BlogJob Interviews11 Phone Interview Tips by Experts: Impress Recruiters with Ease

11 Phone Interview Tips by Experts: Impress Recruiters with Ease

phone interview

In the unpredictable business world, where every second counts, phone interviews are one of the most common ways of assessing candidates for job positions. They offer multiple benefits over face-to-face meetings but also come with specific challenges that you should be aware of before you jump into a call with the recruiter.

In this article, we’ll explore the intricacies of phone interviews. You’ll learn how to prepare yourself and the environment for the call, and we’ll also give you a couple of expert tips on how to ensure a smooth experience. Finally, we’ll go through the most common questions recruiters ask during phone interviews. Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • To prepare for the phone interview, you should research the company, practice answering some of the most common interview questions, have your resume next to you, and prepare meaningful questions to ask the interviewer.

  • You want to have the call in a quiet location where you have strong reception and the space is organized to help you focus and be less stressed.

  • During the call, you want to listen actively, speak clearly, and sound engaged and excited while still being professional.

  • Follow up after a phone interview with a thank-you email to improve your chances of leaving a good impression.

4 Tips on How To Prepare for the Phone Interview

Preparing for the phone interview is, in many ways, similar to preparing for the in-person one.

With that in mind, here are some phone interview tips that can help you ace it:

Phone Interview Tips

  • Research the company that you’re applying to and the role that you’re going for. That way, you’ll know which skills they are looking for in candidates and what past accomplishments you should emphasize in your answers to their questions.

  • Practice answering the most common interview questions. There are many phone interview questions that recruiters ask all candidates, regardless of the field or position they are after. Having answers ready helps you convey confidence and demonstrate competence.

  • Keep a spare resume next to you. You should also have your research notes in front of you, as well as the job description and all other relevant details that will help you focus on what’s important.

  • Prepare the questions to ask the interviewer. This is one of the best ways to demonstrate genuine interest in the organization and the position that you’re going for. Leverage the information obtained during your research to come up with thoughtful questions about the company, its culture, team, workload, and more.

3 Tips on How to Make a Proper Setting for a Phone Interview

Making a proper setting for a phone interview is essential for success and involves creating a tranquil atmosphere where you can remain focused and professional.

Here are three tips to help you create an ideal setting:

3 Tips on How to Make a Proper Setting for a Phone Interview

  1. Choose a quiet location where you won’t be disturbed by noise or other people. You should avoid rowdy places like cafes or restaurants. Instead, you should be in a private room where you can close the doors and windows. You should also inform everyone else in the household not to interrupt you until you’re finished.

  2. Make sure you have reception. You should test your phone’s signal in the room where you’ll be having your interview in advance to ensure that it’s spotless and won’t lead to any call drops or issues with sound quality. Moreover, if you’re using a mobile phone, make sure that it’s fully charged.

  3. Organize the space around you. While a clean and organized space and background are essential for video interviews, they can vastly contribute to your success during a phone interview with a recruiter. You want an organized desk with your resume, notepad, and pen at hand. A tidy desk also contributes to your focus and helps reduce stress.

4 Strategies for a Smooth Phone Interview

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Now that we know how to prepare for a phone interview, let’s see what you should do during the conversation to ensure a smooth and professional call with the recruiter.

#1. Listen to the Recruiter Actively

Active listening is vital for a phone interview, as it demonstrates your interest in the position and the recruiter. It shows that you’re not merely hearing the words that the interviewer says and haphazardly responding but taking the time to truly grasp the context and meaning of their words.

This is all the more important due to the fact that there’s no visual aspect to a phone interview by definition. That means you won’t be able to use body language or mimicking to convey your feelings and intentions.

Instead, you can use occasional affirmative sounds, like “I see,” “yes,” and “mm-hmm.” Furthermore, you should avoid interrupting the interviewer until you see that they are done talking. When you’re responding, follow up on their ideas and inquiries, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarifications.

#2. Speak Clearly

Since verbal communication is the main—if not only—method of exchanging ideas and answering questions during a phone interview, it’s imperative that you speak clearly, distinctly, and at a moderate pace.

It’s essential for recruiters to hear and understand your every word, which is why you want to avoid speaking too quickly or mumbling. On the other hand, you shouldn’t talk too slowly, and you should avoid long and confusing sentences, as that runs the risk of losing the other party’s interest.

During the conversation, you should remain professional but keep a friendly and natural tone. It helps to have some of the answers prepared in advance, as that way, you can articulate your thoughts in a concise and structured manner while conveying confidence and expertise.

#3. Sound Engaged and Excited

By sounding engaged and excited, you’ll convey your enthusiasm and interest in the role. These can be deciding factors in the hiring process that help you progress to further stages.

Use a positive tone to convey authentic eagerness about the job and the profession. These are valuable traits that indicate a commitment. Recruiters use them to gauge how devoted a potential candidate is to their craft, whether they are involved in relevant professional networks, if they are eager to practice continuous learning, and more.

You should also make an effort to show interest in the specific aspects of the company that you’re applying to, whether it’s their work, team, culture, or values. This shows your involvement and can make you a memorable candidate.

#4. Be Professional

Professionalism is paramount during a job interview, whether it’s in person or over the phone. This includes having a calm and collected demeanor and using appropriate language.

Furthermore, you should respect the job interviewer’s time. Be punctual when answering the call and keep the conversation on topic. While a friendly tone is encouraged, you should avoid overly casual phrases or inappropriate slang.

