Your Ultimate Guide to Nailing a Phone Interview

While the phone interview may be favored to start, it’s definitely not the easiest. The interviewer is paying attention to the vocal stumbles, along with distracting background noise, shuffling of paper, and even the click of a mouse as you scroll their website looking for information. With this guide you will get some guidance on how to answer the most asked questions with confidence and style, on the phone and in person.

Tell me a little about yourself…

This infamous question is one which any serious interviewer will ask. This question is so open, it’s easy to just read off of your résumé. The interviewer is more impressed by your ability to communicate not what you communicate. Mindlessly rambling about your life story makes you look disorganized. It is a refreshing touch to mix it up. Beforehand, compile a list of relevant work experience, as well as, at least one personal fun fact and use that as the little amount you tell the interviewer. It makes them remember you. For example:

“I moved to New York from Atlanta in 2005 to start my Broadway acting career, and while auditioning for the Lion King I broke my leg. During my downtime, I realized my passion for computers and began honing my skills in IT departments across the city, soon becoming a sought after professional…..”

What experience do you have in (fill in the blank)?

This question obviously varies between interviews, so it will definitely depend on industry.  In reality, this question is very similar to; “tell me a little about yourself.” Rather than outlining every assignment you’ve ever completed regarding the skill, try to briefly, yet succinctly, outline what it is you wish to share.

What are your strengths?

This is probably the hardest question of all interview questions. To make it short and sweet, stick to the nuts and bolts of the most needed skills for your profession incorporating how you work with others. Try not to generalize with phrases like, “I’m a team player” and consider rephrasing to something like “I am skilled at cultivating teams that exceed company expectations by….” See the difference?

What are your weaknesses?

For this question, you don’t want to sound like a rejected girlfriend. Interviewers ask you this not to elicit feelings of pity, they ask you this to see how well you know yourself and how confident you are. To answer this, try to recall some skills you’ve always had, and still do, struggle with and then try to articulate it as confidently as possible. Give the interviewer your game plan to get better. For example:

“I haven’t been the best at ________, however, I have done ________, ________, and ________ to improve, and I’m not ashamed to say I’m still working on it.”

What are your salary requirements?

I am a stickler for the same answer; negotiable. However, choosing to tell the interviewer that your salary is negotiable, doesn’t give you a pass not to do your research.  Not only do you need to put a number on your livelihood requirements, but you need to research what are the going rates for the occupation, company, and area. There are many sites to choose from, but I find Payscale.com to be the most helpful.

“While my salary requirements are negotiable, it is dependent on the overall benefits package, as well as, the upcoming opportunities for promotion. Based on my research, the going salary for this position is $50,000.00. I am willing to negotiate from there.”

Do you have any more questions? 

Always have questions!  It is best to have questions relating to the company, and not just for the position. Yes, I know you want to know as much as possible regarding the next steps, however, the questions should be geared towards how you fit into their puzzle. Questions like:

During my company research, I see you have added more client services, how will that influence what you require for this position?

Now it’s time to take out that notepad and prepare for that next phone interview. It only takes a small amount of effort to get your foot in the door and with this guide you will be able to keep it there! Happy job hunting!