Phone Interview and How to Ace it

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Most of us believe that once we state our telephone contacts in our resumes the potential employer will only use this information when calling us for an interview. However, that is not always the case. The phone interview are becoming a popular step in the recruiting process of many companies, especially startups and technology savvy companies.

So what is the big fuss about phone interviews anyway? One might wonder. Truth is, phone interviews are undermined, despite their potential to discredit a deserving candidate in a normal oral interview. Employers see these interviews as a way to filter the large pool of expectant applicants. So you need to start taking them seriously and anticipate them every time you sent out a job application.With the pointers below, taking a phone interview shouldn’t be such a perplexing notion.

 

phone interview-01

Be Calm

Most likely, the person interviewing will make a preliminary call to inform you of an interview session about to take place. For those handling a phone interview for the first time it may be a nerve-wrecking realization that they are about to be interviewed on phone. The important thing to remember here is that at that point your voice is the key channel to the next stage of the interview. Take deep breaths and gather your thoughts.

 

phone interview-02

Be ready

Readiness has to do with your environment, your physical condition and your cognizance of necessary information. Ensure that you have already mastered the job description outlined in the advertisement. Nothing puts off an interviewer than a candidate asking “So, what will my role be in this position?” When the interviewer calls to notify you of an imminent phone interview, the first thing to do is ensure that you are in a quiet environment that allows for a smooth flow of conversation. Your constant request for your interviewer to repeat a question will make them want to pull their hair out, which will definitely work against you. Sometimes an interview call can find us in the most awkward of circumstances. For instance, when the call comes in when you are in the bathroom, in a meeting, while eating or driving e.t.c. In such a situation, request the caller to call you at a later time. Be very careful and use emotional intelligence to decipher hesitance or silence after making the postponing request. This could be an indication that they are deciding whether it would be worth it or whether they should move on to the next candidate in the list. In such a circumstance, just go on with the interview. It is better to go through despite the forces of nature against you, than not taking the interview at all.

 

phone interview-03

Remember your Etiquette

The fact that the person on the other end cannot see you doesn’t mean that they cannot hear the unspoken or read the mood around your environment. Where you have a scheduled phone interview, your preparation should involve your dressing and posture. Official dressing and straight posture makes you feel official and your voice comes across as such. A slouched posture makes your voice come across as forced, tired or lazy. A call made while standing is the best way to project a strong clear voice. Make sure you smile and engage your interviewer. It is transferred to your voice and your listener on the other end can read your body language through your voice. Do not eat or chew gum while on phone. The phone doesn’t muffle your munching or slurping and even the most good-natured interviewer will be irked by it. Treat the phone interview as you would an oral one. Answer questions in a way that shows interest in the organization and avoid any egocentric questions. Salary and benefits should not be part of the telephone interview, unless the interviewer raises the issue.

Finally, follow up with a Thank-you email after the call and emphasize on your interest in working for the organization and how you will be a value-add to them.This will keep the interaction fresh in the interviewer’s mind and bring you closer to the next interview process.

 

Mueke Katwa
I have two years experience in Business Support which covers Human Resource as a function; and a lifelong passion in creative writing.
 

256 COMMENTS

    • Hello OKoth
      You should always ask question such as, what is the atmosphere of the team, the strategy of the organization and what are the main challenges of the roles you are going to undertake. On the other hand some of the questions that you should never ask are:
      Never ask about the job description of the position you are been interviewed for. Also never misjudge a person seniority nor the core believes of the company.

      ^AM

  1. Dear sir,
    Will be in order when I answer the question,”Tell us something about yourself,”
    when I anchor my response to the desirable qualities of the candidate in the advertisement, a short description of my experience, achievements and outstanding skills?

    Ev. Benjamin.

