How to nail a phone interview
October 2, 2018
Your resume looks amazing, you’ve got all the skills listed in the job requirements, you applied for the position and got a message from your recruiter saying the Employer wants to schedule a phone interview.
What to do now?
This is often the first step in many IT Recruitment processes. Most companies will do a phone interview before actually inviting a promising candidate to a face-to-face interview. The phone interview, also known as a phone screen, is not the most important part of the hiring process, but it’s your ticket to a face-to-face interview.
The interview is usually very quick (15 – 30 mins) and is typically conducted by an Internal Recruiter or the HR manager rather than the hiring manager or the team lead. The main purpose of the interview is to understand more about the candidate (why they are looking for a new opportunity, their experience and their main technologies).
Based on my personal experience as an IT Recruiter combined with feedback from clients, I came up with 7 tips to help you with your next phone interview:
1) Find out the type of interview and learn about your interviewer
If you are speaking with a recruiter or HR manager, the interview will be more of a screening and not very technical. You will be asked questions about your experience, your goals for the future, why you applied for the job and general questions about your experience with the technologies they use.
If you are speaking with a hiring manager or tech lead, the interview will be more technical. They will be interested in understanding your level of experience with the technologies they are looking for. Most of the time they will not go into detail, but they will definitely ask about your technologies, projects where you’ve used technology X, your strengths and accomplishments.
Use the company page, LinkedIn and Google to learn about your interviewer.
2) Do your homework
Research the company and the role. Make sure you know exactly what the company does, their product and any current news about them. See if you can find information about the team members and what it’s like to work there. Learn everything you can about the role and be ready to answer how the company culture, the position and the technologies they use fit with your professional goals.
3) Be prepared
Schedule the interview for a time when you will not have any interruptions. Also, these interviews usually go for 15 – 30 minutes, but sometimes the interview might be extended for a period of time.
Most candidates are currently working and, for obvious reasons, will not want to have a phone interview at their offices. Plan ahead and find a quiet place.
Needless to say, having your resume, the JD and some notes will definitely help you.
4) Stick to the topic
Pay attention to the questions the interviewer is asking you. Stick to the topic and give specific, detailed and relevant answers. Make sure you don’t go off on tangents.
You don’t have too much time, so you better make the best use of it.
5) Prepare some answers beforehand
We’ve posted an article about The top 5 IT interview questions and how to answer them. Every job is unique and every company has its own culture. However, many interview questions are to be expected. If you prepare yourself beforehand you will be able to answer most questions with confidence.
6) Prepare some good questions for your interviewer
Asking your interviewer questions about the company and the role will show them you are genuinely interested in the position. Prepare one or two technical questions and one or two questions about the company culture. If you need help on this, reach out to me and I will be more than happy to help you
7) Be professional
Besides your experience and technical skills, the interviewer will be assessing your communication skills. Be professional and warm. Use formal language and make sure you thank your interviewer for the opportunity at the end of the call.
At the end of the day, phone interviews require the same preparation and professionalism as face-to-face interviews. You only have a short period of time to show your interviewer:
- You have the technical skills
- You are professional
- They would like to work with you
I hope these tips help you with your next phone interview. Let me know how you go!
IT Recruitment Consultant
I am a real people person and spent over a decade in language studies, coaching and sales. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Languages and Literature, a Master's degree in English and a PhD in Translation studies (#nerd). However, a serendipitous event got me into IT recruitment. And I’m loving it! Why? Recruiting has allowed me to leverage my passion for building and maintaining rewarding relationships with my clients while remaining challenged to find the perfect candidates and, in my case, it has also allowed me to keep updated with all the technology trends out there. I take pride in ensuring that placements are a strong match for both parties. There’s nothing more exciting than helping smart people find their next challenge. If I’m not working, I’m probably learning a new language, enjoying a glass of nice champagne or traveling. Also, I love meeting new people and learning new things, so feel free to connect and share your experience. :) If you are looking at hiring or contemplating your next career move in IT hit me up on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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