your audio line is working properly so that you won’t have hassles during the call. Be ready before 15 minutes of the interview with a properly working phone.

25. Follow up: Sometimes you won’t hear back from the interviewer, and that’s okay. Take a week or two to consider the opportunities. It is possible that they are interviewing other candidates, and they need time to filter them. Even in the event they are not, it is good to follow them up so that they can narrow the selection based on your interest.

That being said, giving a phone interview is not an easy task. Do not consider it as one. You are more likely to have a good outcome out of it if you follow all of these tips. Irrespective of the result, preparing for a phonic interview is a great learning experience that will help you act wisely in the future. Be confident, smile and leave a positive impression.