How to comfortably handle telephonic interviews?

Mastering Telephonic Interviews – How to Ace Them Comfortably

Telephonic Interviews make up for 50% or more of your interviews.

Time to learn their unique challenges, opportunities and how to handle them with ease!

Telephonic interviews have become a norm these days for companies to screen you before inviting you for an in-person interview. We are seeing a dramatic rise in remote work culture. The covid period has shown employers that they get their work done equally effectively even when their employees are working from home.

Rather, allowing the staff to work remotely opens up possibilities of attracting top talent for them! Interestingly this has also led to higher trust in getting things done remotely, which includes interviews too!

Top companies keep receiving thousands of applications for their job postings. So, employers have a strong need to conduct interviews quickly and efficiently. This means they cannot always afford to invite the job applicants to their offices. So telephonic interviews have become an essential tool for recruiters.

However, they can also be a bit tricky, as they lack the visual cues that are present in an in-person interview. This can make it harder for you to gauge the interviewer’s reactions to your answers and adjust your communication accordingly.

So what do you need to know and what should you do to ace your telephonic interviews? In this article, we will provide you with tips and tricks on how to adapt and win your next telephonic interview, so that you can crack top jobs in the market!

How telephonic interviews are different from in-person interviews?

Just imagine speaking to an unknown person who is trying to judge you for an important career opportunity, without you being able to even see him! How does it feel? What thoughts would be running through your mind?

Interviews are emotionally tough situations. There is stress, fear, and uncertainty that can bog you down. So you are naturally looking for things that can help you navigate better. Being able to see the interviewers, their facial expressions, and body language is one of them. Telephonic interviews deny it completely to you!

This can create more challenges, such as higher difficulty dealing with interview questions and responding well to the interviewers. But such interviews have few benefits such as the ability to conduct interviews in different locations where you are more comfortable or being able to experience more relaxation when dealing especially with tough interview questions!

Additionally, telephonic interviews can be more time-efficient, as they do not require travel.

To prepare for a telephonic interview, it’s important to make sure you have a quiet and private space to take the call and to have a copy of your resume and any other relevant materials readily available.

Which Types Or Rounds of Interviews are carried out Over the Phone?

For a variety of situations during the hiring process, telephonic interviews make sense. But the biggest driving reason behind the adoption of interviewing over the phone is – higher efficiency!

Typically, the following types or rounds of interviews are carried out over a call:

1. Initial Screening Rounds

This is when interviewers or recruiters just want to scratch the surface and get an initial idea of who you are. It also gives them a flavor of whether you may be a fit for the role.

These telephonic interviews can be quick and to the point. Generally, one interview is enough for screening, but some companies may prefer 2 or 3 screening rounds too!

2. Behavioral Interviews

Behavioral interviews are all about getting a judgment of your behavior. Interviewers ask questions that put you in specific situations mentally and emotionally to inspire your natural response to them.

Some of these questions can be more intellectual in nature. So the interviewers don’t need to see you or be in person with you to get a better idea.

Behavioral interview questions are often asked in the middle or later part of any interview or overall interview rounds.

3. Technical Interviews

For certain roles that require specific technical skills, a telephonic interview can be used to assess your technical knowledge and abilities.

Again, this is more about your intellect than about your emotions or behavior. So it is better to avoid hassles for both – the interviewer and you – to be present in person!

4. Follow-up Interviews

Often after the most important rounds of interviews, interviewers may want to ask a few additional questions to you. This is mainly to clarify any points that were not covered during the in-person interview.

This can be handled rather quickly over a phone call since the interviewer has a decent judgment of you by then.

5. Final Interview

The final round of interviews are often about just getting the remaining nitty gritty or formalities if any for the employers.

Some companies conduct the final interview over the phone, where the candidate speaks with the hiring manager or a senior member of the team, to discuss the role and the company in more detail.

By the time the final round needs to happen, both the interviewer and you have a solid understanding of each other. So, why bother you with the travel and other hassles that come with in-person interviews?

It’s worth noting that different companies may use telephonic interviews in different ways, and the rounds of interviews that are conducted over the phone can vary depending on the company and the position.

Top Challenges when facing Telephonic Interviews for You

Let’s take a comprehensive look at the challenges you may face while giving the interviews over the phone!

The list may seem long, but it is worth going over it to prepare well. Remember, telephonic interviews are going to consume at least 50% of the interview rounds if not more in modern hiring!

1. Difficulty in reading body language

Without visual cues, you will find it hard to gauge the interviewer’s reactions to your answers and adjust your communication accordingly.

2. Technical difficulties

You may face issues with your phone connection, background noise, or other technical difficulties. They tend to hamper the flow of the interview.

3. Lack of visual aids

In a face-to-face interview, you can use visual aids such as slides or portfolio samples to supplement your answers. During a telephonic interview, you’ll need to rely on verbal explanations alone.

4. Limited nonverbal cues

In an in-person interview, nonverbal cues such as a smile, nod, or eye contact can help you to convey interest and engagement. It leads to a good rapport with the interviewer. This is often harder to do over the phone as you depend on your voice alone!

5. Distracting environments

During a telephonic interview, you or the interviewers may be in distracting environments. It can be disastrous to engagement and proper communication during the call.

6. Difficulty in building rapport

Building a connection with the interviewer can be harder over the phone. So, it takes more time for both parties in the interview to properly open up. It’s important that you actively engage with the interviewer. Use a positive and upbeat tone to bring enthusiasm and openness.

7. Limited ability to ask follow-up questions

In a face-to-face interview, you can use nonverbal cues such as nodding or tilting your head to indicate that you want to ask a follow-up question. This can be harder to do over the phone. So, you may need to rely on verbal cues such as saying “Can I ask a follow-up question?”

