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20 Most Common Phone Interview Questions and Answers

Most common phone interview questions can catch you off guard. But with these answers and tips, in 5 years you’ll see yourself at the company that’s interviewing you.

Aleksandra Makal
Aleksandra Makal
Career Expert
20 Most Common Phone Interview Questions and Answers

Abstract: Phone interview questions are asked by hiring managers to gain a better understanding of whether you are a right fit for the job. Brief phone interviews are a way to screen qualified candidates in and ineligible applicants out. 

Let’s take a look in the crystal ball, shall we?

 

Your next job interview will have these four questions…

 

Just kidding.

 

Unfortunately, we’re not psychics, and we can’t tell you exactly what the recruiter is going to ask you during your next interview…

 

But the good news is—

 

We can give you a list of the 20 most frequently asked phone interview questions and answers that will help you pass that first screening process.

 

Let’s get to it!

 

In this guide, you’ll find:

 

  • 20 examples of phone interview questions.
  • Example answers for common phone interview questions.
  • A step-by-step guide to win the interview.

 

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Looking for more interview tips and advice? Check out these articles:

 

 

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Phone Screen Interview Questions

 

Nowadays, we have much more opportunities, and it’s not unusual for hiring managers to interview candidates over the phone or video chat. 

 

Phone interviews are an essential part of the modern hiring process, offering convenience for both the recruiter and the candidate. 

 

  1. They’re quick.
  2. We don't have to show up anywhere.
  3. We’re not wasting time to commute.
  4. We can get interviewed from the comfort of our own homes.

 

Unfortunately, during a telephone interview, you won’t have the opportunity to warmly smile at the recruiter or use body language tricks. However, this does not mean that this form of recruitment has to work against you!

 

So, while you may not see the recruiter in person, you can’t underestimate a phone interview, and you should prepare for it just as carefully.

 

You can expect to have to make a case for your candidacy for the position, as well as to list your greatest professional achievements. 

 

So make sure to prepare as best as you can. 

 

Without further ado, here are the most common phone interview questions that are asked in screening phone interviews:

 

Top 20 Phone Interview Questions and Answers

 

1. Tell me about yourself.

 

"Tell me about yourself" is usually the first question in any interview. Most candidates panic and don’t know what to talk about. By far the worst solution is to tell your whole life story or duplicate information from your resume. 

 

The best way to answer this question is to briefly summarize your career, describe a few professional achievements, and end with describing the goals that you want to achieve in the future.

RIGHT ANSWER

I am a financial advisor by profession, which is why for the past 7 years I worked for an international corporation and dealt with planning large investments. My former manager would say that I am an extremely effective and goal-focused person. I hope that I will have the opportunity to prove this while working at your firm. 

2. What are your biggest strengths?

 

This question shows whether you are aware of your strengths and know how to use them effectively. Surprisingly, many people feel super uncomfortable discussing their strengths in an interview. The truth is, it’s not easy to find the balance between humility and the need to show confidence. 

 

When choosing your strengths, use the job description as your guide. Address the specific qualities that make you a good candidate for the position and set you apart from your competitors.

RIGHT ANSWER

One of my greatest strengths is learning new things fast. In my previous position as editor-in-chief, I was responsible for a wide variety of projects, during which I dealt with clients from many different industries. I was forced to do my own research and navigate an extremely diverse range of topics. As a result, I have comprehensive knowledge in a wide selection of topics, from healthcare issues to food production and finances.

3. What are your biggest weaknesses?

 

Hiring managers like to ask this question to see if you know your weaknesses and work to improve upon them. Nobody’s perfect, and recruiters know that. Choose traits or skills that the employer won’t consider essential for the job, but also those that you are actively working on.

RIGHT ANSWER

Public speaking is my biggest weakness. However, at my previous company, while working as a project manager I had to give regular presentations, both to employees and clients. I started looking for various tips in coaching articles. So, for example, I now practice speaking in front of a mirror. I hope I’m getting better, because I feel like my stage fright is slowly melting away.

4. Why are you interested in this role? 

 

Recruiters often ask this question to make sure you understand the specifics of the job. It’s also your time to shine and really highlight your qualifications. In addition to reading the job description carefully, compare the job requirements with your own skills and experience. Pick a few areas that you particularly like or excel in and focus on them in your response.

RIGHT ANSWER

As a recent college graduate, I’m excited to launch my career as a web developer. I feel that your company’s profile is in line with my interests and values. I also heard that the company has a very good reputation among employees.

5. Why are you interested in working for [company name]?

 

When asking this question, the employer is trying to find out if you really care about the position. Why did apply for this specific role in the first place? Employers value people who are passionate about their work, and who want to stay with the company for more than just a few months. 

Before the interview, learn more about the company and the role. Choose things that are related to your interests or your experience and skills.

RIGHT ANSWER

I read articles about the recent achievement of your firm in Business Week and how the organization rewards hardworking employees. I consider myself to be a goal-oriented innovator, and my resume lists all of my accomplishments. I hope that I too can be part of a team that shares the same enthusiasm for innovation.

6. Where do you see yourself in five years? 

 

The idea here is not to predict the future. When the recruiter asks you where you see yourself in five years, you should show them that you have an idea of what you want out of life, a career plan, or what your expectations are for further personal development. 

RIGHT ANSWER

My main motivation is to be the best at what I do, and I want to work in a place where I can develop my skills, take on challenging projects, and work with people I can really learn from. In five years, I would like to be an industry expert that others can turn to for ideas, help, and strategies. I have had great mentors and managers in the past, and I would love to be able to offer similar advice and possibly take on a leadership role.

7. Why do you want to leave your current company?

 

Do you always quit your job just because you don't get along with your superiors? 

