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Telephone Interview Questions and Answers

We've collated some of the best telephone interview questions and answers and tips to help you succeed in your telephone interview. You can provide comments and feedback on these telephone interview articles at the bottom of the page.

What is a Telephone Interview

There are two types of telephone interviews, scheduled and unscheduled. A telephone job interview may be scheduled with you at an agreed time and date for a couple of reasons:

· The employer or agency may be going through an initial screening process and the first step is a telephone interview. 
· It could be an interview with a company where one of the decision makers is out-of-town and unable to meet you in person.

Unscheduled job interviews are typically a phone call to the number you have on your resume. If you are actively job searching you could receive a phone call at anytime. Generally, they are a result of your CV/Resume being posted on-line, mailing or delivering your resume to prospective employers or completing job applications. The purpose of the call is usually to check some details, confirm if you are still looking for work, or to schedule an appointment for an interview.

You will often receive these calls when you least expect them. You should be asked if it is convenient to talk and if it's an awkward time for you (for a really good reason), say so and while not ideal, agree to another time. Or, offer to call the person back at a time convenient for them. No matter how short the conversation is, always be friendly, professional and positive by saying that you are glad they called; you are very interested in the position/company and would be delighted to talk further.

Regardless of the reason for a telephone job interview you must be prepared and always treat this informal telephone conversation as part of the interview process. When actively job searching, it's a good idea to leave a notepad, pen and a copy of your resume easily accessible by the phone.

What you should know and do before you take your telephone interview

1. The obvious first step is to get a copy of the job description. If you are applying for a particular type of role, it is useful to keep a "swipe file" of similar job descriptions which you can compare and contrast with the particular role you are going for. If you think the recruiter or company has not included something they should have, you can ask if that particular skill or area of expertise would be required. Psychologically that will often help you to take control of the interview, often with a very surprised interviewer! And will put you ahead of other candidates who have not researched as diligently.

2. Research to discover all you can about the organization, and particularly what has been written in the financial columns both about the company and it's competitors.

3. Keep a copy of your application letter next to the telephone. Your application letter should have both details of the company's requirements and how you match those requirements. This acts as a valuable aide memoire.

4. Also have a copy of your CV / resume ready as the interviewer may refer to various episodes in your career and you need to have the details readily to hand.

5. It goes without saying to have a notepad and pen at the ready.

6. Practice talking about your achievements and abilities. This makes it so much easier when someone asks a direct question. You will have got over the initial feeling of self consciousness by going over those things first.

7. Be specific about what you have achieved. Avoid the temptation to " waffle " when you don't know the answer. There is no shame in admitting that you do not know about something. Better to admit to it as the other candidates may be in just the same position.

8. Be aware that many interviewers want to know about your management style. Study the company culture by looking at their website, news articles etc. Use sites such as LinkedIn to find people who have worked at the company and ask them.

9. Professional presenters will tell you that it is a good idea to stand during a telephone interview. This makes you sound more confident and helps project a positive and professional image and that smiling creates a friendly and enthusiastic impression. A client of mine who was in sales said that he used to watch videos of comedians on YouTube before speaking to people on the phone! He said it relaxed him and the inflection in his made his prospects relax

10. Make sure that other family members know you are expecting the phone interview and keep the line clear and away from the the area you are using so will not be disturbed during the phone call.

11. Lock all dogs in rooms where their barking cannot be heard!

More tips for your telephone interview

Here are some quick tips on how to be successful on a telephone job interview.

Be up front with the interviewer on the other end of the phone. You should try to start the interview with something like" I know not being able to see each other causes some challenges for this interview. If there is anything that I say that requires further clarification please feel free to let me know at any time." By doing this you are setting the tone of the conversation.

You should have your list of questions for the interviewer, resume and other information right in front of you. This is why phone interviews can have a tendency to be easier. It is almost the same thing as having an open book test. Any time a question is asked about the company or whatever you can refer to your info and naturally respond to the question.

This is something I learned during my sales career and also applies to a telephone interview, stand up during the call. You can obviously do this by using a cordless phone or headset. Do not use a cell phone. We all know that occasionally and usually at the worst times cell phone service disappears. When you walk around and are animated while on the phone your energy and exuberance goes through on the phone. Being vibrant and enthusiastic is something employers look for.