You should also refrain from sharing information that’s too personal. This includes age and gender, political and religious affiliations, and so on. Finally, you should conclude the call with one final statement about your excitement for the opportunity before wrapping it up with a thank you note.

How To Follow Up After the Phone Interview

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One of the best ways to follow up after the phone interview is with a message or an email that expresses your gratitude for the opportunity and restates your enthusiasm for the position.

You should send an interview follow-up email within 24 hours, as it shows diligence and professionalism. Keep the message brief and personal, and highlight a few key points from the interview.

Here’s an example:

Follow Up Email After Interview

Subject: Thank You for the Opportunity

Dear [Interviewer’s Name],

I want to thank you for speaking with me about the [Job Title] position at [Company’s Name]. I enjoyed our conversation regarding [particular topic], and I am excited about the opportunity to bring my skills and experiences in the sphere to contribute to your team.

Warm regards, [Your Name]

7 Common Phone Interview Questions and Answers

Let’s review some of the most common phone interview questions and answers to help you prepare in advance and approach the call with confidence. The examples can give you a general idea of what the answers should be before you tailor them to fit your situation and the company’s needs.

#1. Tell me about yourself.

This is your chance to give recruiters a concise and impactful elevator pitch about yourself packed with details relevant to the role that you’re applying for.

Here’s an example of an answer:

Good Answer

"I am a dedicated marketing professional with more than seven years of experience in the field. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communications, I specialized in social media by joining a startup and helping it grow its online presence on multiple platforms. I thrive in creative teams and environments where I can continuously improve by testing innovative marketing strategies."

#2. Why did you apply for this position?

Recruiters ask this question to find out about your ambition and enthusiasm for the role. Your answer should show that your goals match the company’s vision.

Let’s see that in an example:

Good Answer

“I applied for this position because it perfectly matches my current skill set and professional experience. Also, I’ve always admired how your company leverages sustainable materials and practices to develop zero-emission projects, which is something I have been interested in since the beginning of my studies. I believe my background in net-zero architecture can help me contribute to your team while we work together toward building a more sustainable future.”

#3. What are you passionate about?

This question helps recruiters find out whether your passion and interests align with the company’s values and match its culture. Your answer should highlight that you’re a committed individual who’s driven by their work.

Here’s an example:

Good Answer

“As a chef, I am passionate about making meaningful contributions to my community. I find satisfaction in cooking for the underprivileged. Making nourishing meals is my way of fostering compassion and connection among people, which is why I often organize community kitchen events. Your restaurant's “Cooking to Care” initiative deeply resonates with my values, which is why I am further motivated to join your esteemed organization.”

#4. What are your biggest strengths?

Your answer to this question tells recruiters in which role in their organization you might excel and what skills and traits you particularly value in yourself.

Here’s an example of an answer:

Good Answer

“I consider my biggest strength to be the ability to communicate complex information in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. In my previous role, I frequently analyzed large sets of data before having to report to upper management to facilitate decision-making processes. By combining simplified language with vibrant presentations, I bridged the gap between technical and management teams.”

#5. What do you consider your biggest weakness?

The weakness interview question probes into your self-awareness and honesty. By answering it, you should show recruiters that you are proactive about personal development and that you’re capable of overcoming challenges.

Here’s an example:

Good Example

“One of my biggest weaknesses used to be public speaking. In my previous job, I received several unfavorable reviews from upper management after giving a presentation on one of our projects. This prompted me to look into online courses and public speaking workshops. While I still have ways to go in improving, I’ve come a long way, and I continue to seek opportunities to speak publicly and enhance my abilities.”

#6. How did you learn about this job opportunity?

One of the reasons recruiters ask this question over a phone interview is to revise their recruiting strategies. Another one is to see whether you’re proactive in your job-hunting efforts, which likely reflects on your overall professional demeanor.

Here’s how you can answer:

Good Example

“I learned about this job opportunity through LinkedIn. I’ve been following your company for a while, and I was excited to see an opening that perfectly matches my skills, goals, and experience. Moreover, I’ve already interacted with several members of your esteemed organization. The experience was overwhelmingly positive, which only solidified my intention to apply.”

#7. Do you have any questions?

Recruiters ask this question to gauge your interest in the role and the company. The last thing you want to answer here is “no.” Instead, you want to come up with meaningful questions to ask the interviewer that would demonstrate your dedication, research skills, and curiosity.

Here’s an example:

Good Example

“I was wondering if you could tell me more about the team I would be a part of. Furthermore, I am interested in your company’s policy for employee professional development and whether you have programs that support it. Lastly, I read about your recent initiative on [name of the specific project]. Could you share how the role that I’m applying for contributes to it?”

Final Thoughts

Phone interviews are all about convenience. Still, that doesn’t mean you should take them lightly. Approach them with the same seriousness and professionalism as you approach in-person meetings, and your success will be all but guaranteed.

To help with that, we’ve provided you with a phone interview cheat sheet that encompasses everything from how to prepare for it to the most common questions you might encounter. Remember to prepare, do the research, rehearse your answers in advance, and ensure that you’re in an optimal environment to take the call.

Best of luck getting your dream job!

Sheila Kravitz
Sheila Kravitz
Content Writer & Head Editor
By day, Sheila Kravitz writes stellar content and works as a head editor. At night, she spends her time winning at trivia nights or playing Dungeons & Dragons with her friends. Whether she’s writing or editing, she gives her maximum effort and ensures no error gets past her watchful eyes. When she’s doing none of the above, Sheila likes to spend time with her cats and her partner, endlessly watching crime documentaries on Netflix.

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