Tips For Preparing For A Phone Interview

Tips For Preparing For A Phone Interview

In today’s fast-paced professional world, phone interviews have become an integral part of the hiring process. Hiring managers receive applications from many other candidates. A phone interview is often used as an initial screening to identify which candidates to move forward with without having to organise a face-to-face interview with every single one.

Whether you’re a seasoned job seeker or you’re just starting your career journey, acing a phone interview is a crucial skill to possess. To help you navigate this pivotal step toward your dream job, we’ve put together our top tips on how to prepare for a phone interview, including some phone interview questions to practise. So without further ado, let’s get into it!

Research the company

Take the time to thoroughly research the company you’re interviewing with. Understand their mission, values, products or services, and recent news or developments. This knowledge will demonstrate your genuine interest and enthusiasm during the conversation.

Review common phone interview questions

Prepare yourself by familiarising yourself with common phone interview questions. Practise your responses to questions about your experience, strengths, weaknesses, and why you’re interested in the position. Being prepared will help you sound confident and articulate during the interview.

Examples include:

Tell me a little bit about yourself

Phone interviewers often ask this question to gain an initial understanding of who you are as a candidate and to assess your communication skills and ability to provide a concise and relevant summary of your background.

To answer this question effectively, it’s important to provide a brief overview of your professional background, focusing on experiences and skills that are most relevant to the position you’re applying for. You should also briefly mention some personal attributes, transferable skills, hobbies, or goals so that the interviewer can gather an understanding of you as a person. Remember, on-the-job skills and experience aren’t everything. Often it’s how you come across as a person that attracts the hiring manager.

What are you looking for in a job?

This question is asked to gain insights into your career aspirations, motivations, and whether your expectations align with the job and the company. It’s best to answer the question truthfully and honestly even if you don’t think it’s what you don’t think the interviewer wants to hear. By expressing your genuine preferences, you increase the likelihood of finding a job that brings you satisfaction and fulfilment. If you are dishonest and end up in a role that doesn’t align with your true aspirations, you may become dissatisfied, leading to decreased motivation and potentially seeking new opportunities shortly after starting.

Consider your priorities, motivations, and what you value in a job. Reflect on the specific position and company to tailor your response accordingly. It’s beneficial to highlight aspects such as career growth opportunities, challenges that will allow you to learn and develop, alignment with your skills and interests, a positive work environment, and the chance to make a meaningful impact.

Why do you want to work for us?

The phone interviewer wants to gauge if you have a genuine interest in the company and if you’ve done your research. It helps them determine if you have a strong understanding of the organisation’s values, mission, products or services, and culture.

To answer this question effectively, focus on specific aspects that resonate with you, such as the company’s values, achievements, products or services, or its positive impact on the industry. Tailor your response to highlight how your skills, interests, and career goals align with what the company offers. By showcasing your genuine interest, you can demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job.

Describe what you do in your current job?

This question is asked to gain a clear understanding of your current role, responsibilities, and the skills you utilise in your work.

Provide a brief overview of your current job, focusing on key responsibilities, achievements, and the impact of your work. Emphasise the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the position you are interviewing for. If you haven’t had a job before, you can talk about other experiences that demonstrate your soft skills. For example, playing a team sport or organising school projects.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Interviewers want to determine if your long-term career goals align with the potential opportunities within the company. They seek people who have ambitions that can be fulfilled by the role and the organisation, fostering a partnership that benefits both the company and the applicant.

By providing a well-thought-out response that demonstrates your enthusiasm, alignment with the company’s goals, and growth potential, you can leave a positive impression on the interviewer and enhance your chances of moving forward in the hiring process.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

By understanding your strengths, interviewers can assess how well your skills and attributes align with the requirements of the position. Interviewers ask for weaknesses as being aware of one’s weaknesses demonstrates maturity and a willingness to improve. It helps them evaluate if you have the necessary qualities to excel in the role and contribute to the company’s success.

Answer with a thoughtful and balanced response that demonstrates your self-awareness, suitability for the role, and openness to growth, you can leave a positive impression on the interviewer and showcase your ability to reflect on and improve upon your abilities.

What are your salary expectations?

Not every hiring manager will include this question; however, if you’ve had a bit of experience before, it’s best to be prepared to answer questions surrounding salary in your phone interview. Interviewers want to ensure that your salary expectations are within the range the company is willing and able to offer. It helps them evaluate if your expectations match their budgetary constraints and if they can provide a competitive salary based on your qualifications and market standards.

By providing a well-researched, flexible, and value-based response, you can demonstrate your professionalism and worth to the hiring manager in the phone interview.

Create a quiet and professional environment during your phone interview

Prioritise finding a quiet and distraction-free environment. When possible, plan ahead by reserving a quiet room or a private space where you won’t be disturbed. However, we understand that unexpected situations can arise. In such cases, consider alternative options like a peaceful park or, if necessary, even the privacy of your car. The key is to minimise background noise and create a focused atmosphere to showcase your best self during the conversation.

Have your resume and notes handy to refer to during your phone interview

Keep a copy of your resume, the job description, and any notes you’ve prepared within reach. Refer to them during the phone interview to remind yourself of key points or qualifications you want to highlight.

Practise active listening and clear communication during your phone interview

During the phone interview, focus on actively listening to the interviewer’s questions and respond clearly and concisely once the phone interviewer has finished speaking. Avoid rambling or going off-topic. Take a brief pause before answering to gather your thoughts.

Showcase your enthusiasm and personality during your phone interview

Let your personality shine through during the conversation. Engage with the interviewer, show genuine enthusiasm for the opportunity, and ask thoughtful questions about the role or the company culture. A positive attitude and enthusiasm can leave a lasting impression for the in-person job interview. It’s ok to take time to think.

Practice with mock phone interviews

Consider practising phone interviews with a family member or friend. They can provide feedback on your tone, clarity, and overall communication style. A mock phone interview will help build your confidence and improve your responses.

Follow up with a thank-you email after your phone interview

After the phone interview, send a personalised thank-you follow-up email to the interviewer, expressing your appreciation for their time and reiterating your interest in the position. It’s a small gesture that can leave a positive lasting impression.

Ensure your phone’s fully charged around the time of your phone interview

Make sure your phone has a full battery or you have access to a charger nearby! The last thing you want during a phone interview is your phone dying and the interviewer not being able to call you back.

Start Preparing Now to Nail That Next Phone Screening Interview

Phone interviews don’t have to be something to worry about. In fact, many people prefer phone interviews over a traditional face to face interview! Now that you’ve got all the tips you need to succeed in your next phone interview, it’s time to start practising. Remember to research phone interview questions online that are common for the job you are applying for, research the company’s history and review the job description.

Thinking about upskilling before applying for a new job? At Centacare, we regularly work with job seekers of all ages and backgrounds to help them get upskilled for employment. Check out some of our training programs or get in contact with our friendly team to learn more about how we can best help you!

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