Tips For Acing The Telephonic Interview Round

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 consists of behavioral attributes, moral fabric and personality traits a person possesses, along with their knowledge and skill sets. 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 the 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 interview.

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 interview.

Remember: Confidence and fluency of thought and language matter! And these will come naturally to you if you are sure 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, LinkedIn 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 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

Objectivequestions are those that require a specific answer and has 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 in 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 for 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. One 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 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 they 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 for your interviews!

Tips to follow when giving a Telephonic Interview

How to prepare for a telephonic interview

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

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?

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

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

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.

Keep going….

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!

Recommended Reading:

Found our blog helpful? We recommend you read our other blogs in this series:

  • The Most Frequently Asked Phone Interview Questions