The Recruiting Blog of KG Workforce Solutions.

Phone Interview Tips

by kgworkforce

A phone interview can be difficult, but it’s easier with a little preparation and practice. For many positions, especially contract positions, hiring decisions are made after one phone interview. YES, after only one telephone interview!! This means you only have one shot to make a great first impression and you won’t be able to rely on your charming smile or sparkling eyes. You have to sell yourself over the telephone in one conversation.

Below are some tips that can help ensure you nail your telephone interview.

Research before your phone interview.

Know basic details about the company, job requirements, and hiring manager/interviewer(s) before your phone interview. Ask questions that you can’t find on the company website.

Have your resume in front of you.

Read your resume before the interview and make sure you can provide examples that support what you have written on the resume. One of the surest ways to blow an interview is for the interviewer to ask you a question about your resume and you have NO IDEA what they are referring to. If you are working with a recruiter, make sure to get a copy of the resume he/she sent to the manager if they made any changes to your original resume.

Speak clearly and sit up straight.

Avoid mumbling, speed talking, slang, and improper grammar. Sitting up straight helps you articulate your speech and reduce mumbling, so even though you are interviewing via phone, posture matters!

Answer the question.

Make sure your responses actually answer the questions asked. In most cases, less is more, so avoid a rant. If the interviewer wants additional details, he/she will ask for them. However, if you ramble for 20 minutes, the interviewer may just stop listening! It is especially critical to be mindful of this in a phone interview where you won’t have the interviewer’s body language available to queue you in if this is happening!

Be ready at least 15 minutes early.

Be available, with your phone, at least 15 minutes before the interview is scheduled to start. Make sure your phone is charged and use a landline if available. If you have to use a cell phone, make sure you are in an area with good cell reception.

Avoid phone interview distractions.

Find a quiet place to take the call. Too much background noise can make it hard for the interviewer to understand you. Even though it’s a phone interview, dedicate the time to the interview and only the interview. Don’t wash dishes, use the restroom, fold laundry, check your email, etc.  During the interview, only focus on the interview just as you would do in an in-person interview.

Prepare your answers.

Practice answers to the most common interview questions (sample questions). There is no excuse to be caught off guard with any of these questions. Everyone knows these are the types of questions many interviewers ask, so BE PREPARED.

Express interest.

Don’t hang up the phone without expressing your interest in the job. This can be uncomfortable, so practice it ahead of time. Your expression of interest does not have to be a super aggressive sales-close, but should be sincere and clear!

Do not put the interviewer on hold.

Unless there is a significant emergency, it is not appropriate to put the interviewer on hold or take another call during the interview. It is sad that this even needs to be a point of discussion in this article. But it happens!

Common Interview Questions

by kgworkforce

Interviewing can be difficult, especially if you are not prepared to answer common interview questions. The good news is that it is easy to prepare for certain interview questions, though you are likely to get a few wild card questions in any interview!

Below are some of the most common interview questions that are universal to almost any industry:

    1. Why are you interested in this position?
    2. What are your greatest strengths?
    3. What are your greatest weaknesses?
    4. Why are you looking to leave your current job?
    5. Tell me about a time you had to deal with an angry customer (or coworker, boss, etc)?
    6. What are you looking for in your next position?
    7. Why should we hire you?
    8. What are your greatest accomplishments?
    9. Tell me about a conflict you’ve had at work and how you dealt with it?
    10. Where do you see yourself in three years? Five years?
    11. What other companies are you interviewing with?
    12. Have you ever had a boss you did not like? If yes, how did you deal with him/her?
    13. Have you ever disagreed with a corporate decision? If so, tell me about the situation and how you handled it?
    14. Why did you leave your last position(s)?
    15. Describe the worst job you have ever had?

Before your interview, you should be prepared to answer questions, such as those above. If you are unsure about how to answer, seek advice from your family, friends, or trusted business associates. Being prepared with a concise, honest, and meaningful response is critical; keeping in mind the following:

  • Don’t bash former employers
  • Keep responses positive
  • Keep the job for which you are interviewing in mind when you answer
  • Answer the question, don’t redirect, avoid, or start rambling
  • Smile, even if the answer you have to give makes you a little uncomfortable

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Interview Questions to Uncover Company Culture

by kgworkforce

So, you are excited that you finally got an interview with what you believe to be your dream company! But how do you really know that the company and the position are right for you? Understanding company culture is just as important as understanding the duties of a position if you are looking for a long-term employment match.

Below are easy questions you can ask your interviewer to help uncover the true team and company culture. You don’t need to ask all of these, but pick a few that really resonate with you and make sure to fit them into your interview.

What is your favorite part of working here?

If the interviewer struggles to answer, that might be a flag. Anyone should be able to come up with at least one positive for their place of employment; or perhaps they should not be working there! This question is sure to give you insight into the company culture.

How would you describe the company culture {or team culture}?

Yes, it is that simple. Most interviewers will give you very honest information regarding the company culture if you just ask!

How financially stable is the company? 

For most public companies, you can get this information fairly easily, so this is a better question for small businesses and privately held companies. The answer to this question will not only give you an idea of the company’s stability, but also some insight into how transparent the company is (don’t expect to get financial details, but you should be able to tell if the interviewer has any idea or if such questions are considered faux pas in their company culture ).

Why is this position open?

Did someone resign or get terminated? Is the company growing? Has there been a restructure? This information will provide a lot of insight and often open the door for additional questions about the company culture, specific information about the position, and general turnover data.

What is the management structure for the team {or company}?

Depending on your personality, you may prefer a flatter organization or one with many management layers. This question will help you understand the hierarchy, while also giving you some insight into possible growth potential without specifically asking.

What is the performance management or performance review process?

This question is really important. If you work best with constant feedback and in-person communication, a performance management process where you meet with your manager once a year and sign a form, may not be well suited for you. Conversely, if you are a “give me a task and let me be” type employee, a performance management process that includes weekly status checks and pep talks with your manager may not be ideal.

Do most employees eat lunch together or alone, or work through lunch?

This might seem like a simple or odd question, but you can learn about how employees interact with one another by the answer you get to this question.

What are your primary communication tools with your team (email, phone, in-person)?

If you thrive with personalized communication and lots of face time with your manager, do you want to work for a manager who relies mostly on email? If you prefer email communication, will a manager who wants to talk in person all the time drive you nuts? Neither is right or wrong, just better suited for some people than others.

Accepting a new job is a big commitment. Take the time to research and prepare before you interview, and try to learn about the company culture. This will give you the best chance of accepting a position where you will thrive and be happy.

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