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What Are Recruiters Looking for in a Phone Interview?

In modern times, recruitment is happening across various strategies. Being a job seeker, one must get ready to face every recruiting challenge as part of their routine. One such thing can be a phone interview. Getting a phone interview is usually scheduled at the moment's time. Many companies have started taking phone interviews with the candidates as the first part of the hiring process. It is to determine the candidate's potential at first sight and consider whether they will be a good fit for the company by testing their communication, clarity, and understanding of their roles & responsibilities. In some cases, it can be the final call of the interview.

Generally, interviews are scheduled in advance for the candidates via phone or email. But recruiters nowadays have started making surprise phone calls for the candidates to understand their calibre to handle the new situation with their presence of mind during the interview process. A phone interview is a relatively simple and easy way to determine the candidate's potential at first sight. Instead of going on-town, It is one of the cost-efficient ways of recruitment practices. For remote jobs, it is the only prince of hiring. In this blog, let's understand some key pointers that the recruiters look at from the candidates while conducting the phone interviews.

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Significance of Conducting Phone Interviews for the Candidates

"You've got to start with the candidate experience and work back towards technology, not the other way around" - Steve Jobs.

After applying for quite a dozen companies, it will be exciting to hear that one company has planned to conduct a phone interview. Then, it is considered that the candidate's profile is attractive to shortlist for the first part of the interview. According to the study by Workopolis, around 98% of job seekers have been eliminated at the initial resume screening, and 2% of the candidates get the interview shot. While getting a phone interview seems fascinating on one end on the other, one must be so prepared to face any challenges that arrive at in a phone interview. Phone interviews are more cost-effective than face-to-face interviews as they give multiple points of view and deliver quality data. Through phone interviews, one can reach out the talents across different backgrounds, demographics, and even globally.

Every company primarily uses telephone interviews for their preliminary interview processes. Phone interviews provide the stepping stones for both the candidates and the employers to know each other before hanging out with an in-person interview. By having a phone interview, the recruiters can reach out to a maximum number of candidates quickly, which helps them direct the shortlisted candidates over other interview processes. As phone interviews are always the surprise one, they test verbal communication and the candidate's presence of mind to come up with the right solution instantly. For candidates, it becomes easy to pass the phone interview as it lessens the level of anxiety and makes them calm while answering questions over the call. The telephone interviews ideally focus on a candidate's specific skills, which leads to high response rates in particular markets. As many businesses have opted to work from home due to the outburst of the Covid pandemic, telephone interviews will be so helpful for the recruiters to scout talent in a short period.


Why do the Recruiters take Phone Interviews?

"Over the phone, the two people need to find a rhythm within the initial 5-7mins of the interview" - Brad Weaver, Senior recruiter Randstad.

Most companies use phone calls as the following process of an interview once they find the candidate's profile looks good and check their convenience on the subsequent interview process. In phone screening, generally, candidates speak with the recruiters rather than the hiring managers, as the recruiters would likely test some of the parameters to be satisfied by the candidates during the phone call. Because the telephone interviews last for 30 mins or lesser by which, the candidates need to attract the recruiters to stay in the hiring pipeline.

Let's understand some of the significant metrics that the recruiter looks on a candidate in a phone interview:

  • Many candidates start attending their phone interview stronger but, over the period, fade out by the interview process, which needs to be avoided
  • Work on different approaches that helps to stay organized and keep track of which company the interview calls are happening to be managed by the candidates
  • Based on the employer's requirements, highlighting the job description and skillset in the job profile is highly effective
  • Be prepared to answer some of the prominent questions like job expectations, salary expectations, work culture & benefits, joining status, the reason for job looking
  • Get into deep research on the company's profile, products & functionalities, objectives, and the vision
  • While attending an interview, look for a quiet place with good reception to participate in the call
  • Be spontaneous, straightforward, and humble while answering the call as it creates positivity for the recruiters
  • Never add false information in the profile or provide fake pieces of information about the background and career as everything gets noted and goes for the verification
  • Spend some time answering the salary expectations to the recruiters for the job as it may differ across work location, skillset, years of experience, and much more
  • While closing the phone interview, it is good to show some gratitude to the recruiters by greeting them for an interview opportunity
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How to Crack the Phone Interviews?

