Overcome the Phone Interview Jitters!

Posted on: December 4th, 2012 by
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Let’s start out with some simple questions and work toward solutions.

Why do many companies want to screen-interview by phone?

  • It’s cheap, plus it narrows down a long list of potential applicants to a handful
  • It’s quick, efficient, uses standard questions and can provide a comparison of answers

What can you do to come out as one of the better candidates?

  • Keep your resume handy.  There is something on your resume that has prompted the call
  • Identify the two or three things on the position description where you can focus, based on your outstanding results
  • Do the research on each company and keep a log handy.  Be prepared and understand the company’s needs, history and direction
  • Keep a “cheat sheet” of potential questions that you know will probably be asked.  Practice the best answers to standard questions.
  • Take notes:  The interviewer’s name, contact number, key questions asked and your responses.  It will give you a sense of direction to what they’re looking for in a candidate.

What are some standard questions to prepare?

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Where do you see yourself in 1, 5, and 10 years?
  • Describe your leadership style and operating approach.
  • Describe a situation where you had to work with others to solve a difficult problem.
  • Give an example of a stressful situation. How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about the three greatest accomplishments in your career.  Short-falls?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

Many of these questions are difficult to answer if your unprepared, so plan your responses beforehand.  With your resume, research and practice, you should be ready for most all of the screening-type questions. If you’ve done your homework, you’ll be prepared.

Some quick advise:

  • Focus on short answers:  Identify the issue, define the action you took, then outline the results.  Most people will talk too much when they’re nervous.  By focusing on these three elements you’ll answer the question in a clear and crisp manner.  If there are more questions you’ll know the interviewer has a heightened interest in the subject.
  • Keep a smile on your face:  Your attitude will be transmitted over the phone lines, so smile, be enthusiastic, positive, energetic and always polite.
  • Thank the interviewer when you’re finished, for being helpful and informative
  • Reinforce your interest in the position and ask for a person-to-person interview to more fully explore your background and experiences for the open position
  • Ask if there is additional information that would be helpful for their review
  • Ask what the time-line for filling the position.


Send any and all questions to Mygreenerfuture1@cox.net.

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