How to nail the phone interview?

While it sounds less daunting than an in-person interview, it weaves the path to it.
Phone interviews can be tricky because you don't have your body language to rely on.

If you're someone who is looking for ways to prepare and nail a phone interview, then this is the place.

Keep the following points in mind while preparing for a phone interview:

This blog will guide you through:

  • The necessity of a phone interview and how to tackle those phone interview questions
  • A list of top phone interview questions along with phone interview questions and answers
  • How to prepare for a phone interview
  • Phone interview questions and answers examples
  • Tips and tricks to make the most of the phone interview

Our table of contents will assist you in guiding through our blog:

Phone Interview

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Getting a job is a long process of multiple interviews.
A phone interview is an initial step to get closer to getting that job you have often dreamed of.

Each company/organization has a set of rules or methods that they follow during the hiring process.
A phone interview is usually used as a screening process to gauge whether the candidate meets the minimum requirements for the desired profile.

Some organizations take multiple phone interviews before short-listing the candidate for an in-person interview.
While some take a single phone interview before calling for an in-person interview, it all depends on the company policy.

Since the interviewer cannot see you it becomes pertinent to keep your voice and tone in a friendly yet professional manner to keep them interested.

The first step to getting a job is having a stellar resume, based on which one gets shortlisted for a phone interview.

If you want to update your resume or give it a desired makeover, then visit our Online Resume Builder, with multiple pre-filled resume templates that you can tweak to your necessity.

How to prepare for a phone interview

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Leaving a good impression during the phone interview is important if you want to get shortlisted for further interviews.

If you are wondering how to prepare for a phone interview, then you've come to the right place.

Preparing for a phone interview is important to avoid any curve-balls thrown at you during the interview.

You can start by preparing the typical phone interview questions or the most common phone interview questions. There is a plethora of information about the same on the internet.

Research well about the company and the profile you are interviewing for.

Since it is a phone interview, you need to make sure of certain things to avoid any mistakes or mishaps during the interview-

  • Use a stable network provider, if your call is over the internet, then sit next to your wi-fi router or get the bandwidth increased to avoid any connection issues
  • Make sure that you have canceled all the sources of noise
  • While talking over the phone use proper enunciation to avoid miscommunication
  • Phone interviews depend a lot on your voice and tone since you don't have your body language to fall back on
  • Keep a steady polite and professional tone while conversing with the interviewer

Phone Interview Questions

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The best way to prepare for a phone interview is to prepare the most common phone interview questions or typical phone interview questions.

We have curated a list of common phone interview questions for you to get comfortable with them.

  • How did you find this job?
  • Tell me about yourself
  • Walk me through your resume
  • What you know about our company
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What do you do in your current job?
  • What are you looking for in your next job?
  • Why did you apply for this role/company?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • Under what management do you work best?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • When can you start?
  • Do you have any more questions?
  • Are you interviewing with other companies
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What's your five-year plan?

If you have prepared these questions before the interview, then it will turn out quite smoothly.

Phone interview questions and answers examples

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The previous section of the blog acquainted you with plausible questions that can be thrown at you during the phone interview.
Now we'll help you answer those questions by providing phone interview questions and answers examples.

1. Tell me about yourself

It is one of the most asked questions in an interview, be it a phone interview or in-person interview.
A lot of interviewers use this question as an ice-breaker, while others use it to ask you more questions concerning your answer.

Everyone knows it is the most common phone interview question, yet it can fluster people. Here is where planning ahead will come in handy.

You need to prepare your answer in advance, give it a proper structure and thought to what you want the recruiter to know about you that isn't already mentioned on the resume.

  • This answer will allow you the opportunity to set the tone for the rest of the interview
  • Use this answer to draw connections from your current/previous work profile to the targeted work profile
  • Mention your past achievements that display and support the skills mentioned in the job description
  • Use it as an ice-breaker to mention relevant hobbies or interests that are leaning towards community welfare and reflect well on your personality
  • Rehearse your answers in advance to avoid fumbling and mumbling

2. Walk me through your resume

Walk me through your resume is another version of tell me about yourself.
Here you will have to elucidate upon what you've already mentioned on your resume and give real-life instances and examples for it.

You should focus more on the skills and professional experience part or whatever relates well to the position you are applying for.

Mention how the skills honed will help you in the targeted profile and add to the company's benefit.

3. What do you know about our company?

This question is usually asked by the interviewer to check whether or not you have done your research.
While answering it don't just tell them the information you read on their website.

