The Interview: on the phone

Before the interview

Research: ‘So, what do you know about us?’ is a common question and there’s no excuse for a lack of research. Enter the interview with something of interest to say about their company, or a question to ask. Look on their website, but also look at their social media including LinkedIn and Twitter, or try using the FT or BBC’s companies sections.

Prepare:Either use a landline or if you’re using a mobile ensure you are in a strong signal area, the phone battery is well-charged and the environment is calm and quiet. Before your call, have a copy of your CV, the job description and any other relevant material at hand to refer to. If you can use hands-free without affecting the call quality, this will enable you to take notes and can help the flow of the conversation. Avoid eating, drinking, chewing or smoking during your call as any noises are amplified and would demonstrate a lack of professional courtesy. If you find communicating effectively over the phone difficult, take time to practice with a friend or colleague in advance to increase your confidence.

During the Interview

First Impression: Make sure you’re available at the agreed time and that your phone line is clear. Answer the call confidently and clearly with ‘good morning/afternoon [name] speaking’ It is important to be upbeat and friendly before getting into the real substance of the interview to get things off on a positive note. If you can get the interviewer on your side, it may help later in the process.

Interaction: Listen to the questions being asked and answer directly. Find the balance between a one-word answer and going off on a tangent or providing superfluous information.

Competency Based Questions:these are often used to score candidates on a scale so that direct comparisons can be made between interviewees. For example: ‘Have you been in a situation where…?’ ‘Yes, I used it on a project recently where we did x, y, z…’ Give confirmation and a succinct answer. If the interviewer wants to know more they’ll ask, and this will make the interview more conversational and comfortable. You can research these and prepare answers in advance – they can be tricky to think of on the spot sometimes.

Tell me about yourself:The interviewer is as interested in you as a person as much as your skill level and they’ll be looking to see if you fit their company’s culture and will get along with other members of the team. It’s a good idea to prepare a 20 second ‘marketing statement’ detailing some personal and professional attributes.

What are your strengths and weaknesses? Use your CV to pull out your star attributes and have 2 or 3 of each and reasons why. Don’t forget to turn the negative to a positive.

Tell me about a recent problem and how you solved it:Be specific and describe what YOUR actions were and how they influenced the outcome.

What do you know about our company?Ensure that you’ve done your research so you can give them some background, industry awareness, current news, or other insight.

How long have you been looking for a new job?This can be tricky if you’ve been looking for a new role for some time, but be honest. If you have been away on a extended holiday or done some voluntary work, you could mention this.

Why should we employ you?The answer to this question should be based on your previous experience and achievements that relate to their company and the role. At the end you might want to add that you think there is a good fit between you and the job.

What can you contribute? This is your chance to shine. Tell them about your achievements in your previous position(s), which are relevant to the new position you are applying for.

Why do you want this job? What can we offer that your current role doesn’t? Stress the positive points that attracted you to the role. Do not dwell on the negative aspects of your current job. Stress specific opportunities for personal growth, new challenges, what you’ll bring to the role... etc.

What was your greatest success and how did you achieve it?Pick an achievement that is related to their needs and describe your personal involvement.

Behavioural questions:

  • Give me an example of how you exercised leadership in a recent situation.

  • Tell me about a decision you made recently and how you reached it.

  • Tell me about how you persuade people to accept your point-of-view.

  • Tell me about a time when you were under a great deal of pressure. What was the source of the pressure and what did you do?

  • What failures have you experienced? What have you learned from your mistakes?

Any questions for us? This is asked at nearly every interview. Come up with four or five good questions about the job and company, write them down and take them with you. This will remind you of what you are hoping to find out from the interview and also shows that you are well prepared.

  • 'What goals might I be set for the first 6 months?'

  • 'What percentage of supervisory positions are filled from within the organization?'

  • 'Are there any plans for new goods or services?'

  • 'Who are the key reports into this role / managers / key business stakeholders?'

After the Interview

After your interview, call your Required IT consultant and give us your feedback while it's fresh in your mind. We will use this to negotiate the best offer.

On receipt of an offer, the key things to take into account are:

  • Is the new role taking you in the direction you would like your career to go?

  • Is the role meeting your needs for job satisfaction, career development, training etc?

  • Do you need more information to make the decision?

  • Is the salary on offer in line with your expectations or the market?

There are online resources you can use to check salary, but they’re only a guide and many factors will affect the salary package offered.

Required IT experts place IT professionals into new roles on a daily basis, so do not hesitate to ask us for advice or share any concerns you may have. We're here for you, and will be able to help and counsel you more effectively if you give us all the facts.