    • Hello Benjamin,
      If you are asked at the beginning of the interview, then the employer is in this case most likely interested in knowing about your skills and experiences. Talk in brief about your background and how all these will aid you in undertaking the responsibilities of the job at hand if given the chance. For example, you can talk about your experience and the skills you have acquired as a sales person, if you have been asked that same question in an interview for a sales related position.
      If asked at the end of the interview or any other point, you can talk about your interests and your character as a person, and how they relate to the requirements of the job. For example, you can mention how you are outgoing, you like socializing and networking, you are a go-getter and a business minded person etc if you are interviewing for the sales related position. You notice that the interests have to marry with the job you are interviewing for.

      ^AM

    • Hello Sila,
      If you are asked at the beginning of the interview, then the employer is in this case most likely interested in knowing about your skills and experiences. Talk in brief about your background and how all these will aid you in undertaking the responsibilities of the job at hand if given the chance. For example, you can talk about your experience and the skills you have acquired as a sales person, if you have been asked that same question in an interview for a sales related position.
      If asked at the end of the interview or any other point, you can talk about your interests and your character as a person, and how they relate to the requirements of the job. For example, you can mention how you are outgoing, you like socializing and networking, you are a go-getter and a business minded person etc if you are interviewing for the sales related position. You notice that the interests have to marry with the job you are interviewing for.

      ^AM

  2. The disscusion is good and I would love to say it will help to shape job seekers and enable them gain experience .Thanks.

  3. Hi, in this era of strides in techology, recruiters should embrace telephone & skype based interviews especially at the preliminary levels. I have had experiences in both, and sure recommend them. Orals would do better in the 2nd or final stages – saves time & money for both parties. Thanks & merry Christmas to you all.

  4. I like this Website Brighter Monday.. But i don’t understand why I can’t Apply online for wherever Employment I seem to be interested to…. Your reply path and the email address I signed up with not working … U always say that the username is there how will I know the user words which aren’t used… Improve on the area .. Verification of Emails…. Thank you

    • Hello Susan,
      Thanks for your feedback.
      We have duly noted your concerns and one of our Customer Support Representative will get back to you as soon as possible.
      ^EK

  5. What is the response when ask? Why do you need this job? Why do you think we should hire you? What will you bring that other can’t? Expected salary dispite not knowing salary range of an organization

  6. This is a good information which is well put by Brighter Monday. Thanks for helping us out in our career developments.

  7. Hullo brightermonday,
    Let me first thank you for your good job in giving us knowledge on how to deal with interviews and for sure they don’t come easy.I would like you to give me more insights on Competency Based interviews,if possible on the line of Drivers.More companies are now using this as their style of interviews.

    • Hi Peter,

      Thank you for your support thus far.
      Competency based interviews are the kind of interviews that require you as the candidate to give real-life cases.
      Such positions usually require hands-on skills that drive performance.
      We will cover these interviews in the near future for further guidance.
      Thank you Peter for the suggestion.

      ^DM

  8. Dear sir
    how do I answer when asked to state my weakness,and if I state them dont you think ill reduce my chances.
    Thank you

    • Hi George,
      When asked to state your weaknesses, the interviewer wants to find out if you are self aware. Self awareness is in itself a strength. If you understand your weaknesses and you have already devised a way to overcome or minimize them, this works greatly to you advantage. If you say you do not have weaknesses the interviewer dismisses you as being unrealistic because everyone possesses weaknesses. If you give canned answers like ” I am a perfectionist” you are also dismissed as lacking self awareness. The advise here is to conduct an honest self assessment to find out your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. You will then begin to discover ways of dealing with your weaknesses and threats and cultivating your strengths and opportunities. Ensure that this assessment is done before the interview because this question will most often than not come up.

      ^DM

    • Hi Johnstone,
      When an employer asks about your strategic career plan, what they really want to know is whether you are ambitious, have a plan for your life and to ascertain that you sitting for that interview is part of your bigger plan and its just not by chance. Usually candidates with a clear plan and goals and those who are able to link the job position in question with their larger plan have a better chance getting the job. This is because they possess the correct mindset and will stick around even in the face of challenges. This means that you must have short term and long term goals that are clear, focused and relevant to your career. Most of all, you must be able to make the connection between the position you are interviewing for and your career goals.

