You’ve been sending out your résumés and wondering when will you be called for interview. While alternating between twiddling your thumbs and trolling for more jobs to submit, your phone suddenly ring! It’s an unfamiliar number, your palms suddenly become sweaty….maybe, just maybe…it might be just one of the companies you send your résumé in.

First of all, don’t panic. Secondly, always try to find a quiet place to answer the call. If you can’t, excuse yourself and quickly pick up the call, let the other person know now is not the convenient time for you and could he or she leave a number for you to call back. Please don’t try to say you are good for the call and suddenly realized that the person on the other line wants to conduct a long conversation hence, it is preferable to schedule a time back when you have at least an hour, a quiet environment and good reception.

Always have the following at hand to prepare in advance. Do remember, you can never over-prepare yourself.

skyscrapers-246224_960_720Companies in Mind
First thing first, you should never mass send your résumés out to every Tom, Dick and Harry companies out there. Not only you’ll not remember what you applied for, it may also seem that you are not focused enough to know what you want. At any one period, apply for not more than 3 jobs at 3 different companies.

Studied in advance
Knowing the individual companies and how their culture is very important. It might be the straw you need to get into the first or second interview. Some companies are formal while others like creativity. Instead of treating companies as a whole, take the time to learn their history and their current events might give you an edge in the interviews.

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 11.25.57 pmMemorizing your own CV
You may be surprised but as a previous hiring manager, I do quiz on what has been written in the CV of the incumbent and I do get folks for forgotten what they have written. Doesn’t seems at all sincere or genuine if you can’t remember the scope or the details you have put in your résumé, allowing one having the impression that your CV might not have been written by you.

S4541GKUE4Tone of voice
When I do the calling instead of HR, (yes, some companies will ask the hiring manager to call instead of HR), I gauged the tone of voice as well. Before I schedule for a face to face, one important thing we note is your tone of voice. Do you sound like you have just got out of bed in the mid afternoon? Do you sound enthusiastic about the job? Do you sound upbeat and interesting? This is especially important if the job entails you to talk to our customers.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 3.49.29 pmGap of Silence
During the phone interview, try not to leave too many gaps of silence for the interviewer to fill. You should be the one doing most of the talking and try to squeeze in as many information about yourself and your desire to join the company in the short span of the phone conversation. Too long a gap, it can be really awkward, however, do leave room for the other person to ask questions or to clarified what you have just said. Rattling on like a bullet train will not score points.

Trying not to have big words or difficult words in your conversation. The enunciation of a long difficult word may make it even harder for the other party to hear you over the phone especially if the reception is bad. Keep it to simpler words and phrases like what you would normally use in a phone conversation. Trying to show off your vocabulary is futile during a phone interview, keep it for the face to face session.

train-388253_960_720Background noise
Always do try to filter the background noise to zero. The best is to have a phone interview behind closed doors. I have had to strain my ears and asking interviewees to repeat themselves when I couldn’t hear them over traffic or worse, over the mall’s announcements. I even had an interviewee doing his phone interview in the subway, all I kept hearing was babies crying, reception crackling, train station arrival announcements and people talking in the background, pretty distracting. The phone interview was supposed to be over in half an hour, but we took an hour because most of the time, we had to ask him to repeat his answers.

So there you have it, the golden tips to score a phone interview. If you’re in this situation right now, I wish you all the best of luck! If you have great advice, do come and share yours at below comments!!

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52 replies on “Interview Calls

  1. This is a great article on interview tips on how to look professionally presented when meeting or interacting with the employer from the get-go. Once I went to a job agency that offered programs to improve your career perspectives and charged a lot for their services (a few hundred dollars for programs they run). I went in to an initial meeting, and was told that I should have a notebook handy of all the jobs I applied for so that when an employer calls, I could have something to refer to.

    Been job hunting over the last few months quite a bit, and have lost count of the jobs I applied for. When an employer calls me, often I am unprepared but I try my very best to sound upbeat and hope that cancels out my confused state 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The notebook trick is helpful however, not very practical as we can’t be carrying the notebook around with us all the time. The key thing is not to mass apply at one go, pick a few jobs and apply. I usually go with max 3 jobs and I could remember what roles are for the 3 different companies. If I don’t hear from the 3 companies within 2 weeks, I’ll apply another 3. If you’re unprepared, try to excuse yourself and postpone the call, come up with an excuse that you’re in a meeting now. Arrange a call back within half an hour, usually (and hopefully) by then your nerves have calmed down.


      1. That is a valid point. Not only you might not have the notebook with you at all times, it might also be a hassle to flip through the pages and then trying to decipher your handwriting on what you wrote about the job 😀

        It takes time to do a tailored job application that will stand out, so applying for a select number of jobs is wise. I tend to apply for no more than 2-3 jobs in one day.

        Once I had a recruiter – mind you, not an employer but a recruiter who recruits on behalf of companies – ring me. I didn’t pick up at that time because I was in the middle of something. Called him back a couple of hours later, and he half-heartedly explained the role to me and tried to arrange a meeting…and shot down all the times I was available. There and then, I knew that he had already lined up interviews with other candidates.


  2. Great advice as usual. You need to be in a classroom or at least combine all of your sage advice into an instructional manual. So many people could benefit from your wise words!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Helpful interview tips! About a year ago I had my first official phone interview. Since I couldn’t stop talking during it, I am glad to see that you recommend avoiding awkward gaps of silence. I got the job and have spent a happy almost-year working for a great company.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I work from home doing content screening. It’s demanding with regard to attention to detail/accuracy/accountability, but I can do it in my pajamas! Great commute – great job!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. In today’s job market this information is crucial. You did an excellent job laying it our in a clear and concise manner. Those looking to interview should take heed of your advice. It may just be the difference between continuing to complain about being unemployed and getting a good job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah.. I do agree with that however now the workplace has become globalized, phone interviews, Skype interviews and video conferencing interviews are becoming a norm.


      1. I understand, I don’t mind skype interview, because it’s the time which was set inabvance but phone interviews are brutal as you can be in the washroom flashing or “making sounds” 😉 and it could be your only chance to talk to your future employer…

        Liked by 1 person

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