The employer is looking for someone who enjoys their job and wants to grow. It’s no secret that a committed employee will perform much better than one for whom money is the only motivation. 

When answering, say that you need a promotion and your previous company, despite a great atmosphere, cannot offer you one at the moment. You can also say that you’d like to have more responsibilities in a particular area. Never complain about your former employers. Focus only on the positives!

RIGHT ANSWER

I am not necessarily looking for a new position, but when a company like yours puts on the market a job that perfectly matches my skills and experience, it’s not possible to ignore it. And after 4 years in the company I currently work for, I have acquired the skills necessary to take a step forward in my career. 

8. How did you hear about this position?

 

This is probably the easiest question you will ever have to answer. If you found out about the job opportunity through a friend or business contact, make sure to mention that person's name and then say why the idea of ​​joining the team makes you so excited. If you discovered the job ad online, make sure to tell them why this particular position caught your attention.

RIGHT ANSWER

I found the job posting on Indeed. The fact that you are looking for a person with competences like mine caught my eye, so I researched the company website, read more about you, and decided that this is a place where I can grow. I really believe that my skills can contribute to developing valuable projects and achieving great results.

9. What can you offer us that someone else cannot?

 

Among the trick questions in a job interview, there is the famous "Why should we hire you?" that many candidates dread. Your job here is to come up with an answer that covers three things: 

 

  • That you can not only do the job, but you can get great results
  • That you will really fit into the team and the culture
  • That you will be a better hire than any other candidate

 

So list the reasons, skills, or personality traits that set you apart from other job seekers. 

 

10. Are you willing to relocate?

 

Honesty is always the best policy, but when it comes to this question—it’s essential. If moving is out of the question for you for certain reasons, then expressly communicate this. If, for example, a comfortable flexibility will be possible, make sure to make it known. 

RIGHT ANSWER

As my family and I only recently moved here, relocating is currently out of the question for me. I could possibly revisit this idea in a few years, when the children are out of the house.

11. How quickly would you be able to start if offered this job?

 

Most employers simply ask this question to see if your timeline aligns with theirs. So there will never be one perfect answer to this question. But whatever your case is, it should be as polished as your other answers. Here’s an example of what you could say:

RIGHT ANSWER

Under the terms of the contract at my previous company, I’m obligated to give a month’s notice. Then I’m ready to get started the next working day. When are you hoping to have the team in place?

12. Are you willing to travel? 

 

If a job involves travel, you will likely hear interview questions such as: "Are you willing to travel?", "How much are you willing to travel?", etc. If they ask an open-ended question about your willingness to travel, you should indicate the percentage of time you can expect to be somewhere else.

RIGHT ANSWER

I am prepared to travel up to 40% of the time. This is what I did in my last job, and I know I'm comfortable with that amount.

13. What are your salary expectations?

 

The key to determining your financial expectations is knowing the current market. So research the average wages in your industry. You need to know exactly what the situation is in similar positions in your city, and always try to aim a few percent higher than what you are satisfied with. But be careful. Say whether the amount you’re giving them is a gross or net and a monthly or annual salary, so as not to create a misunderstanding.

RIGHT ANSWER

Given the responsibilities of the position and the number of people I will have to supervise, XX dollars seems to be a suitable salary. It’s a very interesting opportunity and I strongly believe that I am the best person for the job.

14. What motivates you in a job?

 

Recruiters like to talk to people worth investing in. Looking for the perfect employee who is a strong fit for the position and the company can be a costly and time-consuming process—so hiring someone new has to pay off. That’s why it’s very important to emphasize your desire for professional growth. 

Show that you can do your job with satisfaction and enthusiasm. You can mention that you welcome challenging tasks and situations. Your motivation can also be success and recognition... Whatever you choose, make sure it is consistent with the rest of your statement.

RIGHT ANSWER

The results I’m able to achieve motivate me the most. I like it when I have a specific goal to achieve and enough time to build a strong strategy for it. For example, in my last job, our annual goals were very ambitious, but along with my manager and the rest of the team, I developed a monthly strategy that would help us achieve the results we wanted by the end of the year. We made it!

15. Can you describe your ideal manager?

 

The interviewer is looking to find out whether you prefer a hands-on manager or someone who gives you autonomy and allows you to do your job with minimal supervision. This question will help them to judge your fit on a cultural level. 

RIGHT ANSWER

I prefer a more laid back management style, but I've also worked for supervisors who used to check in often, so I'm okay with that as well. I try to adapt to the style of the organization and management of the company for which I work.

Here are some other common phone interview questions that you might get asked:

 

  1. Are there specific benefits that are important to you?
  2. What do you know about our products or services?
  3. Do you use our products or services?
  4. What did you enjoy least in your last job?
  5. Which of your accomplishments are you proudest of, and why?

 

And that’s that when it comes to phone interview questions. 

 

Now all you have to do is prepare for the interview and answer the questions honestly.

Expert Hint: Harvard experts advise to follow up after the interview to leave a lasting impression.

Key Points

 

Here’s a recap of phone interview questions and answers:

 

  • Phone interview questions are designed to screen applicants and save time.
  • Prepare for phone questions in advance.
  • Look at the job posting and find the key requirements. Next, find achievements in your past that match and talk about them when giving your answers.
  • Send a “Thank You” email to the interviewer.

 

Thanks for reading! Confused about something we covered in this article? Got some common phone interview questions of your own to share? Let us know in the comments, we're ready to chat! 

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Aleksandra Makal
Aleksandra Makal
Aleksandra is a career expert with a solid professional background in various industries. At ResumeLab, she shares her knowledge, insights and expertise with all applicants looking to make a career move with a perfect resume and cover letter that guarantee recognition and success.

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