What to expect from a phone interview

Wednesday 7. 2018

Phone interviews are becoming an increasingly popular stage within the recruitment process. They’re quick and simple, yet can tell an employer a lot about a candidate. Some prefer a phone interview as it can be conducted from within the comfort of their own home. Others, on the other hand, may feel unsettled the idea of one because of the uncertainty surrounding them.

A phone interview, in our opinion, is great for both client and candidate. For an employer, it can give an initial impression of a interviewee, it can determine how comfortable they are on the phone and of course, it can provide the interviewer with a chance to offer a number of questions. For the interviewee, phone interviews can be received from their own home wherein they may feel more relaxed and comfortable, they give a chance to have a think about how to answer a question and above all – they present the opportunity to stand out as a candidate from the get go.

On the other hand however, sometimes phone interviews aren’t a favoured choice. This is mainly because of the sense of unknown. With interviews, there are some common questions that you can expect and the interview process is pretty standardised. Sometimes this can be challenged with a task or impromptu presentation, but more often than not – one can know what to expect when walking in to an interview.

Phone interviews, on the other hand, are accompanied with more guesswork. “What will be asked?” “How long does it take?” “Will a decision be reached at the end of the call?” “Is the interviewer testing out my speaking skills and capabilities?” These are all common questions of the standard interviewee. To put your mind at ease, and to help you appreciate the benefits of a phone interview, we’re here to answer some of your queries.

What to expect from a phone interview

If you’re offered a phone interview, you may well have a lot of questions. Call us your recruitment guardian angels, as we’re on hand to answer them and settle any pre-interview jitters that you may have.

How many questions are asked?

There’s no telling how many questions a specific employer will ask as every company is different. Some may want to simply find out your interests and about your experiences. Others may ask a few interview style questions. According to Inc., most phone interviews have fewer than 5 questions. Be mindful however as this can vary from business to business.

How long does a phone interview take?

Similarly to the question ‘how long is a piece of string’ this one can’t really be answered with accuracy. Personally, we would say that phone interviews should range between 15-30 minutes, but don’t be surprised if yours lasts longer. It’s usually a good sign as it can mean that the interviewer is interested in you and wants to know more about you.

What will be asked?

Phone interviews aren’t typically as probing as face to face interviews. It depends on circumstance. If a phone interview is acting as your main interview then you can expect more questions, but if this is a ‘warm up interview’ before your main meeting then the questions asked should be pretty standardised.

Though you shouldn’t take our word as law, these are some common questions that we’d expect to arise in an interview.

  • “What attracted you to this job role/company?
  • “Tell me a bit about yourself”
  • “Is there anything that isn’t on your CV that you think is important for us to know”
  • “What is your notice period at your current job?”
  • “Why are you looking to leave your current job?”
  • “When would you be available for an interview?”
  • “Do you have any questions for me?”

What is the purpose of a phone interview?

A good question that you might have is simply “what’s the point?” Well, there’s a number of reasons as to why phone interviews are becoming more and more popular.

Firstly, they’re more flexible for both employer and interviewee. Secondly, they’re often a lot easier to conduct. Picking up the phone is much simpler than setting up a specified interview meeting time and place. Thirdly, they’re quicker than face-to-face interviewers, which means employers can assess a wider range of candidates.

Is the interviewer assessing how I speak on the phone?

Usually no, at this stage of the recruitment process it is unlikely that you’ll be under such meticulous testing.

On the other hand however, a phone interview is a simple way for the employer to assess how well spoken you are, how you cope under pressure and how you fair being on the phone. If you get nervous in such situations, or have ‘phone fright’ so to speak, it wouldn’t hurt to try out some tactics to calm any nerves and anxiety you may have.

Finally, will a decision be made at the end of the interview?

Sometimes, an interviewer may be hosting a phone interview with the decision that they already want you to come in for the next stage. Most of the time however, they are a tactic deployed by businesses to cut down prospective candidates. Therefore, on occasion the ‘next step’ will be given at the end of the phone call. But most of the time, you won’t hear back right away. Expect an email within the next few days if you wasn’t told an outcome there and then.

For more help and assistance with your upcoming phone interview, get in touch with TMI Resourcing. We help match candidates up to positions that are right for them and can also guide you through the recruitment journey.