Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to Succeed In a Telephone Interview

I got the below from a friend of mine and felt it would be very useful for all of our students to know.

 How To Succeed In a Telephonic Interview

Learning  how to successfully handle telephone interviews is crucially important. If you don't make it past the telephone interview, you will not be hired by the company, even if you are qualified. Many companies will use telephone interviews to help them lower their expenses. They are also used as a method of screening a large group of applicants to decide who is qualified for a group interview.

It is important for you to be prepared for a telephone interview. These interviews will be broken down into two types, and these are automated and non-automated. Automated telephone interviews are those that require you to answer a series of questions. With the non-automated telephone interview, you will be talking to an actual human. Many companies use both. You will want to prepare for a telephone interview in the same way you would prepare for a standard interview. However, the tone of your voice and the answers you give to questions will play a bigger role than your appearance.

Always keep your resume in a place where you can easily view it. You will be asked questions during the interview that you may need to answer with the information you have on your resume. If you have to look for it, the interview is over. During most telephone interviews, the employer will ask you about things you've accomplished. You will either need to have your accomplishments memorized, or you will need to have them written down. You should always have a pen and paper ready. You may be required to write down important information, and you won't have time to go look for these things.

If you will not be able to conduct a telephone interview at a specific time, it is important to make sure you let the employer know this. Missing the interview will kill your chances of being hired immediately. Before the interview starts, you will need to make sure you are in a quiet place. Noisy distractions such as pets, children, and loud noises must be stopped before the interview starts. Make sure there is no loud music playing, and the television and radio should be turned off. While conducting a telephone interview may sound easy, it is more difficult than you think. It is best to practice the telephone interview. You can do this with your family or friends. While speaking properly is important in a standard interview, it is crucial on the telephone.

The interviewer will place an emphasis on your tone of voice, background noise, and the way you answer questions. If you speak too soft, too fast, or too loud, you will increase your chances of failing the telephone interview. The automated interview will require you to concentrate. You should have a general idea of the questions that you will be asked, and you should have your answers prepared in advance. When you talk on the phone, avoid using the expressions "ums," "okays," and "uhs." Saying these things too much will show that you are not prepared, or you lack confidence.

Obvious things that you will want to avoid during the telephone interview are loud background noises, eating food, or drinking. Having a small glass of water nearby can help you keep your mouth dry, and this can improve your voice. As in regular interviews, never interrupt the person that interviewing you. Wait until they ask a question or make a statement before you give a response. Always use the title of the person you are talking to.
You should never use their first name unless they tell you its okay. Remember, your goal should be to pass the telephone interview so that you can move on to the next interview. It is the first step, and is just as important as the other interviews. You will need to make sure you're prepared before it starts.

You can't afford to make mistakes. Mistakes will lead to failure, and you are not given a whole lot of chances during the telephone interview.

Do's and Dont's in a Telephonic Interview

When you conduct a telephone interview, there are a number of things you will want to do, and there are also some things that you will want to avoid. Most companies will use telephone interviews as the first step in the hiring process.
If you fail this interview, you will not be hired by the company. Because of this, it is important to be mindful of things you should do and avoid. In this article, I will go over these things in detail. The first thing you will want to avoid is eating food during the interview process. You should eat before or after the telephone interview has been held.

If the interviewer hears you eating while they are talking to your, the chances of you passing the interview have decreased dramatically. In most cases, there is little need for the interview to go on beyond this point. To do so would be a waste of your time, and it would be a waste of the interviewer's time as well. Eating food during a telephone interview is rude, unprofessional, and disgusting. It could be likened to coming to a standard job interview wearing dirty clothes. It is the fastest way to fail the interview process. This is something you will want to avoid at all times.

The next thing that you don't want to do during the telephone interview is interrupt the person that is interviewing you. This is rude and unprofessional, and if you do it more than once, you will destroy your chances of passing the telephone interview. It is also important to make sure you give short answers to questions that are asked. Never elaborate on any answer you give unless you are asked to do so by the interviewer. When you are asked a question, take a moment to think it over. Don't just answer the question quickly without thinking. If you do, you can give the wrong answer, and giving the wrong answers will cause you to fail the telephone interview.