      ^DM

    • Hello Kevin,
      To answer the question about your salary expectation, first it is very important to understand that the employer is asking you this question to see if you understand your market value given your level of experience. Try as much as possible to avoid the urge of just mentioning figures and ranges for the sake of moving onto the next question. If have done your homework, you should have a fairly good idea of the kind of salary range for someone with your level of experience in the position you’re seeking. You are safer giving a range rather than a fixed figure.

      ^AM

    • Hello Kevin,
      Thanks for the question. First it is very important to understand that the employer is asking you this question to see if you understand your market value given your level of experience. Try as much as possible to avoid the urge of just mentioning figures and ranges for the sake of moving onto the next question. If have done your homework, you should have a fairly good idea of the kind of salary range for someone with your level of experience in the position you’re seeking. You are safer giving a range rather than a fixed figure.

      ^AM

    • Hi Pauline,
      Honesty is the best policy during interviews and this case is no different. Do not trash your previous employer in any way. Simply state that you were unfortunately let go, that you have learnt from your mistakes and that you are a better employee from that experience.

      ^DM

    • Hello Pauline,

      The most important thing to remember is honesty. This is because employers circles are small and they can find out the truth anyway. You need to be careful what you say and how you say it. Do not at any point trash your previous employer in any way. Let your interviewer know that you were unfortunately let go, that you see their way of reasoning and that you have become a better employee owing to that experience. Do not delve into much detail, unless your interviewer probes.

      ^DM

    • Hi Timothy,
      The interviewer is in other words asking you to prove that you are better than the other candidates they have met or will meet. In such an instant, you are being asked to give a pitch highlighting your skills, experience and strengths that will bring the solutions they are looking for. This is your chance to highlight your achievements, unique creativity at solving issues and aspects of your personality that are unique and relevant to the current job position. Your pitch should be clear, concise, honest and relevant.

      ^DM

  9. To what extend does the layout of one’s Resume affect his/her chance of getting shortlisted for interview? For instance ommitting personal details such as your tribe, languages you speak, marital status, date of birth, height etc.

    • Hi Gidraf,

      Your CV is usually your only shot of getting shortlisted for a panel interview. For every position advertised, Human Resource professional receive a lot of applications. The first filter process usually is based on criteria given in the profile of the advert ranging from qualifications, experience, age, and other traits. This means that the layout of information on your CV is Everything. In most cases, the potential employer doesn’t need personal details like your tribe, marital status, date of birth, height etc UNLESS it is included in the criteria profile of the advert. Such information can be requested for during the panel interview. This means that you have to read every job ad carefully and customize your CV to ensure it captures all information that is important to the potential employer as specified in the advert.

      ^DM

  10. Hello,
    If the potential employer asks about salary expectation, what is the most appropriate answer? Should one quote their most recent salary?
    K.J Kanyi

    • Hello Kanyi,
      If you are currently employed you can quote what you currently earn and start to negotiate from there.

      ^AM

    • Hello Franklin,
      If you are asked at the beginning of the interview, then the employer is in this case most likely interested in knowing about your skills and experiences. Talk in brief about your background and how all these will aid you in undertaking the responsibilities of the job at hand if given the chance. For example, you can talk about your experience and the skills you have acquired as a sales person, if you have been asked that same question in an interview for a sales related position.
      If asked at the end of the interview or any other point, you can talk about your interests and your character as a person, and how they relate to the requirements of the job. For example, you can mention how you are outgoing, you like socializing and networking, you are a go-getter and a business minded person etc if you are interviewing for the sales related position. You notice that the interests have to marry with the job you are interviewing for.

