Written by Arcelia Camacho, PMP
This article was originally published in the PrepCan, online pre-arrival employment services website, https://prepcan.ca/
Also known as a screening interview, phone interviews are used by employers and recruiters to short-list you for an in-person interview. During a phone interview, you answer questions about your relevant work experience, qualifications, and salary expectations for the job.
When and why are phone interviews used?
Phone interviews are often used as the first step of the hiring process for the following reasons:
They are a cost-effective method for companies to short-list candidates.
The telephone interview allows employers to make a quick assessment of the candidates’ suitability for the job.
They can be used to assess the applicant’s communication skills.
What is the goal of a phone job interview?
For the employer, the goal may be to screen out some of the potential candidates and shortlist the ones they want to continue the hiring process with.
For you, the goal is to get an invitation for a second interview.
When do I know you have been invited for a phone interview?
There are two ways employers can schedule a phone interview with you.
- The company emails you to inform you the date and time when they call you on to conduct the interview.
- The company makes a surprise call which is also known as an unscheduled phone interview.
Tips for a successful phone interview
1. Decide whether you can take an unscheduled phone interview.
- If you can identify the caller and you are not in a situation where you can focus on the interview, let the call go to voicemail and call back the interviewer later that day.
- If the call takes you by surprise, ask the interviewer if you could re-schedule the call.
- If you feel the interviewer is hesitant to re-schedule, you may want to take the call and do the best you can.
2. Prepare for this kind of job interview
- Setup a quiet, interruption-free place to take the call.
- Have easy access to your company research and job posting.
- Prepare common phone interview questions.
- Write down a list of questions about the job that you would like to ask the interviewer.
- Practice. There are free employment centres that offer programs to help you improve your interviewing skills. To find help in your area, go to Find free newcomer services near you.
3. Follow this advice to make a good first impression
- Place a mirror close to you and make an effort to looking into it and smiling while talking to your interviewer. Smiling makes you sound engaged and enthusiastic.
- Speak clearly, enunciate your words, and speak loudly enough.
- At the end of the interview, ask for next steps and the interviewer’s contact information.
- Thank the interviewer for his/her time and restate your interest in the position.
- Finally, email a thank you note within 24 hours of the phone interview.
Phone interviewing is an essential skill you need to master as it is a pre-requisite for in-person interviews.
One way to become better at it is to favour phone conversations over email ones. Remember; practice makes perfect!