It is also crucial for you to avoid speaking too fast or too slow. You should speak at an average level of speed. This is something that you may have to practice. If you speak too quickly, the interviewer may have to ask you to repeat yourself, which is inconvenient for the both of you. If you speak too slow, you may give the impression that you are not an intelligent person. It is also important to stay on topic. Remember, your goal is to pass the telephone interview so you can move on to the screening interview. Nothing else is important when it comes to you getting the job, and you should always stay on topic.

Another thing that you will want to avoid is not being prepared. As the saying goes, when you "fail to prepare, you prepare to fail." If the interviewer asks you about the company's history, can you given them a detailed response? If they ask you why you want to work for their company, do you have a valid answer? You should never be surprised by any questions that are asked during the interview. Surprises will lead to failure. It is also important for you to make sure the interviewer never has to repeat themselves. If you do, this is generally a sign that you are not listening to what they have to say. Allowing this to occur one time during the interview can keep you from being hired by the company.

Telephone interviews are extremely important. If you want to pass them successfully, you must know what to do, and you must also know what to avoid. Many people fail these interviews because they don't know what to do.
They allow distractions or background noises to capture their attention. In other cases, they decide to conduct the telephone interview without making preparations beforehand. The telephone interview can be difficult. Most of the time, there are no second chances. If you make any of the mistakes I have mentioned in this article, it is likely that you will be looking for employment with another company. Take the time to practice, and learn everything you can about the proper telephone interview procedures.

Dealing with Tricky questions

How To Deal With Tricky Interview Questions

During your HR interview, you will be presented with a number of questions from the interviewer. The way you answer these questions will play a role in whether or not you're hired. While some of these questions have obvious answers, others will be tricky, and the most obvious response may not be the correct one.
In this article I will present a number of questions that you may be asked during an interview, and I will provide you with a general response that will allow you to answer the question correctly. One question that an employer may ask you about is your starting salary.

1. What problems did you have at previous jobs?

This is another tricky interview question that you will need to be ready for. To answer it correctly you will want to state the problem in the correct context. For example, you could answer this question by saying that you didn't have enough of a challenge at your previous job. This is a positive statement that will show the interviewer that you are looking for a job that will challenge you. Never answer this question in a negative way. Present the problems from your previous job in a way that will allow you to overcome them by being hired for the position you desire.

2. Where do you see yourself in five years?

This is another question that you will want to pay close attention to. It may sound like any easy question, but it is more complex than it sounds. Most employers are looking for applicants who are constantly reaching for new goals. Answering this question by saying you plan to have a college degree is very good. It will show that you place an emphasis on education. You could also answer this question by saying you wish to obtain a management position within the company by this time. Again, this will convey a good message. You should never be vague when answering this question.

3. Why do you want to work for us?

This is an important question that you'd better be ready for. If you can't give a concise answer, the employer may think twice about hiring you. While the salary may be one of the reasons, you should not make it your primary reason. This is a question that you can answer easily if you've done your research on the company. You could answer it by saying that the company is well established, or it has a history of positive growth. You could also answer it by saying that you believe in the products or services that are being sold by the company.

4. Why should we hire you?

This is a powerful question, and it throws a lot of applicants off guard. The employer wants to know why they should hire you instead of the other qualified applicants, and again, you will need to give them a good reason.
This is not a question that you will want to answer in a vague manner. Be specific and sell yourself. Explain to them why you have what it takes. You should list your experience, education, and desire. This is a question that will allow an employer to determine if you are the best applicant. You must be concise and give them a good reason for hiring you.

Most Popular HR Interview Questions With Generic Answer Formats

While it is impossible to know exactly what you will be asked during a job interview, there are a number of generic questions that most companies will ask you.
In this article, I will present you with some questions that are commonly asked during the job interview process, and I will give you some good responses that you will want to use. It is not necessary for you to use the exact answers that are found in this article. However, it is important for you to understand the the principle behind them.

