Let’s face it. Getting a job isn’t a walk in the park. With such a high number of people looking for work, more employers are trying to find ways of narrowing down their applicant pool. One increasingly popular method is the phone interview. This helps employers save time and resources by weeding out unqualified or unsuitable candidates.
The phone interview may seem like a great idea for some job seekers, but it’s more than just answering questions while still wearing your pajamas. There’s still a lot of preparation needed to excel at this type of job interview because it is just as important as a typical face-to-face interview.
One of the most frequently asked questions to Movin’ On Up is what to ask during a phone interview. Some questions that work for regular interviews might not for an initial phone screening. But which ones do you ask? Here are some guidelines on what to ask during a phone interview.
Don’t be a Time Guzzler
Phone interviews are generally quick and to the point. They typically don’t last as long as normal in-person meetings, so it’s not the time for idle chit chat. Make sure your questions are quick and to the point. Employers often schedule several phone interviews in a short period of time, so taking too much time runs the risk of cutting into other applicants’ interview times, which could reflect poorly on you.
While there is no set number of questions to ask, consider asking prior to the call how long you can anticipate the call being. Try limiting yourself to three to five questions. Good phone interview questions clarify job duties or inquire about the workplace structure. They shouldn’t be very in-depth and require a lot of discussion. Just prove that you’ve done your homework and show your interest in the employer.
What Not to Ask
Things like benefits, hours, or job salary may be important to you and affect your decision making, but there will be plenty of time to talk about them if you move forward. The phone interview is typically to clarify key points before the next step in the process. If it comes up, answer and ask. Don’t just start those conversations.
Phone interview questions need to be short and to the point, because the interviewers will often make decisions based on what you ask. Make sure your questions couldn’t easily be found on the employer’s website. This gives the impression that you’re ill prepared. Instead, try asking questions that demonstrate your preparedness. Start questions with, “so, I noticed on your website that…”
You may want to ask some specific questions relevant to the position or employer. It’s best to ask behavioral or open-ended questions. Here are some examples of questions you could ask:
• Who would this position report to?
• What are the daily responsibilities of this position?
• What is the hiring process like?
• How would you describe the company culture?
• How are you evaluating candidates?
Asking About the Future
There’s one important question you should ask at the end of an interview. Find out about the next steps and the employer’s timeline for getting back to you. That way, you’ll know when to expect to hear back from the employer, and you won’t be sitting around waiting for more information, wondering why they haven’t called back or sent a letter.
It’s better to confirm the next steps in as much detailed as possible. Assume a more active role and try to get a commitment from the interviewer on when you’ll be contacted and what happens next. Try not to settle for “we’ll let you know,” but for a more specific plan of action.
By using these helpful hints on what to ask during a phone interview, you will improve your chances of getting more offers, and you will also feel more empowered and prepared throughout the hiring process. What are some of your favorite questions to ask during a phone interview? If you’ve had any phone interview experiences, share them in the comments section below.