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How to answer telephone interview questions
Kicking things off with a telephone interview is common practice for employers nowadays. It's usually your first opportunity to seriously sell yourself, and therefore preparation is key.
Worried? Don't be - the interview questions you're likely to be asked are almost always the same standard stock questions – you just need to know how to answer them.
So, alongside some additional preparation for the actual interview, here's our top five telephone interview questions, and most importantly how to ace them and breeze through this crucial first step.
1. Tell me about yourself…
Your challenge is to sell yourself, and with only words to achieve this, you're going to need to tell a story. The answer you give allows the recruiter to see what you want to include, as well as exclude. You should focus on the key points of your career and show progression as the story develops.
Although this gives you a chance to inject a little of your personal life, keep it to a minimum. If you volunteer for a charity – great, but if you enjoy collecting sci-fi memorabilia, now might not be the best time to mention this.
2. Why are you leaving your current job?
Because you hate your boss is not the right answer. It might be an honest answer, but a sincere and positive response will be far better received.
Are you looking for a position that allows for growth? Are you relocating to a different industry? Your answer should focus on what you are heading towards, not what you are running away from, so tie your answer to how you can benefit their business in a way no one else can.
3. Why do you want this role?
This is a similar question to ‘what do you know about the company?' Recruiters are going to be checking to see if you have done your research. It's not about the actual answer you give (although getting key facts and figures are essential), it's about showing them that you have a genuine enthusiasm for the role.
So, if you want to stand out from other candidates, do your research and prepare accordingly.
4. What are you greatest accomplishments?
Recruiters want you to focus on your business accomplishments. After all, seeing how far you go for one business is an indication of how far you are willing to go for theirs.
In the same way as our first question, use a story telling method. An emotional story arc can be a far more effective method of engaging the interviewer than a series of KPI's read out down the phone.
5. Do you have any questions?
We can say with absolute certainty that you should always have questions to ask.
As with the rest of the questions, preparation is key – so make a list and have more than you're necessarily going to ask.
Write them down or print them out. Your research phase will likely turn up useful information, so you can ask some meaningful questions. Combine this knowledge with your charm, and you'll hopefully round off the interview with a firm seal of approval from the recruiter.
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