Telephone interview – tips, preparation and typical questions
The telephone interview in the application process is becoming increasingly popular. But is it structured the same way as a face-to-face conversation? What questions come my way and who calls whom? Do not panic! We’ll show you how to best prepare.
What is a telephone interview?
More and more companies are switching from face-to-face interviews to telephone interviews. Especially now, in times of pandemics, there are only telephone interviews anyway. However, a telephone interview can also be a preliminary stage to the job interview, i.e. a kind of pre-selection of applicants.
So the recruiter or the person in charge will interview you over the phone. There are also more and more interviews via Skype or Zoom. The fact that you have been invited to a telephone interview is a good sign, that the company liked your application.
So you may take this as a compliment. The recruiter wants to get a closer impression of you without inviting you directly to an interview in person.
Now is your opportunity to convince the recruiter and the company about you and your qualifications already in the telephone interview.
Why telephone interview instead of job interview?
The reasons for a telephone interview are often economic or organizational. Because interviewing over the phone saves money and time. Often, countless applicants apply for a position and the personnel managers hardly have time to meet all applicants in person.
Often, recruiters don’t make the decision whether you get the job on their own – but they do make the pre-selection. This saves them time, money and a possible long journey. Also, with a phone interview, the company can screen multiple applicants in a shorter amount of time. Recruiters also want to test your spontaneity and flexibility .
Because a telephone conversation requires good communication skills. Soft skills. Many jobs also look for applicants who can conduct a professional telephone conversation, which means that the recruiters also test your communication skills.
However, a phone interview can also mean that you have gaps in your resume or the company still has questions for you. These can be related to your career or to your
foreign language skills, hard skills or computer skills.
The company also has the advantage of getting to know you better.
If you were successful in the interview and then are still invited for a personal interview, the chance is higher for the company that you are a perfect fit for the advertised position.
The telephone interview can also be an advantage for you as an applicant. For example, you save time with the journey. Plus, you don’t have to put together an extra outfit or even buy a new one. This means that you will not incur any costs. Interviewing over the phone can also take away your excitement since you don’t have to face the recruiters in person.
When will the telephone interview take place?
Normally, after you have applied for the job, you will be sent an announcement of the telephone interview. By e-mail sent to you. Sometimes the recruiter may call you without prior notice. In this case, it’s up to you whether you’re spontaneous and get involved in the conversation or if you’d rather prepare.
You don’t have to justify yourself for this either and can simply excuse yourself briefly and say that you have another appointment or don’t have time right now. You can directly suggest a prompt new appointment and ask how long the interview is expected to take.
How long does a phone interview take?
The length of the interview will tell you what to expect from the phone interview. If it’s only a 20-minute interview, it’s usually only about a few details about yourself or any questions you may have. Gaps and questions about your resume.
However, if the interview lasts up to an hour, you can expect this to be a more in-depth interview for which you should prepare well.
As a rule, an interview lasts 45 to 60 minutes. A telephone interview most only 30 minutes.
Typical telephone interview questions
The questions in a telephone interview can vary greatly depending on the company and the position. Usually, as in a face-to-face interview, your interviewer will go over your resume and ask questions about any gaps or a change of employer.
The following questions may come your way in a phone interview:
How does the telephone interview work?
The telephone interview is structured similarly to a personal interview. It may differ a bit in some places, of course, but usually the process of a phone interview is as follows:
Greeting and self-presentation
As in the job interview, both interview partners introduce themselves at the beginning. First, the host, i.e. the recruiter and his or her interviewees introduce themselves. After that, it’s your turn. You can simply introduce yourself again briefly with your name and give your interviewers an overview of your career to date. This is the so-called Self-presentation. In the meantime, you can use your resume as a guide and go into detail about the qualifications that are relevant for the job. You should also expect questions here.
Expectations and requirements
At this point, interviewers often ask about your ideas and expectations to see if you are a good fit for the company and the position.
Questions and info
Your interviewer will have thought about some questions before the interview that should show whether you are suitable for the advertised position. Recruiters use the interview to learn more about you and review your information, as well as see your reactions to certain questions.
What do you expect from a company?
The interviewer will then explain the general conditions of the job and organizational matters (what happens next, etc.). This can be, for example, another interview, a possible starting date or your salary expectations.
Questions and farewell
Phew – almost there. At the end of the interview, you will often be asked if you have any other questions. You should ALWAYS use this option. Firstly, you can learn more about the position and the company and secondly, this is also always a test of what questions you ask. So it should definitely not be questions that you could have found out on the website, that can reflect badly on you. At the end, wait for your interviewer to see you off first. He will probably tell you at this point when you can expect to hear back.
Frequently asked questions
Edited at: December 7, 2022