Tips for Telephone Interviews

Tips for Telephone Interviews

The tips on research and preparation still apply if your interview is by phone.

However, since the interviewer can’t see your facial expressions showing your enthusiasm, warmth, sincerity and confidence, you need to be extra aware of making that come across in a phone interview.

The interviewer also can not see if you have your resume and notes in front of you, so use that to your advantage in being prepared for the interview. Be sure you can’t be heard shuffling through papers though. Also, don’t let the papers be a distraction to you.

Have a list of the employers and jobs for which you’ve applied next to the phone so you can quickly reference the call if unexpected.

Why do employers use telephone interviews?

Phone interviews are cost effective and take less time than a live interview. In addition, they provide convenience to the interviewee. Some employers use telephone interviews in the screening process before bringing the “finalist candidates” on-site. Unscheduled telephone interviews let the prospective employer know how well the candidate can think on his or her feet. Phone interviews are used to confirm resume information and ask basic questions, such as experience, expertise, or knowledge level.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you have a copy of your resume, transcript, and the job description in front of you during the interview.
  • Practice going through a telephone interview.
  • Record a professional message for your voicemail.
  • Have a “canned” response ready for an interviewer if you are caught off guard.
  • Turn off the music or the television during the interview.
  • Do not eat, drink, or chew gum during the interview.
  • Do not type on your computer during the interview.
  • Do not ask the interviewer if he or she can call you back later.
  • Be enthusiastic – show interest in the position and the organization.
  • Ask pertinent questions about the job and company, not just about salary, benefits, and/or too general items.
  • Talk slowly and show self-confidence.
  • Thank the interviewer for his/her time.

Sample Questions for Telephone Interviews

  • Tell me about your most recent internship.
  • What interests you about working at our company?
  • Based on your research, what do you know about our organization?
  • What is your understanding of the position?
  • Are you currently authorized to work in the United States?
  • What would you consider an acceptable amount of travel?
  • In your opinion, what are the top three trends in the field today?
  • Based on the description that I have provided, what technical/nontechnical qualifications would you bring to the position?
  • What questions do you have for me?