As discussed earlier, the Telephonic interview round is the initial screening process to shortlist the candidates for further rounds of interviews. It is a cost-effective method to select candidates from the pool of talents. It saves time for both job seekers and employers. So cracking the telephonic interview isn't a minor deal. The candidate must be prepared equally for the telephonic interview, more like the one they get ready for the face to face interview. Want to know how to crack the telephonic interview and stay on the further interview rounds. Here are some of the additions in the preparation checklist to keep in mind to crack the telephonic interview.

1. Be Prepared:

First impressions are always the best impressions. As a candidate, one must research and gather information about the recruiting company. Read the job description and understand the roles and responsibilities clearly. Check with company reviews and interview questions asked for the candidates who have applied earlier. While attending the interview, make sure to have a pen, paper, resume, and notes alongside.

2. Schedule Interview:

This is one of the essential things for job seekers to keep in mind. The candidates will often be informed about the phone interview and asked for their availability. During this time, the candidate must acknowledge their commitments and schedule the interview as per their availability. Once the interview got scheduled, make sure to attend the interview on time. Even a 10-15mins delay can ruin the chance of getting shortlisted in the interview. While planning the interview, provide the date, time, and interview details.

3. Choose a Quiet Place:

While attending the interview, make sure to find a quiet place. A quiet place is not only a noise-free environment but also eliminates all kinds of distractions, either from family members, pets, or any other. Always make sure to have stable network connectivity as it is essential to attend the interview with no delay in signals.

4. Listen Carefully:

While attending the telephonic interview, make sure to participate with the same alertness while attending the face-to-face interview. Get rid of all the external distractions and carefully listen to the recruiter's questions. If the question isn't understood the first time, kindly ask the interviewers to repeat it in a very humble way. Never forget to ask questions at the end of an interview, as it makes them feel that the candidate is curious about the responsibilities in the company.

5. Ask Relevant Questions:

In the telephonic interview, the interviewer can never judge the candidate by the body language, but they can find by the voice and communication. So, the candidate needs to make their speech clear and straight to the point instead of dragging it because the voice can define the candidate's personality. Once the interviewer shoots the questions, make sure to listen carefully and answer the questions. The candidates can even take a pause but not a long one.

6. Be Active:

When the interview call is about to end, do not rush to complete the call; instead, ask the interviewer if they have any more questions. Even the candidates can ask about the other interview process and the contact details. The candidates can even greet the interviewer for offering an interview opportunity and sparing time for it.

7. Practice Interviewing:

Before attending the telephonic interview, plan to attend some mock telephonic interviews. Ask some working professional to conduct an interview and get ready to answer every question with no fear quickly. Make sure to record the mock interview as it helps to acknowledge the mistakes, strategize, and to work on developing the skillset to crack the telephonic interview successfully.


Should Every Candidate Need to be Ready for a Phone Interview

The objective of every job seeker is to crack the interview and get into their dream job. To make it happen, it's essential to get ready for the telephonic interview as it will be conducted as the first part of the screening process. To determine whether the candidate is prepared to face the challenging questions and use their presence of mind instantly to find the right solution. Telephonic interviews are one of the best ways to filter talents from the pool of candidates. So every job seeker needs to get ready for the telephonic interviews.


Telephonic interviews are one of the ways to test confidence, patience, perseverance, and everything. Sometimes, telephonic interviews will be filled with situation-based questions. The candidates must be ready for the telephonic interviews by following all the above metrics shattering the questions with mind-blowing answers and cracking the interview to stay on the hiring cycle.


FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are recruiters looking for in a phone interview?

The recruiters will ask for the candidate's profile, including the academics, background, skills and work experience, to see if it matches the job openings. With the telephonic interview, the recruiters can screen the candidate to know whether they fit the work culture.

2. How can the candidate make a good impression in a phone interview?
  • Check the job role and ensure the interest in it
  • Match with the core skills
  • Assess the work culture
  • Be clear about the job need
  • Stay bold and confident
  • Listen to every question and answer carefully
  • Be friendly and communicate wisely
  • Ask the interviewer some thoughtful questions
3. What are some critical questions to be asked in a phone interview?
  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why are you looking for this job position?
  • How does this position attract you?
  • What are your career plans for 5 years from now?
  • How do your current skills match the job opening?
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