8. Difficulty in interpreting the interviewer’s questions

Without any visual cues, it can be harder for you to understand the interviewer’s questions. This can confuse you or you may misinterpret the interviewer.

9. Limited ability to make a good first impression

You will experience the highest disadvantage of this in the screening rounds. A telephonic interview does not provide an opportunity for a good first impression with a firm handshake or good dressing. Sometimes it may be important for the interviewer to imagine if the interviewee is a good fit for the company.

10. Difficulty in understanding the interviewer’s accent

When on the call you cannot see the interviewers. It may be harder to understand an interviewer who has a strong accent. In turn, you may find it harder to give clear and concise answers.

11. Difficulty in asking for clarification

It can be harder to ask for clarification over the phone. You cannot nodd or tilt your head to indicate that you don’t understand a question. Plus, you may be puzzled about the interviewers emotions or intentions when you are seeking clarity.

12. Limited capability to negotiate

Negotiating terms and conditions can be harder over the phone. It is obvious. You and the interviewer, both are in the middle of this game of finalizing a few things or setting expectations during the interviewers. But lack of visual queues lead to limited capability to influence the interviewers.

13. Limited ability to make a lasting impression

Whether you get the job or not, lasting impression matters during the interviews. You never know when such impressions can work in your favor!

When you are able to use your overall persona, instead of just the voice – you have a limited bandwidth or capacity to make a long lasting positive impression.

How to Prepare for Telephonic Interview

Preparing for a telephonic interview is similar to preparing for an in-person interview. But you haev understood how they are different from normal interviews and the challenges they bring to you.

So, there are a few additional steps you can take to help ensure a successful interview.

10 Crucial Tips to Help You to Prepare Well for a Telephonic Interview

1. Researching the company and the Job

Research the company and the position you are applying for. Build strong understanding of what the company does and what the position entails.

2. Prepare answers to common interview questions

Research common interview questions for the position you are applying for and practice answering them. We have covered many frequently asked interview questions on our blog that you can explore.

3. Find a quiet and private space

Make sure you have a quiet and private space to take the call. Ensure you are getting a good phone signal and minimal background noise.

4. Test your equipment

Test your phone, headset and even your computer to make sure they are working properly. Check if you can hear clearly. If you have done any mock interview with someone you know, you will get a better hang of this.

5. Keep a copy of your resume and any other useful materials

Have a copy of your resume and any other relevant materials readily available, so that you can refer to them as needed.

6. Speak clearly and confidently

Practice speaking clearly and confidently, using an upbeat tone and speaking at a moderate pace. Since, all that you have is your voice to impress the interviewers, learn how to convey yourself clearly.

7. Be aware of your nonverbal communication

Carefully observe your tone of voice, pace of speaking and use of filler words, as these can affect how you come across over the phone. Listen to the interviewers voice notes with total concentration.

These non verbal cues in communication say a lot more than your words in certain important situations during any conversation.

8. Ensure that you are on time

If it was an in-person interview, delays can be explained. But with interviewes over a call, your reasons for delay can be considered as excuses!

After all, what can really come in the way of you simply being able to pick up your phone on time? So. make sure you are available and ready to take the call at the scheduled time.

9. Be ready for technical difficulties

Be prepared for technical difficulties, such as a bad phone connection. Have a backup plan in place in case of an emergency.

10. Follow up after the interview

Send a thank you note or email to the interviewer, to remind them of your interest in the position and reiterate your qualifications for the job. It can help you establish better impression and rapport.

Mistakes during Telephonic Interviews that you can Easily Avoid

Lets have a quick look at the biggest mistakes you can make during the telephonic interviews.

  1. Taking the call in a noisy or public place.
  2. Speaking too quickly or too slowly.
  3. Using filler words such as “um” or “ah”
  4. Interrupting the interviewer or speaking over them.
  5. Multitasking while on the call.
  6. Putting the call on hold, unless you have asked the interviewer’s permission.
  7. Being unprepared or have poor phone manners.
  8. Negative language or tonality or speaking ill of any previous employer or colleagues.
  9. Being too casual. Remember it’s a professional setting and you should maintain that formality.

10 Frequently Asked Questions in Telephonic Interview

Here are the most common questions that you may want to prepare for before a telephonic interview.

These questions, if you carefully see are either icebreakers or meant to get initial deeper insights about your overall persona.

  1. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? – You can find 20 carefully crafted answers in our blog post.
  2. What Are Your Career Aspirations? – We have written 30+ Impressive sample answers about it to spark your creativity!
  3. Why are you interested in this position? – We have already crafted 50 punchy answers for the same!
  4. What experience do you have that is relevant to this role? – The project description section in your resume will come in handy when answering this.
  5. How do you handle stress or pressure on the job? – A very common interview question on how you handle the pressure and stress at work, that we have written 20 impactful answers for!
  6. Can you give me an example of a time when you had to solve a difficult problem? – Look at the achievements on your resume. You may find some hidden gems for this question. You can also read 27 examples of sample answers about your achievements!
  7. How do you handle conflict or difficult situations at work? – This is especially about how you handle conflict between the members of the team!
  8. Can you tell me about a specific accomplishment that you are particularly proud of? – There is a method to smartly choose your achievements and talk about them impressively. We have covered it in detail before.
  9. How do you stay organized and manage your time effectively? – Another way to ask this is “Are you good at Time Management?
  10. Why do you want to work for this company? – This is where your research will be useful. But if you really want to impress the interviewers, you may want to talk about how your concept of ideal work environment is in sync with the company culture.

It’s also important to have specific examples to back up your answers, and practice your delivery over the phone. It’s also a good idea to have a copy of your resume and any other relevant materials readily available, in case the interviewer asks to see them.

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