1. How do you handle stress or pressure?

You could answer this question by saying that stress is an important issue to you. While high levels of stress can be negative, I use stress in a productive way that can allow me to work harder. It is important for me to make sure I have the correct balance of positive stress and negative stress. You could also answer this question by saying you perform better when you are under reasonable levels of stress.

2. What do you find motivates you the most?

This is a question that does not require an answer that is right or wrong. The employer is trying to see how you are motivated. It is also a method they will use to determine if you are compatible for the job. It doesn't make much sense to put you in a position where you will not be motivated by the work you do. The best way to answer this question is to be honest. Let the interviewer know what motivates you the most. Don't tell them what they want to hear because you are trying to get the job. While this may help you in the short term, it can hurt you in the long run.

3. Do you prefer to work alone, or do you work better in groups?

This is a question that you will want to answer carefully. If the position you are applying for requires you to work alone, it doesn't make much sense to answer it by saying you enjoy working in groups. If the position requires you to work in groups, telling the interviewer you like working alone can keep you from being hired. However, the answer you give should be an honest one.

4. Give us an example of a challenging situation you've overcome.

This is a request that will require you to know a lot about yourself. If you've prepared for the interview beforehand, you should be able to answer this question without any problems. You should reflect on your past work experience. You must quickly be able to think about any challenges you've overcome. It doesn't have to be something that is related to employment. If you were in the military, you could describe a challenge you overcame. If you are a college graduate, you can give an example of an academic challenge you successfully overcame.

5. What do you find interesting about this job?

The answer that you give better be more than just the salary. You should be able to give detailed reasons for why you are interested in being hired for a certain position. Answering this question correctly may require you to do your research on the company. This is something that must be done before the interview starts.

6. Why should we hire you?

This is one of the most difficult questions in the interview process. However, it is a good question, especially if you are competing for a position against people who are equally qualified. To answer this question, describe how your skills can be valuable to the company. Not only will you want to direct the towards your accomplishments, but you will also want to demonstrate your personality and desire. Explain that you are impressed with the history of the company, and you want to play a role in the success of the organization.

7. In what ways can you contribute to our company?

You will want to answer this question by selling yourself. Explain how your skills, personality, and experience can allow you to contribute to the company. This is a question that you may want to prepare for in advance. You will want to answer it with a powerful statement. You don't want to be uneasy of hesitant. If the employer suspects this, you may lose your chance to be employed with the company.

Qualities That companies Generally Look For In An Aspiring Candidate

While each job that you apply for may require you to have different qualifications, there are some common qualities that every employer will look for in applicants. They will seek to find these qualities during the interview process.

Much of the job interviews that are conducted by large companies will be processed through the human resources department. While there are basic requirements that you will need to have in order to be hired, there are some other qualities that employers will look for, and you will need to demonstrate them. If you do not, you won't be hired, even if you have the credentials for the position.

One thing that most companies will look for in applicants is the ability to work well with a team. This is essentially important. The reason for this is because an employee that cannot work well with a team can disrupt the department, and can cause the company to lose money. When you look at the interview process, it is important for you to look at it from the perspective of the company. Hiring an employee can be risky. While they can help you make money, they can also cause you to lose money as well. During most HR interviews, they will ask you about your ability to work well with a team. If the get the sense that you will not work well with a team, it is likely that they will not hire you.

If you don't work well with a team, you will need to learn how. Not being a team player can cause problems. It is crucial that you understand the importance of teamwork. Another thing that employers will look for during the interview is discipline. Most companies want to hire employees that have high levels of discipline. In addition to discipline, many of them will also look at leadership abilities as well. Leadership abilities are important for applicants who are applying for management positions. Even if you want to be a manager or supervisor, the people who work below you will want you to lead them.

A company that is hiring for a management position must find an applicant who has leadership abilities. Punctuality is also important. If you show up late to an interview, there is a high probability that you will not be hired. No matter what position a company is hiring for, they will have a tardiness policy, and showing up late to an interview will convey a message that you will not be punctual if you are hired. Most large companies don't like to deal with applicants that need to be micromanaged. Depending on the position you are applying for, you may need to make a lot of decisions on your own, and you may not be under the direct supervision of a manager.

