The first step to getting a job? Successfully nailing the phone interview. Your resume is the calling card for your career; the highlights of your skills and experience that can help you get noticed. After that comes the first conversation. A phone interview is a chance for a recruiter to get a feel for your personality, gauge a little bit about if there’s a skill match for the position, get a better understanding of a possible corporate culture fit, and ultimately decide if it makes sense to introduce you as a candidate to the hiring manager. Here are some of the most common tech-industry phone interview questions – and how you should handle them.
- “How familiar are you with [specific programming language]?” – This question will only come up for some tech positions, but don’t let its straightforwardness fool you. Companies want to know that you’re adaptable and willing to learn. Even if you don’t work in that specific language, make sure you’re clear about which ones you do have experience with and if you’re looking to add more to your portfolio of experience. Also, avoid simple yes or no answers by giving brief examples or context.
- “Why do you want to come work for us?” – Before you talk to a recruiter, make sure you take a look at the company’s website, LinkedIn, or Glassdoor page so you can get a sense of what kind of business they are. What about their goals or mission statement resonates with you? Do they have a lot of positive reviews where people are excited to be contributing their skills to a worthwhile company? Are they developing a solution or product you believe in? Make sure to highlight your interest in the work the company is doing and why you want to be part of that specifically.
- “What are your weaknesses?” – This question isn’t a trick. You don’t need to answer with, “Nothing, I’m great at everything I do” and you also don’t need to go into detail about how you’re bad at budgeting. Stay within the lines of the job description. It’s ok to be honest, as long as you can make it seem like it’s not a strong suit without making it seem like a hindrance. For instance, saying, “I’ve never been a strong extrovert, which is why I decided to build my experience in developing instead of help desk or administration work” can make it seem like you’ve identified a way to make your weakness work for you.
Later interviews will often ask for more examples of your work on projects and possibly ask you to do a work sample for evaluation. A phone interview is the first step to bigger conversations that can help you land your next job.
If you’ve been thinking about a new job, get in touch with RightStone today. We can work with you to find your next tech role and get you interview ready.