Typical Phone Interview Questions

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June 1, 2020
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min read

If you are in the middle of a job search, chances are you will have at least one phone interview during the process. In this article, we will discuss typical questions that are asked during a phone interview. We will also look at the different scenarios for phone interviews and how to best prepare for them.

Phone Screen

Before a company brings a candidate in for an in-person interview, they might have a phone screen with a member of human resources or their recruiter. This is a great way to find out if you are a good fit for the role and if you are truly interested in the position. These interviews are typically shorter and used to confirm your background.

Common phone interview questions during a phone screen

Here are some common phone interview questions you might be asked during an initial phone conversation. Make sure you are prepared to answer these.

At the time of your phone call, have your resume in front of you. That way, if you are asked about a detail you included, you know exactly what the interviewer is looking at. The best answers about your resume will provide context for the interviewer on your background.

The interviewer wants to learn as much about you before bringing you in for the next round of interviews. Here are a few common phone interview questions you may be asked.

  • Why are you looking to leave your current job?
  • What is something specific you have learned at your company?
  • What skills do you have that make you stand apart from other candidates?
  • What is one thing that stood out to you from the job posting?
  • Is there a work environment you like best?
  • Share a recent experience where you had to deal with a difficult employee or client

A screening phone interview will most likely not go into a lot of detail about your experience. The main purpose is to confirm your interest in the role and that you have the qualifications for the open job. You should also be prepared to discuss the next steps during the call.

If you like the job and they like you, the next step is meeting with the hiring manager. Have your upcoming schedule readily available so you can set up an interview time.

What questions to ask during a phone interview

If you have specific questions about the job, use your phone interview as a time to ask them. Remember, it's a screener call for you too. Make sure you are interested in the job and like what you are hearing.

The company only wants to bring in candidates that are excited about the role, so ask any questions you may have to help you make that decision.

During your job search, the first phone interview is a great time to ask what you didn't get from the online job posting. Prepare your list of questions before your phone interview. Think of things you want to know about the company and the role.

Are there things you saw on the company's website that you have a question or two about? Here are some good questions to ask during your phone interview.

  • How many members are on the team?
  • What is the salary range?
  • What level of experience are you looking for?
  • Can you walk me through a standard day for this role?
  • When would I be able to start?
  • Could you tell me about the company's culture?

It's always good to ask at least one question during any interview you have. It shows you are interested and that the job search is important to you. Take some time to read recent articles about the company.

See if you can find the people you will be meeting with on Linkedin or other social sites. The more information you learn in advance of your conversation, the more you will have to say.

Other types of phone interviews

If you are applying for a job in a different state or the company's headquarters are located elsewhere, you might have a phone interview with the hiring manager or other executives. You will want to leave yourself plenty of time to prepare for these phone interviews. They should be treated like an in-person interview.

The interview wants to ask the same questions they would ask if you were in their office. Prepare answers to commonly asked interview questions.

Oftentimes, a person in sales will interview with potential employers over the phone. They want to make sure you are ready to sell their product. Your phone interview might also cover what you understand about their business.

Keep in mind that the best answers are the ones you have prepared. The more you know and research before your phone interviews, the better they will go.

A potential employer might have you speak with another member of their team who does a similar job. This is a great time to ask them an interview question or two of your own. Find out what they like about the company and what they would change if they could.

You don't want to bash your current job but let them know why you are looking to leave. Share an example of what you really enjoy doing. Ask the person for a few tips to succeed at the company. Listen to their responses and make sure you still like what you are hearing about the company.

In the end, phone interviews are just as important as ones in the office. Searching for the right job takes time though, so keep in mind that as much as the interviewer wants to know about you, it's your career.

So ask as many questions as you want. You need to feel good about the company and the jobs you are applying for.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I best prepare for the "Tell me about yourself" question in a phone interview?

To prepare for this common opener, craft a concise elevator pitch focusing on your professional background, key achievements, and how your skills align with the job role. Practice delivering your response in a clear, confident tone, keeping it under two minutes to maintain the interviewer's attention.

What strategies can I use to effectively convey my enthusiasm for the role over the phone?

To express enthusiasm during a phone interview, use positive language, speak with energy, and articulate clearly how the role aligns with your career goals. Mention specific aspects of the company or position that excite you, and ask thoughtful questions to demonstrate genuine interest.

How should I handle the salary expectation question in a phone interview if I'm unsure about the appropriate range?

If faced with the salary question, research industry standards for the position beforehand. If still unsure, provide a salary range based on your research and be open to discussing it further. Alternatively, you can deflect by expressing your focus on the role's fit and your willingness to negotiate once mutual interest is established.

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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