One of the most important qualities that a company will look for in applicants is success. You must be success oriented. Many organizations place an emphasis on education, and they may even be able to help you pay your way through school. Generally, many companies desire applicants who are currently enrolled in college. To many large companies, having a good education is important. But this alone may not be enough. Experience is a quality that many companies will look for in candidates. If you have five years of experience in a particular field, you will have a much higher chance of being picked for a job that someone who only has two years of experience.

Honesty is another quality that companies will look for in applicants. This is especially true for jobs in the banking or financial industry.

The applicants who are hired in these industries may be given access to a large amount of customer information, and the goal of the company is to hire someone they trust. In industries like this, companies are unlikely to hire individuals with a criminal record. Of course, there are basic qualifications that employers will look at when interviewing applicants. If you are applying for a job as a computer programmer, the company will want to see your credentials and experience within this field. The same thing can be said for virtually any industry.

2) Develop excellent answers;

(3) Practice!

Be enthusiastic and confident when responding to questions. Don't rush your answers, but don't ramble on and on, either. Try to, um, avoid, like, using unnecessary words, right? And um, repeating yourself or, like, annoying phrases, you know?

A good technique is to write out your answers to the questions you anticipate, then edit them to make them more concise. Then practice your polished answers out loud, over and over. If you can have someone help you do a "mock interview," that would be the best way to do this.
Most questions will relate either to your ability to do the job or to the type of employee you will be. Here's one that is very commonly used to help the interviewer learn about both:

"Tell me a little about yourself."

When responding to this request, you should focus on both your personal and professional values. Always be honest, but talk about your best traits only, especially those that relate to the position for which you are applying. Highlight experiences and accomplishments you are most proud of. 

Here's an example:

"I'm an experienced communications specialist with extensive knowledge of public information tools and techniques. I've developed comprehensive communication plans for major public events, written dozens of articles accepted by worldwide publications, and created specialized educational programs for adults and students. I am always eager to learn new methods and procedures, and have implemented continuous improvement techniques in my past positions that saved money and increased productivity. I like working with people and enjoy group projects, but am also a self-starter who doesn't mind working on my own. I'm a volunteer with the local chapter of Special Olympics and enjoy participating in community events. My goals are to complete my Master's Degree and broaden my experiences with community relations."

Remember to tailor your response to the specific job. By studying the job announcement, you'll get a good idea of the skills and experience being sought. Work those into your response.
Consider this your own personal commercial. If the interview consisted of only this ONE chance to sell yourself, what would you say?

"What do you feel has been your greatest work-related accomplishment?"

Choose one example from your past that was important to you and helped the company you worked for. Give specific details about what you did, how you did it, and what the results were. Try to pick an accomplishment that relates to the position for which you are applying. Employers like to hear about accomplishments that reduced expenses, raised revenues, solved problems or enhanced a company's reputation.

"What is your greatest strength?"

This is a great chance to highlight your best skills. Don't pick just one, focus on your top three or four. Some examples are: leadership skills, team-building skills, and organizational skills. Determine which strengths would fit best with the position for which you are applying. For example, if the job announcement stresses the ability to handle multiple tasks, you could say: "I'm good at organizational skills, prioritization and time management. But my greatest strength is my ability to effectively handle multiple projects and deadlines."

"What is your greatest weakness?"

Be careful with this one. Most interview guides will tell you to answer it with a positive trait disguised as a weakness. For example, "I tend to expect others to work as hard as I do," or "I'm a bit of a perfectionist." Interviewers have heard these "canned" answers over and over again. To stand out, be more original and state a true weakness, but then emphasize what you've done to overcome it. For example: "I've had trouble delegating duties to others because I felt I could do things better myself. This has sometimes backfired because I'd end up with more than I could handle and the quality of my work would suffer. But I've taken courses in time management and learned effective delegation techniques, and I feel I've overcome this weakness."

IMPORTANT: Be sure the weakness you talk about is NOT a key element of the position!