Before giving any interviewing doing proper research is of grave importance, you need to know what the organization does and how it works if you want to nail the interview.

Acknowledge their uniqueness and express what aspect of the company impressed you the most, along with that use it as an opportunity to display the research you have done on them, but don't go overboard with it.

You can talk about how you've watched this company grow over the years if that is a viable option depending upon the situation, or how the current working pattern of the company is going to lead it to unmatched heights.

You can also add your efficient skill sets, which will add to the company's growth.
A well researched and structured answer reflects on your interest in the job and the company and also leaves a lasting impression on the interviewer.

4. What are your strengths?

This is one of the most common questions asked during an interview.

It is a common question, but a difficult one. People often mistake this question for an easy one, and that costs them in the interview.

Your strengths are the skills that will set you apart from the other candidate's. It is also the question that exposes the candidates personality in front of the interviewers.

If you are too arrogant about your strengths, then that will lead to your downfall. If you're too humble, then you will sound under-confident.

Both cases will not bode well for you.

So what can you do?

You should have a list, if not a list, then at least a couple of strengths up your sleeves, for that you should spend time on the job description of the targeted profile.

When a recruiter asks you about your strengths, then don't just ramble on all the skills required and mentioned in the job description, be a little subtle.

Use a couple of skills that are mentioned, they can be soft-skills or technical, that is your call.

Use those skills to give an example from your experiences and if make use of quantifiable data to help support your claims.

Doing so will make a better option than the other candidates for the job.

5. What is your 5-year plan?

Another inevitable question that you will have to face during the interview or somewhere in the hiring process.

Your answer to this question determines the recruiter's judgment about you.
The reason for interviewers to ask you this question is to understand whether or not your career goals align with their company.

Recruiters want people who will stay put with the company for a long time, because hiring a new person every other day costs the company a lot of its time and money, and no one wants to do that.

Knowing the above-mentioned information might have already helped you in framing the answer for this phone interview question, read further for more information.

While answering this question, you can mention the reasons for applying to this company and how the their work in your field was eye-catching for you.

Your career goal aligns with their company is the winning point that every recruiter is looking for.

6. What are your salary expectations?

This question often sounds like a trick question, but it is fairly simple.

Previously in this blog we have asserted the importance of doing excellent research before a phone interview, here we will ask you to do the same.

Talking about salary requirements/expectations is usually done during later interviews, however if the interviewer brings this is up in the initial phone interview, then try to give a vague answer.

You can do that by redirecting the course of that answer and tell them that for now, you are looking for the best fit and salary can be discussed later, and if they persist, then you can give them a range.

Now, what that range should be? Here comes the research part, you can research about the company and your targeted profile along with the amount of experience and education you have and then give them a number.

It is advisable to not bring up salary from your side in the phone interview unless they ask you, also add words like approx or negotiable while giving them a number in the initial phone interview.

7. Why did you leave your previous job?

There can be numerous reasons for you to leave the job, it can be the tyrant employer or toxic culture, but you're not supposed to bad mouth the previous employer.

There are multiple answers to this question, you can choose the one that fits well with your situation:

  • You wanted to grow ahead in your career and the previous workplace was not a great fit for my growth as an employee
  • You didn't want to affect your discontentment at that company to affect the quality of work you produce
  • You wanted to explore more options and see where you can reach with the skill sets acquired through the years
  • You were bored with the work and needed new challenges to move ahead in your career trajectory

These are a few options you can choose from, or you can mold these answers to your benefit and use them in the phone interview.

8. What are your weaknesses?

This question usually makes people uncomfortable, as they are unsure of how to answer it.

We'll tell you how. There are several approaches you can take to answer this question.

You can talk about non-essential skills for the targeted profile, expand on how it is not your best suit and you are constantly trying to overcome it or get better at it. The skill you mentioned mustn't be an essential skill for the targeted profile.

You can mention another skill that you have improved over the years, you can tell the interviewer about how you started with that skill and how far you have come in improving it.

You can also turn a negative into a positive, how you have used your perfectionism or punctuality for the growth and betterment of the company instead of letting it get to you.

These are a few ways for you to approach this question and impress the interviewer.

Questions to ask in a phone interview

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Once the interview moves towards the end, the interviewer asks you if you have any questions and often people respond with a no.

It is the biggest mistake that you make in your near-perfect phone interview.

The reason employers ask this question is to assess your interest and attention span, hence you need to ask the interviewer something.

What can you possibly ask?

