5 Sep


Posted by John Brandwagt

Congratulations! You got a call for a first round interview. This means your resume was well-drafted and you had optimized it for applicant tracking system too. But you don’t know much about the types of interview questions or the kind of information the recruiter is seeking. Don’t fret about it. We all go through this phase.



A phone interview is different from an in-person interview in the sense that the only communication cue available over call is your voice and tone. Now it is a well-researched fact that nearly 93% of overall communication is non-verbal. A phone call greatly diminishes the extent of impression you can have on your potential employer, thereby elevating further your command of soft skills. The most difficult thing is the fact that you may receive a call for an interview anytime - sometimes, without even a heads up!

Recruiters use phone interviews to know the person behind the resume. A single job posting receives about 250 resumes. Since it is not possible to call all candidates for an in-person interview, hiring managers use phone interviews to screen candidates.

Hence, it is important for you to have a fair idea of the interview questions so that you can nail your phone screen interview. Following are some tips to clear a phone interview:


1. Practice Beforehand

Do a bit of homework and be ready for a call. A good option is to role-play. You can do a bit of research and find out about the types of interview questions asked during a phone screen interview. Also, make a list of questions to ask during the interview. Employers typically don't like applicants who show no interest in the job.

Some tips:

  • You can practice in front of a mirror or find a friend to help you answer phone interview questions.
  • Know how to greet the interviewer. Say hello, and tell them you’ve been looking forward to the interview to reiterate your interest in the job. It takes 33% interviewers only about 90 seconds to make a hiring decision.

2. Listen Intently

Make sure to listen to the interviewer and pay attention to every word. Do not make the mistake of interrupting the interviewer. If possible, take notes. You may need to refer to them later.

If you cannot hear anything or if there’s any confusion, ask politely for clearance.

Some Tips:

  • It is okay to take a pause before you speak. The interviewer understands you may need some time to think of a response. However, make sure not to take too long.
  • Speak clearly and confidently. Do not jumble words and listen to the interviewer carefully.


3. Keep Your Documents Handy

The interviewer may ask you a variety of questions regarding your job experience and education. Sometimes they ask questions just to verify the information on the resume and sometimes to gain more details.

Some tips:

  • Keep your degrees, certificates, and experience letters nearby.
  • If there’s something you are unsure about, let them know instead of taking a guess or lying about it.

4. Research About The Post and The Company

It is very important to know about the company and the post you have applied for. The interviewer would like to know about your personality and interest in the company.

Some tips:

  • Get ready to answers questions like: ‘Tell me about yourself’, ‘Why did you choose our company?’, ‘Why do you wish to pursue this field?’
  • Read the job description properly and research the company on the internet to know more about their requirements and the nature of the job. Companies are more inclined to hire employees who appear loyal and passionate about the job. In fact, having a lack of information about the company is the most commonly made mistake during interviews.

5. Take Care of The Environment

It’s important to sit in a room that is comfortable and quiet. Being in a room that’s too hot or too cold may cause you to get nervous and perform poorly during the interview

In addition to this, noise can also distract you and cause you to fail the interview. Hence, be careful about this point.

Some tips:

  • Make sure to be close to the phone and answer it yourself. It’s rude to have someone else pick up the phone, especially if you’re already expecting a call.
  • Some interviews can be very long – up to one hour – so make sure to keep yourself free and have no worries or distractions to take away your attention.

6. Request Follow-Up

Thank the interviewer and ask for his or her email to send a thank you note (immediately) with a request for a follow-up to show your interest in the position.

Some tips:

  • Make sure you do not sound too needy or desperate for the job. Thanking the interviewer too many times can get irritating.
  • Review your notes and send any additional information requested by the interviewer.

Only about 2% of the candidates pass the first round interview and reach the next stage so make sure to be ready for your phone screen interview and follow all the tips for phone interviews given in this article.

Information Technology Jobs Canada

John Brandwagt

John is a Practice Leader at Inteqna. He’s been working in IT Search in Calgary since 1997. He works best with selective job seekers—those who excel at what they do and enjoy their current jobs. Since they don’t have time to look for themselves, he helps them find their dream jobs. From a client perspective, he helps organizations find the talent that will propel their business. John is involved in several of Calgary’s technical user groups and has held board roles in non-profit groups. He is a single dad of four boys who try to beat him at every physical activity from hiking to rugby.

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