Asking questions during a phone interview is extremely important. By doing so you are making sure that the person on the other end is fully engaged in the conversation but you are also showing that you are too. Asking questions like "Have I properly understood the question and answered it fully?" and "Does that make sense?" show that you care about the persons time on the other end of the phone and do not want to get off track.

The most irritating thing and something that could definitely blow the telephone interview is interrupting the interviewer. Allow the potential employer to finish what they where saying and then respond. Also have a piece of paper and pen handy to take notes and remember any questions that come up while the interviewer is speaking. By doing so you will not forget important points and can let the person complete speaking.

Finally dress for success even though it is a telephone interview. I know it sound silly but by dressing for the interview you will do better because you will be in the right mind set. You will come through on the phone a lot different dressed in a suit then if you are in your pajamas.

Telephone Interview Mistakes to Avoid

One of the most challenging interview types is the phone interview. It is this crucial 2nd impression that will determine if you will land the job. One of the first mistakes to avoid is to not prepare for the phone interview. One simple secret is to practice, practice, and practice telephone answers. Get a list of sample interview questions, if you don't have one Google it or get it from my website below.

The next step is to find a friend that can give you constructive criticism on your interview answers. For me it's my mother, my mother can grill me alive with interview questions and I can't get upset with her.

On the phone interview the number one mistake you can make is to sound flat or monotone. The person interviewing you will attempt to visualize you in there head. So it is imperative that you have an upbeat and positive tone when talking to your potential employer. An easy way to sound enthusiastic is to listen to your favorite upbeat song. For me its theme song to the rocky movies this always gets me in gear for speaking.

A second way to pump up your enthusiasm interview is to get a good workout right before the telephone interview. By getting your heart rate up and blood pumping you create oxygen for your brain this will help you think on the fly with your telephone answers. Since you're not doing a visual interview the employer can't smell those old gym socks.

And one of the most crucial mistakes to make is to not sound confident in your answers. If you can't sound confident in your telephone interview the employer will move on to the next candidate. One way to ensure that you sound confident is to answer the question in your head before you speak. By answering the interviewer's question in your mind you can work out any problems with your response. Another way to respond confidently is to slow down with your answers, remember that your telephone interview is slotted for at least an hour. Don't rush your statements.

Finally make sure that you are prepared and organized doing before the telephone interview. If there is any opportunity for noise during your call eliminate it Advise family and friends not to call during that time frame so there will be no unnecessary interruptions. By avoiding these critical mistakes, you will give yourself an excellent chance at landing your dream job.

Telephone Interview Questions

In the following paragraphs we're going to show you common phone interview questions to ask, whether you are the employer or the applicant. First, we'll list several questions that an applicant should ask at the last stage of the phone interview. Then, we'll give you some crucial questions every interviewer should ask his applicant in order to screen him before accepting him to the face to face interview.

Telephone interview questions to ask the employer: remember, you don't have to ask all these questions, but you have enough time during a phone interview to ask a few of these:

- What happened to the last person who held this job?

- What are the career steps for this position?

- What's the most challenging part of this job?

- How many days per week is overtime expected?

- How is this job going to be day-to-day?

- When will you contact me next?

- What can you tell me about payment at this time?

- What are the training programs in your company?

- Describe the ideal candidate.

- What's next after this interview?

- If you hire me, when can I start?

List of Phone interview questions to ask the candidate: don't forget, these are the questions an interviewer will ask the applicant. If you're an applicant try to reply these questions:

- What's your experience in this domain?

- Why did you leave your last job?

- How much money do you need performing this job?

- Is team play one of your qualities?

- Why should we pick you for this position?

- Describe your greatest professional performance.

- Describe your worst professional moment.

- How willing are you to work overtime?

- What really bothers you at fellow workers?

- Can you work under pressure? Give me an example.

- What's your biggest defect.

- Describe your main strengths

- Did anyone fire you?

- Do you think of yourself as a successful man/woman?

- What do you know about our company?

- Are you applying for other jobs too?

- How did you improve your skills in the last year?

- If you're hired, how long would you expect to work for us?

These are some of the most common phone interview questions. Knowing and using them will help you no matter if you're an applicant or the employer. Best of luck at your next phone interview!

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