Phone interviews are often used by Human Resources and Sales managers to learn a little more about the candidate and ask a few questions before offering a formal sit down interview. Phone interviews are usually only used for first round interviews to qualify candidates, but can also be conducted as second round interviews as well. Your typical phone interview will be under half an hour.
Your phone interview is more than likely your first actual real contact with the company and while you can’t physically shake your interviewers hand, you can still make a great impact over the phone.
Once you have arranged a phone interview with your prospective employer, it is crucial to do your research! Check out this guide to interview prep in under 30 minutes. Once you’ve done your initial prep you can begin to get more granular. The big plus about having a phone interview is that it allows you to have all of your notes right in front of you. The phone also lifts a bit of the pressure and it is less likely you’ll totally blank and forget your answers on the spot.
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Once you’ve aced the interview and answered all their questions it may be tempting to blurt out a quick “OK BYE,” but there is one more thing left to do. It is crucial you ask your interviewer a few questions about the company and position to show your interest in the job. Phone interviews are usually only set for 15 – 30 minutes, so there is limited time to ask questions. Your questions need to be relevant to the position and straight to the point.
Here are 10 great questions to ask your interviewer at the end of your phone interview.
- In your opinion, what is the most challenging part of this position?
This shows you are looking to prepare for the hardest part of the role. You’re learning more about the role and confirming that you can handle it.
- How would you describe the company culture?
A huge part of candidate retention is company fit. Some companies utilize culture fit assessments before even interviewing a candidate. By asking this you are showing that you understand the importance of fit and you are assessing if you think it is a good match.
- How does the office communicate?
Asking about communication specifically can be very telling about an organization. Group chat? Slack? Emails? Face-to-face? You can learn a lot from this one.
- What are the core responsibilities of this position?
Job descriptions can be long and wordy. Get a summary right from the source! It also shows you are looking to learn about the real responsibilities you will (hopefully) have.
- How do you describe the learning curve for this position?
This is a great question. The role you are filling has likely been filled before. By finding out more about the learning curve you will be able to set reasonable expectations for yourself. You’re also inquiring about the technical knowledge required in the role, showing you are interested in what you have to learn.
- Could you describe a typical work week? Is overtime expected?
Sales jobs vary. A lot. Even two roles with the same title can be very different from employer to employer. Depending on the answer this could also help you find out if the job is still a good fit for you.
- Why is the last person who held this position leaving?
This question can be very telling as well. Were they promoted? Fired? Let go? Did they leave on their own… a fair question to ask.
- What are the personality traits required for being successful in this position?
Companies that understand the predictive ability of sales specific personality assessments know the value of personality in sales performance. If they are able to articulate their key drivers (ex. results-oriented, team-oriented, competitive, analytical), this can help you assess your future fit. Again, you’re showing that you see the value in these insights.
- How much support is made available to individuals for professional development such as – professional courses, seminars and trainings?
Very good question. A) You’re learning what will be available to you B) You’re showing you want to continue learning and believe in personal development.
- When can I expect to be notified for the next interviewing process?
Might seem obvious but in the flurry of an interview it’s easy to forget this one and have no clue. The interviewer should have a clear answer for you and show they respect your decision making process as well.
What are we missing? Let me know in the comments.
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