The dreaded telephone interview. Sometimes they can feel even worse than the real interview as you can’t easily judge how the interviewer is responding to your answers. There is nothing quite like body language as an indicator of how well (or not) you are doing!
Preparing for a telephone interview is equally as important. With the lack of general conversation that a normal interview includes, you need to be prepared for some quick-fire questions. Just like we mentioned in our recent post 10 tips for finding a new job, research is key. Spend time browsing the website of the company you have an interview with, and make sure you have a good understanding of what they offer to their customers.
Phone Interview Questions
A phone interview is usually about getting to know you as a person, to see if you qualify for a formal interview. As well as being asked questions about your current role and responsibilities, you may be asked to give a synopsis of your CV. Be prepared for this, and make sure you pick out the most relevant skills and qualifications to the role you are applying for. We have put together some of the most common telephone interview questions and answers that you can use to practice.
Why are you leaving your current role?
This is a very common question. Not only does it give the interviewer an indication of your career aspirations, it also makes you think on your feet. Being too critical about a current employer can give the wrong impression straight away. Applying for a new role because you are financially incentivised is also not the answer they are looking for. Try to remain calm when answering this question (that is where the preparation comes in). Don’t go into too much detail; keep the answer short, positive, and a bit vague. Are you looking to progress further? Find better opportunities for yourself? Only you know the answer to your situation.
What do you know about the company?
Your interview preparation really comes into play here. Whilst it may be tempting to read off the company website, don’t do it! Put into your own words what you have discovered about the company. Try and include reasons why you are attracted to working for the company. Showing a wide range of different research will demonstrate to the interviewer how serious you are about wanting the job. It is always great to include the company mission statement here if you can remember it.
What were your key responsibilities in your previous job?
The main reason behind a telephone interview is to check that what you have included on your CV is actually correct, and you haven’t had it written for you. Keep a copy of both your CV and cover letter to hand during the telephone interview, so you can refer back to them easily. When you are asked this question, simply expand upon the points included within your CV and make sure they are relevant to the role you are applying for. Remember the interviewer will also have a copy of your CV in front of them, so don’t just read it word for word.
What are your greatest achievements?
This is probably one of the most common interview questions. Again, this is a way of checking you are telling the truth on your CV. Make sure you take the time to clearly explain each achievement in detail. Remember to apply theses achievements to the role you are interviewing for. If you have had an impressive job role in the past, now is your time to expand on this and showcase your skills.
What salary are you looking for?
This question is awkward enough when being asked in person, let alone at the end of the phone. If you throw a number out there, it is extremely hard to judge how it has been received without seeing the other person’s facial expressions! Honesty is the best policy with this. Give a broad range which you feel is realistic to the role. Remember to recap what figure is given on the job description too, and use this to guide your answer.
Do you have any questions?
This is likely to be the closing question, and it is your opportunity to show off a little. Include some research that you have carried out about the company, and turn this into a question. For example – ‘I noticed that you sell your products within the UK at the moment, do you have any future plans for expanding the business internationally?’. Preparation is important for this question too. It is worth writing out 5 questions before your telephone interview, and make sure before you ask them at the end that they haven’t already been covered. You don’t want to look like you haven’t been listening to the interviewer throughout!
Easier said than done, we know, but try and keep calm during your telephone interview. If you have taken the time to research and prepare in advance, you will be absolutely fine. They are often used to whittle down the number of applicants early on in the process, so just be yourself and answer each question with conviction.
We hope this has helped to give you some ideas on how you can prepare for your telephone interview. Feel free to have a browse through our other blogs for more interview tips and tricks.