Phone Interview Tips: How To Prepare [Video]

These are the phone interview tips you’ve been looking for. If you are reading this, you’ve likely been called for a phone interview. This is normally the first stage of the interview process and the good news is that it means the company likes you. So how do you make the best impression and get to the next round?

Read Garry Barcoe’s Top 10 Phone Interview Tips below and watch the video to find out.



Phone Interview Tips: What You Need To Know.

When it comes to IT recruitment and IT jobs, the phone interview is a crucial part of landing your dream job. It’s your opportunity to make a great first impression and ensure the interviewers want to meet you in person at the next stage. When it comes to an interview, it’s the old adage ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. So let’s jump straight into our top 10 phone interview tips.

Phone Interview Tips #1: Be Prepared.

If you only take one thing away from this post, it’s ‘be prepared’. Nothing makes you look more unprofessional or disorganised like bad preparation. Remember, if you are not prepared for the phone interview, how will an employer be able to trust you?

Researching the company is paramount. Learn all about their brand, company history and story. It’s also important not to stop there, make sure you are familiar with the technical environment and search for engineers who are currently working or have previously worked in the company. This will give you a better understanding of the tech environment and the daily duties of those working there.

If you can get to a point where you can describe the company in a sentence or two, you’ll be in a very strong position.

Find A Quiet Place.

Phone interview tip number two is to make sure you’re in a quiet place and use a phone number that works. If your mobile is unreliable, make sure you have access to a landline number. This is key, not only can a crackling phone be annoying for both you and the interviewer but it could also be extremely distracting when answering the questions.

If you like to pace while you talk, make sure you don’t pace out of signal range. Make sure you’re in a calm and quiet environment and able to fully commit all of your attention to the conversation.

Remember The Interviewers’ Names.

Remember the interviewer’s name as this shows professionalism and will help you connect with them. Normally, we would be able to give you those details in advance but sometimes there’s a second interviewer on the phone so if you don’t hear it the first time, ask again. Write their names down on a piece of paper in front of you.

Take Notes.

It’s okay to have a pen and paper handy. Initial phone screens are generally technical. This means complex and often in-depth questions will be asked. Make sure you have something ready in case you need to jot down notes or questions. The head is busy doing the speaking, let your hands do some work.



Print Your CV And Have It In Front Of You.

Have your CV in front of you. The interviewer will have it in front of them and will almost certainly question you on parts of it, if not all of it. Make sure you’ve gone through it in detail. Have it at arm’s length in case the mind goes blank, which it is often likely to do at crucial moments.

Do Your Own ‘Best Of’ List.

Before the interview, write out a short description of some projects you may have done in the past, including projects that are not listed on your CV. If you worked on personal projects that may be relevant, bring them up, especially if they are industry related. A few lines on each project would jog the memory and keep you on track.

Start At The Beginning.

Don’t assume the hiring manager knows anything about your previous company and what they do. Often the hiring manager will not be familiar with your old employers. So when speaking about your past positions, it’s good to mention a few sentences on what type of company it is, especially if it was not based in Ireland.

The Answer Is Never ‘No’.

Remember, never answer a question with the answer NO! If you have no experience with a specific technology, be honest and say, “I do not have experience with this particular language but I’d be interested in learning it.” Another answer could be, “I haven’t yet used this technology but in my old position I had no experience with X when I started and I quickly learnt it.” Always turn a negative into a positive, the answer is never simply NO.

Back To Basics.

It’s important to brush up your basic technical knowledge. Most technical phone screens involve some form of test, whether it’s a brain bench test or a simple list of company questions, research online and brush up on the basic technologies.

A lot of candidates fall down because even though they’re brilliant engineers, they forget the very basics because it’s so long since they worked with that technology. Refreshing your knowledge of technologies you may not use on a regular basis is never a bad thing.

Ask Questions!

Always ask questions, not about salary or benefits, it’s far too early at this stage. These matters are generally dealt with by HR or your recruiter.

Ask questions about the company environment, the potential role and future projects. From your research you did before the interview, you may be able to ask some relevant questions that would get the hiring manager thinking and let him or her know that you went the extra mile. Always have something prepared to ask.

Phone Interview Tips – The Key To Success:

  • Be prepared. This will make you feel confident and help you make the best impression.
  • Find a quiet place, free from distraction, where you can give your full attention to the interview.
  • Write down and remember the interviewers’ names.
  • Take notes to answer the more technical questions. This will help keep you on the right track.
  • Print out your CV and have it in front of you. The interviewer will have it in front of them.
  • Write a line or two on projects you’ve completed and things you’ve achieved.
  • Don’t assume the hiring manager knows anything about your past role or who you worked for. Tell your story from the beginning.
  • Be positive in your answers. Even if you don’t know something, tell them you’d like to learn and give an example of when you had to learn something on the job in the past.
  • Refresh your basic knowledge. No matter how advanced your experience might be, it’s always a good idea to stay up-to-date on the basics and industry trends.
  • Have questions prepared before the interview. This will show your enthusiasm and that you went the extra mile in your prep.

Thank you for reading our Top 10 Phone Interview Tips. We hope they help you land your dream IT job.

So what’s next? You can search our live jobs here or send us your CV to start the conversation.

If you’ve any questions pop me an email or DM me on LinkedIn.



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