Have you finished your academic studies/ graduation /post-graduation?
- Got campus placed? Then congratulations! Welcome to the Corporate World.
- Joining your dad’s or a relative’s business? Then congratulations! You are lucky that the accident of birth in your case gave you a real head-start with respect to opportunities.
- Not campus placed and no relatives to offer you a job? Then welcome to the intensely competitive, cut-throat and insane world of job seekers in Corporate India.
Our blogs intend to aid you in your journey for breaking into India’s coveted corporate sector. (Isn’t that the vicarious dream fulfilment for most Indian parents?) This blog aims to help you gain an understanding of the first round of the interview process, which is almost always the telephonic interview round. Without much ado, let’s begin!
Understanding the Interview Process
Most companies have a set of employees known as ‘recruiters’ in their Human Resource (HR) department whose sole responsibility is hiring new employees. In smaller firms, the HR executives themselves double up as recruiters. In some companies, the recruitment process is outsourced to HR firms specializing in hiring.
The recruiters usually visit job portals to scout for potential candidates. During this process, the recruiter scans candidates based on their qualifications, experience, and salary expectations and matches with the job profile. Candidates who meet the requirements of the job profile are then short-listed. These candidates are then contacted in order to initiate the interview process.
What is a telephonic interview?
The interview process at most large firms and companies consists of multiple rounds. The telephonic interviews are usually conducted by recruiters during the initial stage of the hiring process. A telephone interview is conducted to decide whether the candidate is competent enough to face the next round in the interview process or not.
You therefore need to ace the telephonic interview round to even be considered as a potential job prospect!
Why many rookies/freshers end up underestimating the Telephonic Interview Round
Your resume helped you get short-listed for the interview process. Many youngsters and rookie job seekers make the fatal mistake of assuming that a telephonic interview will be cakewalk as they don’t have to dress up for the occasion, go to an office and face any intimidating strangers. If you too believe this myth, wake up! Rub your eyes!
Telephonic interviews are no child’s play. You must face the interviewer with the only tools at your disposal when speaking via a phone – your voice and communication skills. You need to impress them with prompt and confident answers!! Even though you don’t need to be ready with a specific dress code, you still have to be mentally alert and ready to reply with eloquence (and occasionally wit) to the questions asked.
Must-Do List When Preparing for a Telephonic Interview
1. Keep your Resume ready for reference
Always keep a physical copy of your resume ready for reference. Interviewers tend to ask questions related to the skill sets you have mentioned on your resume.
When applying for jobs, some candidates have the tendency to edit their resumes to suit the job description of the hiring firm. In such a case, be ready with the physical copies of the different versions of your resume. On each specific resume version, mark the names of the companies you have forwarded the resume to for easy referencing.
2. Get a brief idea about the company/firm you have applied to
Once you forward your resume to a potential employer, make it a point to visit their official website, their LinkedIn profile or Google for more information on the employer. During the telephonic interview and even face-to-face interviews, recruiters tend to ask basic questions regarding the hiring company. (For example: “Do you know what industry vertical we specialize in?” or “Are you comfortable working night shifts for our KPO process?”) Sounding clueless when questioned about the company in the telephonic interview is a big turn off to the prospective employer while sounding informed creates a positive first impression and means you are serious about the potential job offer.
3. Be accessible at all times, especially during work hours on weekdays
Drill this brutal reality into your mind: Your carefree college days are over, and you now need a job. So, get serious about the job application process. What if you are away partying or enjoying with your friends? What if you phone battery has drained out or is dead? You will obviously end up missing potential interviewer calls. Note that most interviewers never call back a second time if you miss their call.
If there is too much background noise or if you are busy with some important work, then answer the call and inform the interviewer of a suitable time when you can attend the call or simply reply via SMS stating that you will get back once free.
4. Be prepared with answers for frequently asked questions
Some common questions asked in a telephonic interview:
- Tell me a little about yourself?
- What were your job responsibilities in your previous company?
- What is your current location?
- Are you willing to relocate to another city?
- What salary are you looking for?
- Are you willing to travel?
- Why did you apply for this position?
- What’s your notice period? (Asked only if you currently have a job.)
You can do a mock interview call with one of your friends wherein he/she could conduct your telephonic interview. Ask your friend for genuine feedback and improve up on your weaknesses so that you don’t repeat them in an actual interview.
Useful Tips to follow when giving a Telephonic Interview
- Make sure the battery is sufficiently charged.
- Introduce yourself by giving a brief introduction of yourself, background and accomplishments.
- Speak clearly and slowly.
- Smile to avoid sounding dull.
- Make sure there is no disturbance in the background and stay away from distractions
- Keep your resume handy
- Never interrupt the interviewer. Let them complete the sentence before you respond.
- Stay away from all the distractions and listen attentively.
- If you have a habit of fidgeting when nervous, it is advisable to keep away from pens or any other paraphernalia that increases your nervous tick. (Recruiters have a knack for sensing nervous candidates even when they are only heard and not seen!)
How to end a telephonic interview?
At the end of the telephonic interview, most interviewers will probably ask you if you have any queries. So be ready with a question or two that you might have. Not asking anything leaves the impression that you are not keen. You can ask the interviewer for the next follow up. Enquire about contact details (name, phone number or email address) of the person who will be your point of contact. Knowing the contact details is important or else you will end up waiting for days or weeks without any information.
Your performance in the telephonic interview decides whether you will progress to the next round of the interview process. If you do not hear back from the recruiters within the timeframe that they promise to get back to you, it means that you haven’t cracked the round and need to look at other job prospects.
Remember, a telephonic interview is just like a screen test and there is a lot to do after this stage. At the end of a telephonic interview, you want the recruiter to see you as a professional who is the right candidate for the job profile. This is your time to buck up after months of applications to ‘n’ number of companies. Pay close attention to preparation as recommended. Remember: The first impression is the lasting impression.
Ensure that the experience gained from every telephonic interview comes in handy for other telephonic interviews that you attend in the future. If you learn from your fallacies, you will ultimately crack this round. No telephonic interview in the future will then scare you or make you nervous!
Found our blog helpful? We recommend you read our other blogs in this series:
- The Most Frequently Asked Phone Interview Questions