"How do you handle stressful situations?"

Give some examples of stressful situations you've dealt with in the past. Tell how you use time management, problem-solving or decision-making skills to reduce stress. For example, tell them that making a "to-do" list helps. Site stress-reducing techniques such as stretching and taking a break. Don't be afaid to admit that you will ask for assistance if you are feeling overwhelmed.
If it's true, say you actually work better under pressure.

"What is the toughest problem you've had to face, and how did you overcome it?"

Try to make this about a problem that faced your company and not just you or your particular work group. The bigger the problem, the better. Give specific examples of the skills and techniques you used to resolve this problem. Emphasize the successful results. Be generous in sharing credit if it was a team effort, but be sure to highlight your specific role.

"Have you ever had to discipline a problem employee? If so, how did you handle it?"

This is a likely question if the position for which you are applying requires supervisory duties. Explain how you used problem-solving skills, listening skills, and coaching skills to help the employee. If those techniques turned the employee around, be sure to say so. If those techniques failed, tell how you followed the company's policies and what the end result was.

"Why do you want this position?"

Here's where your research about the company will help you stand out among the other candidates. Explain how you've always wanted the opportunity to work with a company that... provides a vital public service, leads the industry in innovative products, whatever... find something specific about that company that you can tie in with your answer. Explain how your qualifications and goals complement the company's mission, vision and values (use specific examples). If you are applying for a position in a company for which you already work, explain how you'll be able to apply and expand on the knowledge and experience you've gained from your current position, and will be able to increase your contributions and value to the company through your new responsibilities.

"Why are you the best person for this job?"

As with all other questions, be confident and enthusiastic when you answer this. Don't try to say you are the best qualified person, because you don't know the qualifications of the other applicants. Instead, emphasize several reasons why you should be hired. For example: "I've got extensive experience in [name the appropriate field] and have the specific skills you are looking for. I'm a fast learner who adapts quickly to change and will hit the ground running. I'm dedicated and enthusiastic about helping your company meet its goals, and will provide top-quality results with minimal oversite. I'm an outstanding performer who takes pride in my work. You won't have any regrets when you hire me."


Interview questions and answers can only be predicted and prepared for to a certain extent. There are endless variations and no way to know every question in advance. But that doesn't matter. Because you know there will be unexpected questions, you will not cringe or freak out when they pop up, as some applicants will. Instead, you will turn them into opportunities to shine even more brightly.

No one knows you better than you. Memorize a list of your best features, your best selling points. Use every opportunity and unexpected question to mention these.
Realize that sometimes what you say isn't as important as how you say it. Be confident, enthusiastic, and remember to smile often.


Often the interviewer's last question is, "Do you have any questions for me?" Candidates who do not have questions show a lack of initiative and give the impression that they have minimal interest in the position. Stand out from those lazy job seekers by asking questions!
Have your questions ready in advance. Relate them to the company or its accomplishments/challenges (your research of the company will show and further impress the interviewer). Don't ask any question that shows that you have not done your research about the company.

Do not ask questions related to you, such as "When will I be eligible for my first raise?" or "How often will I be subjected to a performance review?" Don't bring up money. (You can do that after you are offered the job.)

In addition to specific questions you develop based on what the company does, here are some sample generic questions:

What do you enjoy most about working here?

Be sure the person you ask actually works for the company. Some organizations, especially public agencies, have interview panels in which employees from other agencies participate.

Is there anything I've mentioned that makes you think I'm not the best candidate for this job?

If they do mention something that's bothering them about you, such as lack of specific experience, this gives you a last-ditch effort to change their opinion about you. If you've thought about your possible weaknesses in advance, you should have a prepared answer to those weaknesses. For example, "I know I have limited experience in this field, but what I lack in specific experience I make up for in enthusiasm and desire to excel. I'm a fast learner and I'll work harder than anyone else to be a top producer on your team."

When do you expect to make your final decision?

Be sure to ask that! Failure to do so may give the impression that you're not that interested, and you need to know when to follow up.

 Websites which can help you