How to Prepare for a Phone Interview

Man sits nervously looking at red phone awaiting phone interview for a job.The information below covers phone interview questions. It is not intended to be rigid regarding how to prepare for a phone interview. Rather, this information is a set of discussions pertaining to job interview tips. It is based upon executive search activities conducted by Mid America Search over the past 45 plus years.

The sections below are meant to have the reader think about the process at hand. In addition, the sections are intended to set the seriousness of the process and assist in preparedness. By all means carefully listen to the interviewer and then respond to the actual question(s) asked.

General Points

A phone interview, and the phone interview questions, is a critical business call and communications matter. This document is what to expect in a job interview. Furthermore, and more specifically, a phone interview and its preparation. Remember, these are job interview tips. It is essential to have a strong or commanding presence during the phone interview. Furthermore, converse in a manner that demonstrates complete confidence and calmness. In addition, project yourself as being fully prepared for the call. Do not sound desperate during the call. However, avoid projecting aloofness or disinterest. Project your voice well. Take some deep breathes a few minutes prior to the scheduled phone interview time. Keep good posture through the entire interview. Do not use bad grammar, slang, or profanity.

Adhere to the phone interview schedule. Should the interview be scheduled, do not allow the interviewer to get your voicemail. Contact us and/or the interviewer immediately should emergencies arise, and the interview must be rescheduled.

This is very important among the job interview tips. If the phone interview has no set schedule, we suggest the following. Knowing the interviewer’s call, at some time, will be made; adjust your voicemail greeting. Assure it is framed in a professional and mature manner. Leave your greeting in that fashion during the entire interview/offer process.

Do’s and Don’ts (Our Job Interview Tips)

The items below are intended to be a guide for preparation and dealing with phone interview questions. Consider these as job interview tips or how to succeed in a job interview. Furthermore, use good common sense when preparing. The items are:

  • Be efficient, effective and have a comprehensive approach.
  • Stay on point in the discussion.
  • Focus on your ability to do the job.
  • Clearly present each point of an answer and/or response to an open-ended question.
  • Effectively summarize points made in a response without being repetitious or redundant.
  • Thoroughly do your job interview preparation; however, and this is vitally important among the job interview tips, absolutely do not use your current employer’s time or resources.
    • Research the company through their web site and other insurance industry sources.
    • Also, research biographies of the company’s executives.
    • Research the company’s product lines.
    • In addition, research the company’s territories
    • Research the company’s history.
    • Furthermore, research all aspects of the job opening and thoroughly study the job listing or job description should one be available.

Phone Interview Questions By Interviewer and By You

Phone Interview Questions By Interviewer

  • Tell me about yourself (a standard of the phone interview questions).
  • Describe a typical day in your work setting.
  • What are your strengths (this and the next question are standards of the phone interview questions)?
  • Also, what are your weaknesses?
  • What was the best day, recently, you’ve had in a work setting and why?
  • Furthermore, what was the worst day, recently, you’ve had in a work setting and why?
  • What do you consider the best way in which you learn new things and skills? Please give examples.
  • What management style, in your experience, do you find works the best? Please give examples. In the abstract, what management style do you think works the best?
  • What motivates you in the work setting?
  • What skills and abilities do you possess to successfully do this job opening?
  • Going forward, what are your career goals?
    • In a one-year time-frame?
    • Also, in a five-year time-frame?
    • In a ten-year time-frame?
  • What is your desired salary? Either say “negotiable” or if pressed to give a number, give a range (low to high salary).
  • If not asked about salary, do not bring up salary or benefits. That is typically discussed at the point of an offer.

Phone Interview Questions By You

These are good phone interview questions to ask in a job interview. For example:

  • Is the job newly created?
  • If not newly created, why is the job open?
  • What are the key elements of an ideal Candidate for the job?
  • Do you see any missing elements in my background and skill set for the job?
  • What other areas, units and/or departments, of the company or organization, directly interface with this job opening?
    • And of those, which are most critical?
    • And of those, which are less or more tangential to the job opening?
  • Overall, where does this job, in terms of its strategic criticalness, fit into the company or organization?
  • Should the job listing not be clear, or it is absent in the description. What supervisory duties are in the job opening?
  • Also, what are the metrics that performance review is based upon?
  • What is the frequency and schedule of performance reviews?

Questions By You Regarding Company or Organization

This will allow you to demonstrate you have researched the company or organization. Possible questions your research may not have answered:

  • Company’s placement or rank compared to its competition?
  • Also, company’s current business lines?
  • Company’s development of future business lines and/or products?
  • Overall philosophy and business approach of the company?
  • Company’s general approach and philosophy regarding its customers and clients?
  • Company’s general approach and philosophy regarding its staff?
  • Questions that inherently pertain to your discipline (i.e. actuarial, accounting, administrative, claims, marketing, sales, underwriting, etc.).

Follow These Guidelines

  • Tie in your qualifications, throughout the interview. Thoroughly and completely know your skill set(s) as well as your entire resume and how they fit this job.
  • Comprehensively match-up your demonstrated skills, education, industry studies and certifications. In addition, career accomplishments, and other resume factors with key elements the interviewer(s) listed of an ideal Candidate for the job opening.
  • Do not talk about personal problems.
  • Speak positively about co-workers and former employers.
  • Leave your schedule sufficiently open should the interview run longer than expected.
  • Allow enough time (i.e. at least five to ten minutes) for preparation prior to the interview. For example, do not just finish a jog, etc. minutes prior to the phone interview.
  • Have a setting, such as an office area at your residence, to conduct the phone interview. Also, have materials to take notes. Have, if available, a listing or job description of the job opening the interview concerns.
  • Do not have an environment and/or atmosphere full of distractions or noises, such as TVs, music, pets, family, friends, etc.
  • Have liquids available should they be needed.
  • Solely perform the phone interview and do no other tasks during it.
  • Good quality phone and connection.
    • Plan on taking call in best available location (i.e. not entering a tunnel, etc.).
    • Assure phone battery will easily and reliably last through the call.
    • Mute your phone. This will eliminate the distraction of another incoming call.

Closing the Interview

  • Emphasize interest. If you like what you hear regarding the job opening express your interest in proceeding further in the interview process. Moreover, if appropriate, let the interviewer(s) know you hope to be the one selected for the job.
  • Summarize your qualifications.
  • Thank the interviewer(s) for the opportunity.
  • Find out when you can call to follow up.
  • Get contact information for follow-up correspondence with the interviewer(s). If applicable, get contact information for other company personnel.

Interview Follow Up

One should email or send hard-copy correspondence.

  • Keep it short, simple and to the point.
  • Begin by thanking the person(s) for their extremely valuable time.
  • Concisely point-out why you fit the job.
  • Close by expressing your interest in being considered further for the job. Thank them once again for the phone interview.
  • When to send follow up after job interview? Do it immediately.

 

Should you wish to read related posts. Please see How to Prepare for an Interview. Also see How to Handle a Job Offer. Furthermore see How to Handle a Counter Job Offer.

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Deb Murray

Deb Murray

I help Client Companies, primarily in the Insurance Industry, to identify, locate and attract talented Candidates to their organizations. This involves leading, and recruiting for, one of the premier Executive Search firms that specializes in Recruiting for the Insurance industry and its related operations such as Information Technology, Managed Care, and Risk Management. My goal is to help both Client Companies and Candidates find lasting and rewarding matches.

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