Phone interview reminders and tips
- Make sure that you are uninterrupted during the interview. Close the door. Turn off call waiting features on your phone and, if possible, do not interview on a cell phone where there is a chance that you may lose connection or run out of battery power.
- Be organized before and during the interview. Have a copy of your resume, a pen, the position description, and something on which to take notes.
- Speak loudly and clearly. If this is a conference call or if you are interviewing with someone who is on a speakerphone, confirm that everyone can clearly hear you. Also, be aware that on some conferencing systems there is a delay if two people speak at the same time.
- Prepare for technical, historical, interpersonal and situational questions.
- Technical – more factual, book knowledge.
- Historical – e.g. “Where have you used this skill?” or “Tell me about your previous project.”
- Interpersonal – e.g. “Describe your work ethic.” Or “How you best communicate with others.” Or “Tell me more about yourself.”
- Situational – e.g. “If given the following situation, what would you do and why?”
- Think about how your past experiences will benefit you in this environment.
- Prepare examples to demonstrate your experience. Interviewers will use these examples to form their judgments about your competency. Most interviewee’s talk in generalities. Be prepared to give specific examples of your utilization of the required technologies for a given project. Think about how your past experiences will benefit you in this environment. In addition, be prepared to describe how you will compensate for any gaps in your skill set with respect to the required technologies.
- When answering “open-ended questions”, your response should be comprised of four parts:
- Clarify that you understand the question
- Provide a brief but thorough response (about 2-3 minutes in length)
- Ask for permission to go into further details and give examples to support your response. We ask this so that we are not perceived as long-winded or insensitive in our initial response. Usually, the interviewer will want you to elaborate.
- Confirm with the interviewer that you answered the question to their satisfaction.
- Because you will be on the phone and cannot see the physical response of the interviewer after one of your responses, you should ask the interviewer if your response was what they were looking to hear. Hopefully, the interviewer will be satisfied or will help to clarify the question and the desired response.
- Make sure that you know your own strengths and weaknesses. Write down four or five strengths and one or two weaknesses. Prepare short examples of some accomplishment that you have achieved using each of your strengths. With the weaknesses, think of a specific situation where you have overcome the weakness or have turned weaknesses into strengths.
- Be aware of “dead air” when no one is speaking. Take that opportunity to ask a valuable question that will allow you to provide further insight into your strengths, your interest in the opportunity and your fit for the position.
- Listen actively and respectfully.
- Ask questions, when appropriate. A good interview is often like a conversation where interest and ideas are shared by both parties.
Smile (even over the phone) and show enthusiasm. By showing your interest you increase your chance of further consideration for the position, plus people like a smile. Having a smile on your face changes your attitude and makes your responses more positive and enthusiastic during the interview.