How to handle a phone interview
November 18, 2006 11:12 AM   Subscribe

I recently had a terrific first interview for a position at a very nice four-star hotel. I'm scheduled for a follow-up phone interview in a few days during which I will be asked a few "general business questions about my background". What sort of questions should I expect?

The interviewer basically told me during our face-to-face that he was very interested in hiring me and assuming everything went well during the phone interview we would move forward and get me into training. I really want this job and would like to be as prepared as possible for the phone interview but I've never done one before and I'm not sure what "general business questions about my background" actually means to someone in the resort/hospitality business. Any guesses on what to expect?
posted by LeeJay to Work & Money (10 answers total)
above all, expect to be evaluated on how you come across on the phone ... the questions are probably secondary to that
posted by pyramid termite at 11:20 AM on November 18, 2006

I agree completely. Especially if the position you're interviewing for will have you communicating with customers a lot over the phone, they're going to want to see how you handle yourself. Above all, be confident, just like I'm sure you were at your first interview.

If you're still wondering about the questions, it sounds like they'd just be asking you what kind of experience you've had (probably more in-depth than they did when you applied).
posted by dondiego87 at 11:48 AM on November 18, 2006

Best answer: I was in the industry for over 30 years, and I did my hiring via the face to face interview after the phone interview, but things have probably changed a bit. First of all, what Dept. are you interested in? Who did the first interview..HR?, a headhunter? My guess would be that the Dept Head will be your next interviewer, and they probably want to know about your experience. I could pretty much tell if someone was BS'ing me about experience within 5 minutes. What I was looking for was attitude and can teach the rest. It might help to research the company, so you will be familiar with their policies...even drop some of that knowledge on them if you get the chance. Be confident that you made the first cut, but keep in mind that there are otheres seeking the same position, so you need to stand above the rest. Good luck, and feel free to email me, or ask in here, if you need any more answers.
posted by lobstah at 11:53 AM on November 18, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses so far. A little more info: I interviewed for a position at the front desk. I was interviewed by a department head, I'm fairly certain. He was the one putting out fires at the guest check-in area and seemed to be the one everyone was answering to. The way he talked, he made it sound like the phone interview was a bit of a formality and that it would be someone from HR handling it although I can't be sure.
posted by LeeJay at 12:19 PM on November 18, 2006

I agree ... if he has already met you, he's already comfortable with your qualifications. this is about how you come across over the phone. use his name a couple times during the conversation, listen carefully, stop talking the moment he wants to say something... the usual stuff.
posted by krautland at 12:39 PM on November 18, 2006

and since nobody else is saying it: congratulations.
posted by krautland at 12:40 PM on November 18, 2006

Ah, the front desk...ground zero for happy, and not so happy customers. I would imagine that you have already passed the personality-attitude test. If it is HR, then it is probably just a fomality...reference checks etc. etc.. It also might mean that there is some sort of orientation/and or in processing that has to be scheduled. Most of the high end places want everyone on the same page at the get-go, and they might only do that one or twice a month. Best of luck, and Suite 2240 needs a plumber pronto...CALL MAINTENANCE !!
posted by lobstah at 12:43 PM on November 18, 2006

Here's how it works in my office. After deciding your resume is worth a followup, I call for a 10 minute phone interview. My questions include: why are you applying; what do you hope to make; when are you hoping to start; questions about current/last job; questions specific to our industry; what else should I know about you. That last one is where people are most likely to shoot themselves in the foot. Oh, and if the position requires some sort of certification or license, I absolutely will specifically ask if you have it! I am listening for the ability to communicate verbally (vital for front desk, particularly), ability to organize thoughts, ability to answer questions on the fly, attitude, personality, and red flags. Everyone has different ideas of what a red flag is, so I can't help with that.

If I like what I hear, I schedule a sit-down interview at the end of the call. Good luck.
posted by ilsa at 2:28 PM on November 18, 2006

Yes, it is odd to do face-to-face first and then a telephone interview. The OP's interpretation makes sense to me, particularly for the hotel industry, face-to-face with the immediate/two-up-the-line boss and then a phone interview from HR making their formal checks. So have the CV you sent them in front of you. It is unlikely that they would overrule your boss on your ability to do the job, just as long as you are sober, alert and polite! I would guess that he has already decided that any gaps in your experience can be remedied with training (so you also should come over as keen to learn).
posted by Idcoytco at 2:33 AM on November 19, 2006

Response by poster: Update: The phone interview turned out to be a question and answer sort of thing. It was conducted by a HR staffer and it was obviously read off of some sort of script. Lots of questions like: Do you consider yourself a helpful person? Give me an example of a time you were helpful. That sort of thing. I must have done OK though, since I found out today that I got the job! Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions!
posted by LeeJay at 3:00 PM on December 6, 2006

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