Telephone Interview

Telephone Interview

And so I decided to apply for a job in Singapore thru an online job portal (jobsdb & jobstreet). With the world economic crisis we’re still facing, I thought there won’t be a single chance to become a candidate especially I am Filipino with no PR or even S-PASS. But I said to my self “what a heck? –  It won’t cost me anything and besides it is just a few clicks to apply.

Expectedly, I got no response from the companies I applied in Singapore. It’s either I am not qualified or they don’t accept foreigners with no PR at the moment.

I was single-minded to work in Singapore so I keep on applying online and this goes on for a few days… later become a few months. Full of hopelessness, I was determined to leave my current job and head to Singapore next year. I know a lot of people who’ve done this – walk-in interview in Singapore. And hoping  it’s going to be the upturn of the Global Economy.

Out of the blue, I received a single email that has a Subject: “Tele Interview Details”. Amusing coz’ I didn’t open it at first as it looks like a spam. Oh I hate spammers!

Dear Applicant

We are pleased to invite you for a telephone interview on 14 August 2009 at 5pm.

Please send me the following by Friday 14 August 9am:

  1. Completed Job Application form (as per attached)
  2. A passport size photo
  3. Originals and photocopies of your educational certificates & transcripts i.e. results slips
  4. Photocopy of Passport
  5. Photocopy of Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) Entry Permit (if applicable)

(Kindly attached the above photocopies to your completed job application form and hand it to the interviewer)

I’ve been interviewed so many times face-to-face but never imagined how it is like on a phone interview. Deep in my mind, this is got to be lot easier compared than any interview. Why? Because you can write everything on a note and just read it whenever it comes out as a question. Using a Laptop or PC will make it a lot easier.  😀

Anyway, despite the fact that I already prepared all my notes, it still feels like I am missing something. I’ve got to do this smoothly and perfectly and these are some of the phone interview techniques and tips I’ve gathered in the net.

Be Prepared

Prepare for a phone interview just as you would for a regular interview. Compile a list of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as a list of answers to typical interview questions. In addition, plan on being prepared for a phone conversation about your background and skills.

  • Keep your resume in clear view, on the top of your desk, or tape it to the wall near the phone, so it’s at your fingertips when you need to answer questions.
  • Have a short list of your accomplishments available to review.
  • Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.
  • Turn call waiting off so your call isn’t interrupted.
  • Clear the room – evict the kids and the pets. Turn off the stereo and the TV. Close the door.

Well, expect that your first question on the phone interview would be “Tell me about yourself”.  Keep it short and direct to the point. You don’t want the interviewer get bored listening right?

For my strength and weaknesses, here are some of my prepared answers. Try to add because some interviewer will ask for more strength and weaknesses.

What is your Strength

One of my biggest strengths is my communication skills. I work very well with all kinds of people and I have this attitude to share what I have learnt and learning from them as well.

Another strength of mine, is being flexible to handle change.

What is your weaknesses

Sometimes I get too bothered if I can’t finish the job on time and I always want everything done at once which not fruitful in some cases.


Talking on the phone isn’t as easy as it seems. I’ve always found it’s helpful to practice. Have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview and tape record it so you can see how you sound over the phone. Any cassette recorder will work. You’ll be able to hear your “ums” and “uhs” and “okays” and you can practice reducing them from your conversational speech. Also rehearse answers to those typical questions you’ll be asked.

During the Phone Interview

  • Don’t smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink.
  • Do keep a glass of water handy, in case you need to wet your mouth.
  • Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
  • Use the person’s title (Mr. or Ms. and their last name.) Only use a first name if they ask you to.
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
  • Take your time – it’s perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to collect your thoughts.
  • Give short answers.

One secret I wanted share – SMILE. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice. Try it and you’ll see… works for me!

By the way, prepare at least 2 questions for the interviewer. Could be somewhat related to their goals in the future.

After the Interview:

I don’t normally do this but a good friend of mine told me he got hired in Singapore because he had some nice parting words at the end of the interview. I am not even sure if he was kidding or serious about it. Hehe..

I followed his advice and actually managed to insert this quote at the last moment when the interviewer asked me if I have anything more to say;

“I just want to say that I am very interested for this position and If ever I am hired, I can assure that I can handle the job very well.”