Conduct Telephone Interviews: Job Interview Advice

Employer and Applicant Questions to Ask During an Interview

Interview on the phone

If you are an employer with a job opening to fill, phone interviews are a good way to screen potential employees without investing too much time or money in the process. At the same time, phone interviews give applicants a chance to set themselves apart from the competition and pique an employer's interest. Whether you're an employer or an applicant, this guide will help you understand the process and come up with questions to ask during an interview.  

No matter which side of the phone you are on, here are some job interview tips that should help you prepare. Here's how to make the most of the phone interview process:

For Employers:

  1. Use phone interviews as a way to quickly assess a pool of candidates and identify those people you want to pursue further.
  2. Prepare before you make the call. Review the applicant's resume and know the position you need to fill.
  3. Come up with a list of questions you want to ask and key points about the job that you want to convey so you can keep the call moving along.
  4. Try to avoid any dead spots, as these can make you look less professional and can break the flow of the call, making it more difficult to get back on track.
  5. Have the applicant's resume in front of you to clarify information and to refer to his or her experience as needed.
  6. Communicate clearly about the position and what it will entail.
  7. Assess the applicant's skills and work experience over the phone and get a feel for how these will translate into your work environment.
  8. Find out how serious the applicant is in securing the position so you know if it is worth proceeding to a future interview.
  9. Follow your instincts. If the interview goes well, be ready to follow up by arranging your next meeting.
  10. Clearly explain your hiring process andhow to conduct a phone interview what the applicant can expect.
  11. If you want to talk to the applicant further, consider inviting him or her in to meet with you in person next.

For Applicants:

Phone interviews provide a great opportunity for you to sell your skills and experience to a company.

  1. Prepare for your interview by doing some preliminary research about the company so you can communicate knowledgeably.
  2. Don't let an interviewer catch you off guard. Practice answering common phone interview questions with a friend or out loud to yourself.
  3. Have some notes handy with questions you'd like to ask so you can sound organized and interested when the interviewer calls.
  4. Try to arrange the call during a time you will be alone and won't have any interruptions. Telephone interviews should take place in a setting similar to an in-office interview to help you focus and provide the best answers.
  5. If you are conducting the call from your present job, let the interviewer know the circumstances up front.
  6. Walk around while you talk. This will help your voice convey energy and you are apt to sound more enthusiastic.
  7. Avoid eating, drinking (anything other than water) or chewing gum during the call, since this can make you sound muffled and less professional.
  8. Have a glass of water handy in case your throat gets dry.
  9. Keep your responses brief.
  10. Express your sincere interest in the position.
  11. Don't be afraid to admit that you don't have an answer to a question. It's better to admit that you don't know something than to fabricate a response. You can always offer to find out the answer.
  12. Ask the interviewer what the next step will be and find out how to move forward in the interview process.
  13. If all goes well, you should make it to the next stage where you can meet with the employer in person and you'll have another chance to convince the company that you are the perfect candidate for the position.

This advice will help you ace future telephone interviews. Now that you know how to conduct an interview over the phone, start your job or employee search today!


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