Definition: A telephone interview is an interview for employment conducted on the phone. Telephone interviews are often used to screen candidates before issuing an employment offer to work in the Middle East.
A phone interview sounds easy, doesn’t it? You don’t have to get dressed in your best interview attire, travel to the prospective employer, or interview one-on-one with a hiring manager. Instead, you’re interviewing on the phone from the comfort of home. However, more and more Middle East employers are asking to conduct SKYPE interviews … and that means if you have a camera on your PC they can see you and you can see them and in these cases dress code is important. No revealing tops, heavy make-up or excessive jewellery and of course, review what else can be seen behind you in the background …
Review these tips for how to conduct a phone interview and what not to do when you’re interviewing via the telephone to make sure your phone interviews go well and leave a good impression with the interviewer(s).
Be Prepared for the Phone Interview
Create a checklist. Review the job description and make a list of how your qualifications match the hiring criteria. Have the list available so you can glance at it during the interview.
Keep your CV to hand so it’s at your fingertips when you need to answer questions.
Have a short list of your accomplishments available to review.
Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.
Research the job and the Hospital. Take some time to research the position and the Hospital … much of this information is available from your Recruitment Agent and indeed the internet link they will provide you with! The more prepared you are for the interview, the smoother it will go.
Prepare for phone interview questions. Review answers to typical phone interview questions and think about how you’re going to respond.
Use a land line. Unless your mobile service is 100% all the time, use a land line instead of a cell phone. That way you won’t have to worry about dropped calls and getting disconnected.
Turn off call waiting. If you have call waiting turn it off. The beep of an incoming call is distracting and can make you lose your focus.
Get rid of the distractions. Interview in a private quiet space. That means securing a babysitter if you have small children at home and kicking the dog, the cat, and the rest of the household members out of your interview space.
Have a glass of water nearby. There isn’t much worse than having a tickle in your throat or a cough starting when you need to talk on the phone. Have a glass of water handy so you can take a quick sip if your mouth gets dry or there’s a catch in your throat.
Take notes. It’s hard to remember what you discussed after the fact, so take brief notes during the interview.
Focus, listen, and enunciate. It’s important to focus on the interview and that can be harder on the phone than in-person. Be sure to listen to the question, ask for clarification if you’re not sure what the interviewer is asking, and speak slowly, carefully, and clearly when you respond. It’s fine to take a few seconds to compose your thoughts before you answer.
Pay attention to body language. This might sound strange, but your body language matters on the phone almost as much as it does during a face-to-face meeting. Focus on the interviewer, smile, and think positive. You’ll make a better impression.
Multi-task. This won’t work for everyone, but if you can multi-task have the company’s website open in your browser, so you can quickly check for company information if it comes up in the conversation.
Talking on the phone isn’t as easy as it seems. I’ve always found it’s helpful to practice. Have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview and tape record it so you can see how you sound over the phone. Any cassette recorder will work. You’ll be able to hear your “ums” and “uhs” and “okays” and you can practice reducing them from your conversational speech. Also rehearse answers to those typical questions you’ll be asked.
During the Phone Interview
- Don’t smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink.
- Smile. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice … and as someone who uses the phone all day every day … this is really true!
- Speak slowly and enunciate clearly – remember “English” might not be the interviewers first language (mother tongue)
- Take note of the interviewer’s name (s) pre-interview and use the person’s title (Dr. Mr. or Ms. and their last name.) Only use a first name if they ask you to.
- Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
- Take your time – it’s perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to collect your thoughts.
- Give short answers.
- When the interview is concluded do remember to thank the interviewer and ask when you are likely to hear whether – or not – you have been successful at interview.
After the Interview
- Take notes about what you were asked and how you answered.
- Remember to contact your Recruitment Consultant with post-interview feedback so they will be in a position to brief the employer / interviewers if necessary.
It’s important take time to review the typical phone interview questions you’ll be asked and to prepare answers. In addition, plan on being prepared for a phone conversation about your background and skills.
Phone Interview Questions About Your Background
- Name of Hospital, job title and job description, dates of employment.
- What were your responsibilities?
- What major challenges and problems did you face? How did you handle them?
- Why are you leaving your job?
- Why do you wish to relocate to the Middle East?
Phone Interview Questions About the New Job and the Hospital
- What interests you about this job?
- Why do you want this job?
- What applicable attributes / experience do you have?
- What do you know about this Hospital?
- Why do you want to work for this Hospital?
- What challenges are you looking for in a position?
- What can you contribute to this Hospital?
- Situational questions – these may be clinical and / or directly about the position you are interviewing for – a scenario will be posed and you will be asked to explain how you would deal with same. It’s a good idea to quote a similar situation you’ve dealt with in the past to show an example of what you would actually do in that type of situation.
- Is there anything I haven’t told you about the job or Hospital that you would like to know?
Phone Interview Questions About You
- What are you looking for in your next job? What is important to you?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- What is your greatest strength?
- Describe a typical work week.
- How would you describe the pace at which you work?
- How do you handle stress and pressure?
- What motivates you?
- Tell me about yourself.
- Questions about your career goals.
- What type of work environment do you prefer?
- Job interview questions about your abilities.
- More job interview questions about you.
Interview Questions to Ask
The last interview question you may be asked is “What can I answer for you?” Have a question or two of your own ready to ask. You aren’t simply trying to get this job – you are also interviewing the employer to assess whether this company and the position are a good fit for you!
Make a List of Responses to Interview Questions
Take the time to compile a list of responses to both types of interview questions and to itemize your skills, values, and interests as well as your strengths and weaknesses. Emphasize what you can do to benefit the company rather than just what you are interested in.