Telephonic Interview Tips

Tips For Acing The Telephonic Interview Round

Preparing for the Telephonic Interview Round

We highly recommend that you read our blog: How to Prepare for a Telephonic Interview. It will help you understand what to expect in a telephonic interview.

What exactly Recruiters look for in candidates during the Telephonic Interview

A telephonic interview is a combination of a conversation and a Q & A session. A series of questions will be shot at you. So, be ready to tackle them all with confidence.

Behavioral Competencies

Behavioral Competencies consist of behavioral attributes, moral fabric, and personality traits a person possesses, along with their knowledge and skillsets. During the interview process, recruiters check whether the behavioral competencies of the candidates are in sync with the company’s expectations, ethos, and work ethic.

This is necessary in order to determine how successful a candidate will be at the job he/ she has applied for. It can help identify a candidate’s behavioral strengths for future success at the workplace. Employers look for problem solvers and people with the tenacity to overcome tough situations. A telephonic interview, where a candidate can be judged on how effectively they can communicate their behavioral competencies using their voice, is an excellent method for screening prospective employees.

You, therefore, need to be on your toes to nail this particular round of interviews.

Interview Scenarios

Given below are two interview scenarios. Which candidate sounds more confident?

Scenario 1

Employer:      Why should we hire you for this post?

Candidate A: Well, because I am good.

Employer:      So are the other applicants. What makes you different from them?

Candidate A: Hmmm…as I am best from the rest.

Scenario 2

Employer:      Why should we hire you for this post?

Candidate B: I have checked your company’s profile as well as the job requirements. It’s in line with my career goals and skillsets. If you hire me, I will be able to showcase my talents and diligence at work. I can contribute to the company’s growth as well as professionally grow along with your company.

From the replies, it is easy to observe that candidate B is the more confident person. Candidate B has shown his/ her communication skills by answering to the point. This will tempt the employer to call him/her for the next round of interviews.

Remember Confidence and fluency of thought and language matter! And these will come naturally to you if you are sure of what you want from your career and life and proactively work towards it.

Etiquette to follow during the Telephonic Interview Round

Listen to the Question

Before answering any questions, allow the interviewer to complete their questions first. This is a telephonic interview round, not a kid’s quiz competition buzzer round! Never be over-enthusiastic about answering questions you know the answer to. A sense of maturity and decorum is essential. Recruiters are turned off by candidates who cut them off mid-sentence. 

Give Crisp Replies

Remember that recruiters are busy people who have to interview scores of candidates. They appreciate people who value their time. Hence, never give way too much information when answering simple queries. The recruiters will never say a word of disapproval to you, but they have already made up their minds of not hiring a verbose candidate who doesn’t know when to stop speaking.

Knowing when to say ‘I don’t know

If faced with a question you do not know the answer to, be candid and reply, “I’m sorry, I do not know the answer to that question.” A recruiter will always appreciate a candidate who doesn’t waste their time giving non-sensical answers rather than foolish candidates who ruin their image by doing exactly that. Also, blatantly incorrect answers will undo any brownie points you gained by answering other questions correctly. A simple “I don’t know” prevents that.

Answering tricky questions/ difficult questions

It absolutely okay to pause for a few seconds before answering difficult questions. This breaks the conversation and makes it seem a little longer. If you need a few seconds to answer, then you can simply reply by saying, “Oh! That’s really a great question. Let me just take a moment to think about it.”

Keep your Resume Handy

Some candidates have the tendency of signing up and applying on all the top job portals (Monster, Naukri, TimesJobs, Linked In etc.) If you are one such candidate, who has created multiple versions of your resume to apply for different job profiles, then print physical copies of your resume and make jot down the name of the company you forwarded your resume to in a top corner for quick reference.

Also, write the associated job description in brief. If the recruiter calls up and asks questions based on the information you provided in your resume, you need that specific resume version copy to know exactly what to answer and won’t fumble when answering. You will also naturally sound confident when answering such resume-based questions as you know exactly what you applied for.

Objective Questions asked by Recruiters

Objective questions are those that require a specific answer and have only one potential answer that falls in the yes/no or true/false category.

Given below are a few common objective questions usually asked by recruiters in the telephonic interview:

  • Do you know how to use xyz software application?
  • Are you willing to relocate to another city?
  • Are you willing to work the afternoon shift?
  • What’s the percentage hike in salary you are looking for?
  • What do you know about our company/products?
  • What is your notice period?
  • How much total experience do you have?
  • What’s your GPA?

Take some time to prepare sample answers beforehand for possible questions to practice and plan your answers. Remember to be honest while answering the objective questions.

Tackling Subjective Questions asked by Recruiters

Subjective questions are questions that require answers in the form of explanations and giving an opinion. There are no right or wrong answers to such questions. The interpretation of answers to such questions is highly subjective and depends on multiple factors. What’s important is that you convince and impress the recruiter with your answer.

Given below is a sampling of a few common subjective questions:

  1. Can you tell me about yourself that is not mentioned in the resume?
  2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  3. Tell me about a mistake that you’ve made at work. How did you handle it?
  4. Why should I hire you?
  5. Give me an example of an experience where you worked as a team player.
  6. Ever faced a situation where you had to work with a hostile colleague? How did you handle it?

The STAR Method to answering Subjective Questions

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Following the STAR technique to answer subjective questions is an excellent way to give structured answers. You can respond to such questions with a specific example that will reveal your analytical ability and personality traits. Whatever example you select, it must some relation or parallel to the job you have applied for.

Let’s understand this with an example:

Question: Tell me about a mistake that you’ve made at work. How did you handle it?

Answer: I once missed an important email from a client, as I was busy completing the report for one of our other customers. [SITUATION] The next day, the irate client shot an email to my manager stating that I hadn’t responded to her email when she expected me to reply that day itself. My manager told me to handle the situation with the client else it would be noted negatively in my appraisal. [TASK] I emailed back to the client with the files she required. Then I called her up and sincerely apologized for the mistake on my part. She ranted for a few minutes. I listened patiently without saying a word. Once she saw I wasn’t defending myself and had apologized, she calmed down and stated that I was much more well-mannered than other executives she had interacted with and accepted my apology. [ACTION] In order to prevent such a missed email disaster from happening ever again, I have now set apart a dedicated period of my workday to ensure that all emails are read, and action is taken wherever necessary. [RESULT].

Don’t Fake it if can’t make it!

Any employer will prefer a truthful and trustworthy person as an employee rather than a pretender/fraud. That’s why they pay good money to the recruiters who are professionally trained to identify and hire such people who fit the company’s expectations.  Never ever lie to your recruiter about your credentials or skillsets. It’s akin to digging your own grave. Some recruiters even blacklist candidates who resort to such fakery. Remember, that the recruiter is like a well-trained hound who can smell a lie a mile away!

Beware of Spammers

As for our last tip, ensure that no kind of payment is involved in the selection process. The recruiter working for a reputed employer will never ask you to pay your hard-earned money. (They are paid well by the employers for their efforts).  Scamming gullible candidates who upload their resumes on job portals is a huge business.

Many candidates get a call stating that their resume is perfect for a particular job profile in a reputed company, get asked a few cursory objective questions, and are instructed to pay a certain amount to a specific bank account or digital wallet to secure the job. Beware of these fraudsters and don’t forget to check the company’s background and website before applying. Use the Google search engine- it is the ultimate source to access information.


We hope you find these tips useful. Use your wit, charm, and intelligence to ace the interview process. Wish you all the best in your interviews!

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