20+ Phone Interview Questions & Best Sample Answers (+ Tips) 
A phone interview is sometimes referred to as a screening interview or prescreen interview. For employers and job candidates, this provides a more reasonable and readily accessible format for introducing the job candidate to the job opportunity. It saves the employer time and the job applicant time as it uses this session to deduce whether or not the candidate is a good fit for the job early on. It is considered a fairly normal part of the interview process and job search process. Passing a telephone interview usually means an invite to an in person interview.
A telephone interview lasts roughly 15 minutes to 30 minutes. The interview is conducted by either a hiring manager or employee who is part of the team you’ve applied to be part of. The interviewer will spend a majority of the time introducing you to the hiring process and some of the company policies.
The intention of the interview is to ensure that you’re a qualified candidate for the job, are a good fit for the role, and ensure that you don’t have any questions about the job. You should expect to be asked an interview question on your work history, details in your cover letter, and resume.
It’s not uncommon for a phone screen to be conducted as a Skype interview or Zoom interview, meaning the prospective employer or phone interviewer is speaking to you over a video chat. As a job seeker, you’ll know you’re part of a phone screening interview or screening interview as the recruiter, hiring manager, or interviewer will indicate this to you before you begin.
Phone Interview Tips for Job Seekers:
- Study each common interview question asked by phone and prepare an answer tailored to the job title and your potential employer.
- Be prepared to answer a behavioral interview question or two. A behavioral question starts with “Tell me about a time…”
- Treat your phone interview as though it is any other type of job interview.
- Prepare in advance by performing a mock interview with a friend or colleague.
- Be sure you’re in a place with good cell phone reception or internet connection.
- Be sure you’re in a quiet place with little interruptions.
- Have your salary expectations in mind if the hiring manager asks.
- Screening questions should have answers that last only 90-seconds.
- Learn about the person who is performing the phone screen interview in advance so you can start the phone call with ice breakers.
- If you're very passionate about the job, perform an informational interview first. This is where you the job seeker can get career advice from someone within the company. They can provide helpful resources on what the interviewer or hiring manager is looking for in an ideal candidate.
Phone Interview Questions & Answers
Below are common phone interview questions (telephone interview questions) and answers. Before studying the questions below, be sure you tailor and customize each phone interview question to answer your own work experience and the job title you’re applying for.
Why are you leaving your current position?
Answer: I love working with my current employer, though I’ve reached a point where there isn’t any more upward mobility within the company. I’m looking to join a company where there’s more upward mobility.
What are your salary expectations?
Answer: I’ve done some early research on PayScale and it appears the average salary range for this role is between $80,000 per year and $95,000 per year. Because of this, my salary expectation would be somewhere in that range unless otherwise noted.
What were your previous job responsibilities?
Answer: I was responsible for handling all of the creative deliverables. This included graphic design, UI design, and marketing or brand design. I worked cross-functionally between multiple departments to deliver on their needs.
What does a typical work week look like for you?
Answer: At the beginning of the week I assess the work at hand, plan out my week, and communicate with managers on their expectations. Then toward the middle of the week, I begin execution. And at the end of the week, I assess the work, speak with managers about their needs that are filled or unfilled and plan for the following week.
Why should we hire you?
Answer: It appears that the role is looking for someone who has a long history of driving success in a sales role. Throughout my sales career, I’ve been able to increase net revenues by more than 23% across all of my positions.
How do you evaluate success?
Answer: It depends on the scenario. For a team assessment, it could be the morale of the department. For quantitative assessments, it could be raw facts and figures.
How could you have improved your career progress?
Answer: I may have made more mistakes earlier on and learned from those mistakes. Taking risks early on could have exposed me to more opportunities.
How would your coworkers describe you?
Answer: They would describe me as an active listener and someone who cares about the company.
What qualities do you look for in a manager or boss?
Answer: I look for an empathetic listener who facilitates the team's needs.
What would your managers say about your work performance?
Answer: They would say that I care heavily about the performance of both our team, department, and myself. That I’m not afraid of going the extra mile to make that happen.
How would you describe yourself?
Answer: In three words I would describe myself as adaptable, empathetic, and creative.
Tell me about your career.
Answer: I have always been in positions where I am exposed to multiple departments. This has made my career something special. I am able to play a cross-functional role while still being an independent contributor. You’ll see my in my resume multiple times that this has happened and the achievements I’ve been able to make in those conditions.
What makes you qualified for this role?
Answer: I’ve been able to deliver on sales goals more than 80% of the time for my employers. And this seems like something that is highly valued for this role.
What would you try to accomplish in your first 30-days being employed?
Answer: In the first 30-days of my employment I would be trying to learn as much as I can. I have found that in previous positions, I was still learning into my 12th month of the role. The first 30-days matter the most in terms of trying to grasp as much as I can.
When were you most satisfied with your current job or current role?
Answer: Being able to have the autonomy to be able to execute. And being measured by performance goals.
Where do you see yourself in the next year?
Answer: I see myself being able to be exposed to new experiences with this job and allow that to transform me as a professional. Beyond that, I’m uncertain.
What techniques or tools do you use to stay on top of your work?
Answer: I try to organize my own week using tools like iA writer, spreadsheets, and to-do lists.
How would you describe your communication style?
Answer: An active listener who communicates for others, not myself.
What is your work style?
Answer: The customer is the most important person in this company. My work style is dictated by their needs. Whether it’s trying to be the most creative as possible. Or trying to be as empathetic as possible. I’m adaptable in this nature in order to facilitate the customer needs.
What are you going to do if you don’t get this job?
Answer: It would be very unfortunate, but I would be looking for another job opportunity that exposes me to the same departmental learning opportunities that this job would.
What makes you want to work at this company?
Answer: Simply put, you are challenging a large industry that has existed in America for a long time. And that is very appealing to me. I love the idea that you nurture creativity, collaboration, equality, and have an open work environment and culture.
If you need more, see the full list of interview questions and answers.
Questions to Ask the Interviewer in the Phone Interview
Below are questions you should ask the interviewer about the role during your phone interview. When thinking of a specific question to ask the person interviewing you, be sure it’s relevant to the conversation you both have had. Avoid a question that may seem redundant to something the interviewer already spoke about.
- How soon are you looking to place someone for this role?
- What other assets can I provide you with to make a proper assessment about me?
- Are there any questions that you had for me?
- What is the most challenging part of this job?
- Are training opportunities provided for new hires?
- What does a normal work week look like for this role?
- How would you describe the company culture?
- Can I provide you with my references?
- What is the next step in the interview process?
- What soft skills do you feel are required for this role?
- Can you provide me with a specific example of when the previous person in this role succeeded?
Learn about more questions to ask the interviewer.
Common questions asked by job seekers.
What kinds of questions are asked in a phone interview?
Questions related to your work experience as well as behavioral interview questions, which help the hiring manager predict your future performance on the job. You should be prepared to share at least one to three stories about challenges you faced at work and how you overcame them.
How do you ace a phone interview?
Having great chemistry with the interviewer can help. Using ice breaker questions to start the conversation can set the mood of the interview into a positive place. This is a conversation starter, something like a common interest or connection you and the interviewer share.
Is a phone interview a good sign?
A phone interview is a great sign. It means that your cover letter and resume have passed through the Applicant Tracking System, and that a manager read your job application assets. It is the first step toward having an in person interview which is closer to receiving a job offer.
How long should a phone interview last?
A phone interview should last at least 20 minutes. And go no more than 30 minutes. If your interview is shorter than 20 minutes, this could be an indicator that the interviewer felt you were not a good fit for the position.
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