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Telephonic Interviews What employers look for

Telephonic interviews is the current trend. This is very popular since it saves time of the employers in screening the candidates as well as interviewing candidates who are based in different geographical area. Telephonic interview is a common feature in IT industry both for permanent employment and for contractors.

Few tips to get through the interview.

  • Job specs: Read the job description thoroughly that you are being interviewed for. If you do not know or your recruiting agent has not provided details, then ask for it. This will help you discuss in the interview and will give a comfort level to the employer that you are serious about the job. If you are not interested in pursuing the job, please let the employers know. No one likes to waste time.
  • Environment: Choose a quite place for your interview so that there are no interruptions during the call. You may never know that the it may be a conference call and interviewers are joining from different locations.
  • Structure: The interviewer will generally introduce himself and team members to give an idea of the background who are interviewing. The lead interviewer will explain you about structure of interview, about the company, the job specs. Typically in IT industry, the interview will tell you before hand whether it is a techincal round and what they would expect from the discussion.
  • CV: The interviewers will have a thorough look at your CV and the questions will be asked to you will based on what you have written. Be honest about your work experience and "no jargons". Do not mention anything that is difficult to explain. Interviewers will ask you what you know and not what you don't know. So keep your CV simple and maximum 4 pages so that it is browsed in 2 minutes. E.g of good CV is to include Career Objective and Career Summary to begin with bullet points on accomplishments in two last assignments. Bad CV is of 16 pages with details till the end.
  • Answering: Be calm and attentive. Interviewers are not expecting that you know everything. But they are generally looking whether you can communicate, work with them and handle situations. In telephonic interview, your voice will show the level of confidence in you. Be calm, take pause wherever necessary. We were interviewing a candidate and we could feel his pulse during the discussion. Everyone is stressed on interview but not the full length of interview.
  • Senario based questions: A scenario based questions is to test the skills on how a candidate handles situations. In one of the SAP interview, we asked question "You are one week from Go-Live. You have a problem in the level 3 of dunning procedure. It was working fine but due to change in some configuration, it is not working properly. What would you do in this situation ? The answers from candidate who do not know are likely to be
    • Will work late hours to find a solution.
    • Investigate technically to find the solution so that the Go-Live date is not impacted.
    • Involve other members to find solutions

    The answers expected are:

    • Will this problem affect the Go-Live. If no, then there are other issues to look into and see that Go-Live is not impacted.
    • Look for a workaround, if available. Suggest alternatives.
    • Handle this issue post go live.
Simple isn't it !!! Don't bluff. The employer is not looking for a "Superman".
  • Technical Questions: You will asked question about finance or taxation or companies act. You should focus on application of knowledge. If you are asked to quote about sections in taxation or transaction fields in ERP application, then you can tell them, if you know. If you do not know, then you can tell them that it is no big deal, if you had a book or system infront of you. Then you can continue to say is what matters is application of knowledge and those abilities you have it.
  • Do you have questions: Before the conclusion of interview, the interview will generally ask you "Do you have any question?". This is a point you should ask questions relevant questions about the job. Last but not least, you should conclude with "So far in the interview, do you have any concerns ?". This will give an opportunity to explain yourselves further, if something was missed earlier.
  • Conclude your interview by thanking them and inquiring with the lead interviewer when/how they would let you know regarding the outcome. The answer will enable you to to know whether you have moved ahead in the stage of job interview.
Generally, the decision whether your application will progress to next stage will be decided by the panel moments after the conclusion of the telephonic interview.

Simple Rules:

  • CV should be simple and shows your accomplishments
  • You are confident in the interview. Your voice should say so.
  • You are able to demonstrate
    • You are a team player
    • Can handle situations
    • Best fit for the job description
  • Be honest in answering questions.
These few tips will take you to the next round.


Santosh Puthran

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