      ^AM

  11. The discussion will be of great help to me ,since I am a Job seeker and want to learn more on how to answer questions during an interview. merry Xmas n happy new year

    • Hi Charles,
      It is very prudent to be wary of fraudulent calls from conmen posing as potential employers. After receiving a call about a job you applied for and they conduct a telephone interview, be careful not to give away any personal information that might be used to steal from you e.g your bank details. Also, when called upon for the next stage in a panel interview, make sure you do a background check on the company in question to verify their credibility.

      ^DM

    • Hello Christine,
      You can thank the employer to for taking time to go through for your CV and Cover letter.

      ^AM

  12. How do you respond to questions like; why do you think you are the best candidate? What is it that you are bringing on board?

    • Hi Erick,

      The interviewer simply wants you to market your skills further. The secret here is to be ready for this question before hand and have all your strengths and unique skills on your finger tips. Ensure that you find a way of aligning your skills with the company’s needs to show how you will help them solve problems.

      ^DM

  13. Hi Brighter Monday.
    Many candidates has not beaten the question by employers ‘Why do you want to leave your current company?’ And many interviewers challenge the candidate ‘Why cant you request your boss to increase your salary instead of quitting from the company if you are worthy working-with?’ What and how candidates are supposed to answer these challenging questions?
    Finally I wish you Merry X-Mass & Happy new year 2016 for the entire Brighter Monday crews!

    • Hi Nelson,
      The discussion about why you want to leave your current employment should never be about better pay, even though that is why most people leave current employers. You should make it about passion, greater challenges, and you outgrowing your current position. Make sure you have tangible evidence in terms of current achievements for the interviewer to be convinced that you are indeed looking for bigger challenges. When you make this discussion about search for growth and bigger challenges, the interviewer will find no use in asking about you requesting your current boss for a raise.

      ^DM

  14. I lost my password and I can’t log in..and it like your site is not giving me that option. I need your assistance.

    • Hello Jane,
      If you are asked at the beginning of the interview, then the employer is in this case most likely interested in knowing about your skills and experiences. Talk in brief about your background and how all these will aid you in undertaking the responsibilities of the job at hand if given the chance. For example, you can talk about your experience and the skills you have acquired as a sales person, if you have been asked that same question in an interview for a sales related position.
      If asked at the end of the interview or any other point, you can talk about your interests and your character as a person, and how they relate to the requirements of the job. For example, you can mention how you are outgoing, you like socializing and networking, you are a go-getter and a business minded person etc if you are interviewing for the sales related position. You notice that the interests have to marry with the job you are interviewing for

      ^AM

  15. How do you answer these questions: Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?What is your career path?What are your weaknesses?Why should we hire you?

    • Hi Flavia,
      When an employer asks about your strategic career plan, what they really want to know is whether you are ambitious, have a plan for your life and to ascertain that you sitting for that interview is part of your bigger plan and its just not by chance. Usually candidates with a clear plan and goals and those who are able to link the job position in question with their larger plan have a better chance getting the job. You should also have a clear career path that is in a way linked to the job you are applying for. AS for weaknesses, your potential employer wants to find out if you are self aware and whether you master your weaknesses. Be honest and strategic when mentioning your weaknesses. They have to be work related and you must be in control of them. Never say that you don’t have a weakness. When someone asks why they should hire you, it is an opportunity for you to market your skills further. They want to know if you understand your value.

      ^DM

    • Hello Liro,
      If the employer does not ask about the salary, you can always bring it up towards the end of the interview.

      ^AM

    • Hello Victor,
      You should always be honest and polite during an interview. Also make sure that your are audible enough so that the interviewer can understand what you are saying.

      ^AM

  16. I am one of the beneficiaries of brighter Monday, coz i got a new job via this mode, now its 3months in the new organization and i would sincerely say thank you the brighter Monday team for your efforts to see people become successful.

