The guide to your next phone interview

male on phone

Before your face-to-face interview with a hiring manager, you will most likely be asked to conduct a phone interview to pre-screen your abilities for the role you’re applying for.

But here is the challenge. Unlike an email, a phone interview requires you to think on your feet as you do not have the chance to reformulate your thoughts once said out loud. So what can you do to approach this task confidently? Preparation is key. Ensure that you review potential questions the hiring manager is likely to ask to give you a head start.

Tell me about yourself.

Hiring managers may start the interview with an open-ended question. It’s a way for them to engage with you and make you feel more comfortable. It also enables the interviewer to assess whether or not they think that you could be a good cultural fit. Start by sharing some interests that are not directly job related to help to showcase your personality. Sporting and volunteering activities are a great way to demonstrate your commitment and dedication. After sharing a few examples of personal interests, it’s important to communicate the professionals skills that define who you are. Share your expertise at a top level – keep it concise. 

What do you know about the role and the company?

This question is a prompt to ensure you have done your research and are genuinely interested in the position. Ultimately the employer will want to know why you want to work for them and what it is that specifically interests you in the role. 

What are your current responsibilities?

Align responsibilities from your current role with elements from the job description of the job you’re applying for. The hiring manager is trying to understand whether you can bring the skills you have learnt into the new role and how potentially having you on board is going to benefit the team and organisation.

You have a few seconds to make a good impression and you can’t rely on your body language so make sure you stay calm, sound confident and project your voice” says specialist Finance Commerce consultant Anette Vedeler.

Why should we hire you?

In other words, how are you going to contribute to the organisation? This question gives you the chance to answer how you can add value, using your strengths to demonstrate what makes you stand out from other candidates. Don’t forget to back this up with relevant examples from previous experiences and how they relate them to what you can achieve in the future. Compare your goals with the organisation you’re applying with and align them. 

What are your weaknesses?

Weaknesses can be a positive if framed in the correct way.  Consider how you can overcome them with sentences like ‘One skill I am currently working on improving is...’ Examples could include: not knowing a software package (this can be learned), lack of certain experience (obvious from your resume), neglecting to take credit or not spontaneous (better when prepared) to name a few. 

How do you handle stress and pressure?

It is normal for every job to entail an element of stress. But what is important to a prospective employer is showing how you manage a situation which is pressured. To answer this question, provide specific examples from your past experiences and how you managed to overcome it - the outcome is key for this question.

At the end of the conversation, the hiring manager is likely to ask if you have any questions. Come prepared with at least two questions which are linked to the role. These questions can be customised based upon how the conversation has played out.

After the phone conversation, follow up the interview with a thank you email to the hiring manager. Keep it short and straight to the point. 

 

Download our phone interview worksheet to help craft your answers for your next interview.

Find out what 5 questions you should ask your interviewer here.