Phone interviews can be daunting, no matter what level of experience you have. It can often be difficult to establish a rapport with an interviewer over the phone and might be difficult to contain your nervousness during the conversation.
However, phone interviews can become much easier to handle if you can anticipate some of the more common questions, and have responses prepared for them. Being ready with responses, and pertinent examples can help you be more confident during the interview itself and reduce your nerves.
While no two phone interviews are the same, here are some of the most common questions asked during a phone interview, and advice on how to answer these questions:
1) Why are you job searching?
It might be tempting to bash your current employer or criticize the office environment, but resist the urge! This is not the time to express your grievances, and you should never speak negatively about current or previous employers.
Instead, you can say that you are looking for a new challenge and/or professional development. Something along the lines of, “I am looking for a new job as I am seeking opportunities to challenge myself and further develop myself professionally” is usually enough. You can also speak about the impact you have made in your current position and how that can help you in new opportunities.
Also, remember that if you are unemployed, make sure you disclose that on your resume, application and during the phone screen
2) What do you know about our company?
This is a classic question asked during a phone interview to make sure you took the effort to learn about the company. It might sound simplistic, but you would be surprised at the number of candidates that are not able to answer this properly.
Demonstrate that you have done your research by looking at the company website and general news about the company including their values, and mission. It is also helpful to have some knowledge about their competitors, when and how they were founded, key players, their mission statement and if applicable, open up their 10-K and 10-Q and be familiar with company size, revenue, and profit ranges.
3) What are your salary expectations?
This is definitely a difficult question to navigate, but do not be alarmed when asked about this. Rather than giving them a range, always say that you are open and negotiable and just looking for the right opportunity. You do not want to shoot yourself in the foot by saying a number too high or too low.
4) When can you start?
This question is best answered with some prior research on your end. Look through your employment contract and other paperwork to ensure you are giving the correct range. Generally, if you are employed it is usually two weeks notice, unless your company has different terms. Some higher-level positions may require a month or more of notice and a letter of resignation. If unemployed, you can answer as soon as possible.
Bear in mind that it is important to have an accurate answer as recruiters and companies are working on deadlines, and some positions may be more flexible than others. Giving an accurate answer ensures that they are able to plan well on their end, and you can better plan your exit from your current employment without any hiccups.
While phone interviews may seem scary from the outset, they do not have to be. Being prepared helps, whether it is gauging common questions or working with external agencies to ensure you are answering the right way.
Recruiting agencies such as the Atlantic Group are well-versed in navigating phone interviews from both the employer and candidate end and provide great resources and tips to ensure a smooth process on both ends. To learn more, please contact us today.