  17. Would you please reset my password for me, I forgot the initial one and I have been trying to reset the old one to no avail

  18. Thank you for shedding light on this, am grateful for such an update.
    Am an entry level job seeker awaiting to graduate in a few months time having taken BA Economics, what are the right and appropriate steps to take.
    Thank you in advance.

  19. Thankyou for the advice. If at the interview they offer to give you a salary which is lower than you asked for, is it good to take it or should bargain for a rise?

    • Hello Lizz,
      If there is room for negotiation you can negotiate, however the are instances where the salary is fixed and there is no room for negotiation. In such situations you have the opportunities to either turn down the job or taking the job.

      ^AM

    • Hello Amudavi,
      We’re pleased to hear that you liked our article.
      Stay tuned for more informative articles.

      ^AM

  20. Thanks for your enlightenment. Brighter Monday has been of my help for over 5years now. Happy new year 2016

  21. Wow. This just came at the right time. Am looking for a secretary/ receptionist job. I hope God will see me through 2016.

    • Hello Fidelis,
      Kindly click here to view all the latest job opportunities in your area of study that matches with your talent.

      ^AM

  22. I trained as a farm Manager in Diploma in farm Resource Management.
    Am specialized in crop and Livestock production, marketing and planning. how can I apply successifully to get one.

    • Hello Erick,
      To get started, create a job seeker account by clicking on this link. Then Click on the sign up tab and fill in your profile details, and start applying for job opportunities that match your talents.

      ^AM

  23. I have adiploma in electrical engineeering with a hands on experience of three years.currently in need of abetter paying job.kindly link me up

  24. Telephone calls interviews are still strange though I’ve got an idea about it courtesy of brighter Monday. …many thanks

    • Hi Patrick,
      Telephone interviews are a new concept in Kenya, but they are gaining popularity all the same. Keep it Brighter Monday for more enlightening articles.

      ^DM

  25. Please brightermonday,we you give us all the job advts but most of them have no email address only box numbers. We live in the bush the only mean if sending CV is by mail. How can you help us?

    • Hello Zuma,
      Kindly send us the job ID of the position you are applying for, so that we can be able to assist you amply.

      ^AM

  26. Hello? am Evans kibet, fear is one of the major problem when being interviewed through phone. At times I myself is unable to speak resulting to stammering. How would I really overcome this? thank you.

    • Hello Saidi,
      We have some great opportunities at our website that you can have a look at;
      Click here to view all the latest job opportunities.

      ^AM

  27. hello Brighter Monday team.. I recently got a telephone interview. am sure i did well and they promised to schedule a date for a physical interview. I am yet to receive a date. Approximately how long should some one wait?

    • Hi Boniface,
      Thanks for the feedback.
      Please note that the time gap which exists between interviews is never standard and thus its not possible to pin point on the exact wait time.
      ^EK

      • I have tried severally to secure ajob through brighter monday todate not even one although i have never fail to apply where i think my qualifications and experience fit am i just not lucky or what though iforward them to my collegues they get and i beleive my experience and qualifications are far better than thwirs please help very desperate though currently working

        • Benadette

          Thank you for your reading.
          We noticed three things which if implemented will improve your employer response.
          First of all please update your profile up to a range of 98% to 100 % profile completeness.
          Secondly, it would be prudent if you could delete all the resumes on your account then upload an updated resume to your account.
          Finally, please subscribe to our job alerts and apply for jobs as soon as you get the alert on your email inbox.
          Hopefully, these simple yet effective measure would go a long way in improving your user experience on our job site.
          Please feel free to get back to us for more assistance.

          ^TM

  28. Hi,
    I really need a job.
    I have done Front office operations and currently doing Opera from Kenya Utalii College.

    • Hi Maryann,
      Thank you for writing to us.
      Review your credentials (CV cover letter)and make sure they are well updated. Apply jobs through our website and if you qualify you will certainly be called to go for that interview but we may not necessarily conduct it. We wish you all the best this year!

