How to Nail Your Phone Interview

23-10-2019 | The Blog Series

What are the benefits of a phone interview?

The most obvious advantage of a phone interview is that you can complete it in a comfortable and peaceful place such as your home, a quiet coffee shop or while taking a walk. A shower and business attire are definitely not compulsory, and the lack of a face to face encounter reduces stress, allowing you to share the best version of yourself. However, phone interviews also require a great deal of preparation if you want to leave a lasting impression. This blog offers some ideas on how you can prepare for a phone interview and how to approach the questions you are likely to be asked.

Preparation is key, and it starts long before the actual call. Your primary job is to know who is going to call you and what their role is. Do your research on the company, its history and the role you are applying for. These are all pretty standard things, but they make a difference. But how do you prepare for the actual phone call?


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Prepare your answers for the most frequently asked questions!

These are some examples of the most commonly asked questions during phone interviews.

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
  2. What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  3. What motivates you?
  4. Why are you interested in this position in particular?
  5. What is your relevant experience for this position?
  6. What was a challenge that you managed to overcome in the last project you worked on?
  7. How do you deal with stressful situations?
  8. What do you expect from this position?
  9. Why did you choose to apply for a job at this company?
  10. What are you most passionate about?

Apart from thinking about the type of questions you are going to be answering, you have to be aware of the following deal-breakers

First and foremost, we know you have prepared great answers and you might be tempted to blurt them out the first chance you get, but it is vital that you are patient and let the interviewer finish their questions and feedback. Starting to speak over them or being too quick to answer can create a sense of you being the dominant figure in the conversation. Their job is to gather information about you and yours is to provide your well-formed answers.

On the flip side, do not be discouraged if the interviewer interrupts you. This might be in your favor, as they are most likely trying to give direction to your answer. Think of it as useful guidance, because if they interrupt you, your answer might be heading off in a different direction to that intended by the interviewer. 


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The Star Method

Give structure to your answers. If you don’t, it could be difficult for the interviewer to follow your thoughts and they could miss out on certain details. How do you achieve this? When it comes to answering behavioral questions such as “How do you cope with criticism?”, you can use the “Star Method”. Behavioral questions aim to reveal how a candidate handles different situations and contributes to the evaluation of their soft skills. STAR stands for Situation (who, what, where, when, how), Task (specifics of the task and the challenges), Action (what exactly did you do), Result (what was the outcome). But do not get too carried away in your story as the recruiter might lose interest. Keep it concise and clear.


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Think of questions to ask at the end of your phone interview!

An extremely important part that candidates sometimes neglect is the closing-off segment of the interview. You just aced the first part where you managed to flawlessly and confidently answer everything you were asked. Now, it is your turn to ask questions. And after the interviewer poses their final question – “Would you like to ask me something?”, it is your time to shine even brighter. Your follow-up questions can revolve around a variety of topics, such as the hiring process, and what awaits you and when. You could also ask about what a day in the job would look like, or about the key success factors or biggest challenges of the position.

Follow-up questions could also focus on the hierarchy of the company and the characteristics of the manager you are going to report to. Asking about the availability of trainings and courses you could take to build on your expertise shows an initiative to learn and develop. There are many paths you could take but they all lead to one thing – you showing interest in the company and revealing what some of the important aspects of the role are for you. 


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Send a follow-up email after the interview!

Send a thank-you email after your interview. If you are wondering why here is the reason. You managed to impress the recruiters and get a phone interview, however, chances are you are up against a few other candidates with most likely similar skills and qualifications as you. How do you stand out? Sending the right thank you email can immediately take you few steps ahead of your competition. A few points make a huge difference here. A successful thank you email contains a simple and clear subject line such as “Thank you for the interview.”

Addressing the person that interviewed you is the next important segment. Using a universal opening such as “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Hiring Manager” will not do the job. In your email express your appreciation for the provided opportunity and the time spent on your application. Do not forget to announce your interest in the job yet again. To create an even more personalised feeling, give a specific example of how something you discussed in relation to the company fits your qualifications. Finish your email with a reminder that they can always contact you if they need any additional information in order to restate your eagerness to move forward with them.


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You might also want to read our blog on Unbiased Candidate Screening and AI interactions – Furhat Robotics

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