Well, there are numerous options for that, and we have created a list of questions to ask in a phone interview:

  • What are you looking for in the ideal candidate?
  • How is the company culture?
  • Who will I be reporting to?
  • What are the primary responsibilities for this job profile?
  • If I am hired, when am I expected to start?
  • What will my day-to-day schedule look like?
  • Can you tell me more about the new company policies?
  • Will I have to travel?
  • Can you tell me more about the team I'll be working with?
  • Do you have any more questions for me?

After reading these questions, you can easily prepare phone interview questions to ask.

Phone Interview tips

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A phone interview sounds less daunting than an in-person interview.

However, it is a stepping stone towards the job you have applied for, and nailing this interview is important and pertinent for getting shortlisted for the next round.

Here are a few phone interview tips for you, that will help you in preparing for the phone interview in a better way:

Don't take a call in public space

Giving a phone interview seems easier and sounds more comfortable since the interviewer wouldn't be there in front of you.

However, it is important to display basic interview etiquette even during a phone interview. Taking a call in a public space is a big no.

The number of things that can go wrong during that are endless, but foremost it is disrespectful and will reflect poorly on your candidature.

Take a call in a closed environment, block any source of noise possible, make it as professional as you can from your end, and that will surely impress the recruiter.

Take notes

You must be wondering that should you take notes during a phone interview?

Well, we'll tell you why. Taking notes helps you in retaining all the useful information that is exchanged during the interview.

Those notes can help you navigate through the interview and ask relevant questions to the interviewer.

If you'll note a minor detail that the interviewer mentioned and later during the interview you can recall that piece of information and ask a question around it or mention it in passing, it will help you look like a detail-oriented person who is interested in the job with a good presence of mind.

Check your connection prior to the interview

A phone interview is usually done over the phone or through the internet, it becomes necessary to have a decent connection.

People rarely make necessary arrangements in advance and spend most of their time during the interview asking, 'can you hear me?'

If you don't want that to happen to you, it is advisable to keep your network provider in check and make sure that all the connections are working properly.

This will ensure the smooth running of your interview.

Do a Mock Interview

Preparing ahead is the best strategy to ensure a good interview. If you want to avoid silly mistakes and appear as the best option for that position, then you should probably do a mock interview.

Doing a mock interview will make you familiar with any mistakes or mishaps that can happen during the interview; it will also give you enough time to sort out those issues and be better prepared for the original phone interview.

You can ask a friend or a family member to act as an interviewer over the phone and provide them with a list of the most common interview questions.

Doing so will highlight your strengths and weaknesses and make it easier for you to do better during the real interview.

Prepare and rehearse your answers

The easiest way to prepare for a phone interview is to rehearse all the typical phone interview questions in advance.

Rehearsing the questions in advance will help you structure, frame, and enunciate your answers better.

There are a couple of questions that recruiters almost always ask, so instead of spinning up answers on the spot, you can prepare them and rehearse them before the interview.

If you don't have anyone to help you, then you can also record your answers and review them to see where you fumbled or which answers were flawless.

Preparing and rehearsing most common phone interview questions will not ensure that only those questions will come up during the interview, but it will give a certain level of confidence and familiarity with the questions that will work in your favor.

Here is a recap of the tips for a phone interview:

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Interview Prep

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If you have any more questions or reservations about phone interview questions and answers or questions to ask in a phone interview or you need more phone interview questions and answers examples, you can make use of Hiration's Interview Prep tool.

This tool will provide you:

  • 20,000+ questions with sample answers
  • An overview/objective of each question
  • What the interviewer is expecting
  • Easily search job interview questions and answers for 150+ work profiles
  • Option to search for specific questions
  • Link to additional information for that job and question

Key Takeaways

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Here are some of the key takeaways from our phone interview questions blog:

  • Phone interview acts as a screening process to check whether you meet the basic minimum requirements for the targeted profile
  • The how to prepare for a phone interview section walks you through the steps you need to take to prepare well for the phone interview
  • You need to rehearse your answers in advance to avoid any mishaps during the phone interview, make use of best questions to ask in an interview
  • Go through the top phone interview questions before the interview
  • Note the phone interview tips provided in the blog to ace the phone interview
  • Make use of Interview Prep tool by Hiration for better preparation

With this we come to the end of our blog. The first step to getting shortlisted for a phone interview is a stellar resume, you can use Hiration's Online Resume Builder to make a new resume or update the existing one.

If you have any more questions or queries, you can write to us at team@hiration.com and we'll revert to you as soon as possible.