      ^TM

    • Hi Stephen,
      Thank you for your unwavering support.
      Keep it right here for more informative articles.

      ^TM

  29. what really could be wrong when one has the right papers, a good resume and he/ she is not called for interviews for a span of over 3 months?
    I had my very first interview with one of the best accounting firms in Kenya while I was still a student, after graduation I only have had one interview with Kenol Kobil which I failed on the last day. Since then I am never called for interviews.

    • Hi Josepaht,
      Your last minute disappointment could be as a result of performing poorly during your interview. You may be over confidence or answering in appropriately or even the dress code just look back and figure out where you went wrong. We have a good articles we have written that can assist you on the same just go through the link here https://goo.gl/gsBXtp and get good tips.

      ^TM

    • Hi Nekitowe,
      Thank you for the feedback.
      We are glad the tips you learned here has worked for you.

      ^TM

  30. hello Brighter Monday team, recently i got a text followed by an email from a company that invites me for an interview, what worries me is that they need a non refundable fee sent thro mpes before i attend this interview. is this a genuine interview or its some fraud. please advise.

    • Hi Dag.
      Thank you for reading.
      Make sure that you prepare yourself well before they call you.
      Read articles on interview and dresscode right here.
      All the best and if you need more tips on this feel free to write to us.

      ^TM

  31. Hi. I recently got an advert for a job on the web and applied. This was a foreign company based in Kenya but with HQ in UK. Later on a guy called unfortunately I was out of reach, then he dropped an SMS describing himself as a Hr for the company. He had requested I call him back, but being a foreign number, its hardly going through. How can I handle such a situation?

  32. Hello brightmonday,i am sick and tired looking for a job in hotels as reservation,front office supervisor, telephone operator,receptionist or guest relation but there is no positive chances of success,thanks for the tips above,its me Andrew currently working at Golden tulip hotel
    in masaki 0782 908072

    • Hi Pius,
      Thank you for your feedback.
      There is more installed for you just keep it here.

      ^TM

  33. Thank you for the tips brighter Monday I have been reading each and every time they are posted and I have applied job that match my experience that is in finance but unfortunately I get regret emails I feel disappointed in myself what can I do to get a job I really need one.

    • You sure can Elvinah, kindly review your account to update your cv. In addition to that also complete your profile up to 100% and anytime you receive an alert from us make sure that your time of application is immediate. We have good CV writing tips right here click https://www.brightermonday.co.ke/blog/get-acv-template-works/
      If you do this, you will increase your chances of getting feedback. All the best and let us know if you need more assistance.

      ^TM

  34. I appreciate your deep concern on making the best for others, this is real a far reached standard of civilization. Thanks alot, blessed be you all.

    • Hi Jonas
      Thank you for reading,
      We endeavor to offer career advice to all our readers.
      Be blessed too and keep it here.

      ^TM

    • Hi Phillip

      Thank you for reading.
      Stay tuned for more and all the best in your en devours.

      ^TM

  35. This is great and highly appreciated! When I was reading I felt very confident as if I had a phone interview, thanks for sharing this Brighter Monday Team.

    • You’re welcome Alatukela,
      We are glad to have boosted your confidence but make sure that you implement what you have read..that way you will know how effective the
      information is.

      ^TM

    • You’re welcome Ambros,
      We are glad you are enlightened.
      All the best and be blessed.

      ^TM

    • It is important Julia and thanks a lot for reading.
      If you need more tips on this just keep it here.

      ^TM

    • Hi Charly,

      Thank you for reading.
      Keep it right here for more informative articles.

      ^TM

  36. Am greatful for the information. Am now informed and very ready for any phone call interview.

    • Hi Calvin,
      Thank you for the feedback and we hope you implement all what you have read. All the best!

  37. Am greatful for the vital information. Am now very ready for any phone call interview.

Comments are closed.