Phone Interview


Whether you’re new to the job hunt or re-entering the market, it is important to be confident and well prepared for your first interview with a company. These five expert tips can help you stand out from the crowd ahead of your meeting with a recruiter or potential employer.

1. Research the role and company you’re applying for

This might seem obvious, but the more you understand about the company, the more clarity you will have about what questions the interviewer might ask of you. Taking 15 minutes to learn about upcoming projects or recent announcements can provide a great opportunity to highlight your initiative during an interview.

I noticed that your company is working on a significant recycling community initiative and I believe that my experience working with council stakeholders and community members would be extremely useful for future communications.”

2. Prepare for behavioural questions

Behavioural questions give recruiters and employees a sense of your previous work and past behaviours which are a good indicator of what you might do in future roles. Your answers to these questions will demonstrate how you navigate difficult feedback, problem solve, communicate, exceed expectations and work in a team environment.

It is important that you plan responses to these questions using the ‘STAR’ method, Situation, Task, Action and Result method which will ensure your answers are concise. To help you prepare, do not hesitate to write down five different ‘STAR’ examples that you can refer to during your interview.

Example response:

  • “Can you tell me about a time when you were working under pressure and how you dealt with multiple competing priorities?”

Situation: In my previous role as a Project Manager in a not-for-profit business, I was planning for a major launch event. A day prior to the event our main performer fell ill which caused a lot of stress for my team.

Task: As the manager, it was my role to revise all communications materials, source a new performer at short notice and reignite team morale.

Action: I took the initiative to revisit project timelines and delegate new priorities to each team member to ensure staff understood ideal outcomes. This also allowed me additional time to source new talent and review project budgeting.

Result: By involving my team in the developments and taking the time to understand their concerns, we were able to reprioritise our tasks and bring the event to life without a hitch. After the event we received positive feedback for our ability to adapt to change and bring the event to life without any major budget impacts.

Additional behavioural questions:

  • “Tell us about a time when you went above and beyond to exceed client expectations”
  • “When were you required to resolve conflict and what was the outcome?”
  • “Tell me about a time when you made an error or wish you had handled a situation differently and how you resolved this?”
  • “Can you elaborate on your proudest professional accomplishment?”

3. Have questions prepared for your interviewer

Be prepared for the recruiter to ask if you have any questions towards the end of the interview. This is an ideal opportunity to show your interest in the role, willingness to learn about the business and if you would be a good fit for the team.

  • “Can you tell me about what upcoming projects I would potentially be working on?”
  • “What do you see being the biggest challenge for someone coming into this role?”
  • “Can you elaborate on what the day-to-day tasks of this position entails?”
  • “What is the current size and structure of the team?”

4. Be prepared to chat salary

Discussing money may not come up in your first interview, but it is important to have a salary range in mind. For example, “I would be looking at a salary range of $60k – $70k however I am happy to discuss this further next time we meet.”

It is also appropriate to say “I would like some time to think about that and I can get back to you” without jeopardizing your position or potentially giving an answer you are not sure about.

5. Follow up from your interview

Taking the time to send a thank you email shortly after your interview can be the difference between an applicant and an ideal candidate. This not only demonstrates that you genuinely value the company’s time, but also your enthusiasm for the advertised position.


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