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You applied for the job, and now you’re getting ready for step one, answering phone interview questions. When preparing for the interview, expect the potential employer to ask a series of questions over the phone to learn more about your work experience and determine if you would be a good fit for their company. After reading this article, you will be more than prepared to answer any phone interview questions so that you can land the job.

Phone Interview FAQ

1. What Is the Purpose of a Phone Interview?

Phone interviews are usually used to screen candidates to narrow down a select few to do an in-person interview. If the job is in a different town that you are moving to, often they will accommodate you by conducting a phone interview.

2. What Can You Expect from Phone Interview Questions?

They will most likely ask questions about your education, past work experience, and discuss the details of the job you’re interviewing for. Depending on the company, they may ask more challenging questions than others. After reading this list you will be prepared with all the questions and answers you can expect from your phone interview.

3. What Are Some Phone Interview Tips for Preparing Beforehand?

Before the call, make sure you have all of the details straight such as who you will be talking to, the time of the interview, and if they will be the one calling you. Sit in a quiet, comfortable space that will have minimal noises or distractions. Keep your resume, questions and answers, and questions you want to ask the interviewer on hand in case you need to refer to them.

How We Reviewed

We took a look at all of the common phone interview questions that employers ask potential employees. To narrow down the list, we took into consideration the most popular phone interview questions asked, which phone interview questions were the most challenging to answer, and the answers others seem to struggle with the most. After going through this list, you will be prepared to answer just about any phone interview questions they throw at you with ease.

What We Reviewed

  • Phone Interview Queries about the New Job and Company
  • Phone Interview Questions About Your Background
  • Phone Interview Queries about You
  • Phone Interview Questions About Your Career Goals and Desired Work Environment

Phone Interview Queries about the New Job and Company

1. What Interests You About This Job?

When an interviewer asks this question, they are trying to determine if you have a genuine interest in the company as well as how much you know about the role of the position. Rather than saying something personal, such as salary, answer with a part of the role you are particularly excited about.

2. Why Do You Want This Job?

Similarly to the first question, the interviewer is trying to determine if you know about the company and the position. Be sure to do your research on the company and position before the interview, get specific on why you think you’re a good fit, and emphasize what you can contribute to the company.

3. What Applicable Attributes/Experience Do You Have?

Interviewers will ask this question to determine how your past work experience has prepared you for the position. Whether or not you have had the exact same position before, take a look at the experience you have gained from your past job, acknowledge what you learned from it, and say how it benefits the company you are applying for.

4. Are You Overqualified for This Job?

If an employer asks you this, they want to see if you truly want this job or if you’ll leave once you find something better. Give them peace of mind by saying “Thank you” or “I’m flattered” and then something along the lines of, “I wouldn’t say I’m over-qualified, but fully qualified for this position and would love the opportunity to work for your company.”

5. What Can You Do for This Company?

This is your chance to stand out amongst the crowd and show how you would be a valuable asset to the team. Name an accomplishment you’re proud of and tie it to the company’s mission statement if possible.

6. What Do You Know About This Company?

When asked this, they are trying to determine how much research you have done on the company, if any. Make sure that you look over their website, learn their mission, and read their “about” page. If something sticks out to you, keep it locked in your brain for later in case this question comes up.

7. Why Do You Want to Work Here?

Saying that the job sounds great isn’t going to cut it with this question, and it is one of the most asked phone interview questions. This is another chance for you to share what you have found when researching the company. Look at their website and tie your mission to theirs to show that you would be a valuable asset.

8. What Challenges Are You Looking for in a Position?

This question is often asked to determine if you like to be challenged or are willing and able to handle difficult tasks should they come up. If you got a certification, mention that you are looking forward to sharpening those skills. Express that you are motivated by challenges and use a past example if possible.

9. What Can You Contribute to This Company?

The potential employer wants to determine how you can help the company, and what you will accomplish should they hire you. Emphasize what you have accomplished, use data on contributions you’ve made before if possible, and connect your answer to the company’s goals or mission statement.

10. Are You Willing to Travel?

If you are applying to a job that requires some regular traveling, you should be expecting to hear this question. Know the travel expectations beforehand and be honest with your answer. If you have any travel limitations, be sure to mention them.

Phone Interview Queries about the New Job and Company

At the end of the interview, it will be your turn to ask questions about the job and company. Make sure that you have a couple of questions you’re prepared to ask beforehand. Ask questions that are related to the company culture, specific responsibilities you’re curious about, and what they think the best part of working for their company is.

Phone Interview Questions About Your Background

11. Work History Questions: Name of Company, Job Title, and Job

During the interview, you should be expected to be questioned about your previous work history. In order to be prepared to answer these questions, keep your resume handy.

12. Tell Us About Your Previous Employment

Sometimes the interviewer will ask for your previous work addresses, contact information, and names of supervisors. Have these handy so that you can easily share the information.

13. What Were Your Starting and Final Levels of Compensation?

This question is pretty self-explanatory, but if asked about your starting and final levels of compensation at your last job, be honest!

14. What Were Your Responsibilities?

When answering this question, think about how you can connect your previous job responsibilities to the description of the job you are applying for. Give this information in a positive light, and share about achievements or improvements you’ve made.

15. What Major Challenges and Problems Did You Face? How Did You Handle Them?

Some employers are looking for an answer that implies you took a methodical approach, and some may like for you to have dived right in and fixed the problem with creativity rather than strategy. Think of a challenge you’ve overcome that had a positive outcome. Explain the actions you took and the thought process you used along the way. Emphasize what the outcome was and all that you learned from it.

16. Why Are You Leaving Your Job?

When answering this question, stay away from badmouthing your last job or sharing anything negative about the position. Some answers might be that you were looking for more room for growth, your last job wasn’t challenging you enough or that you wanted to move in a different direction.

17. What Are Your Salary Expectations?

Before the interview, make sure to do research on what the pay rate is for your level of expertise and the position you are applying for. Rather than answering when asked, respond by saying that you are flexible depending on the compensation package. Tell the interviewer that you would like to discuss more details about the job responsibilities before discussing salary.

Phone Interview Queries about You

18. Tell Me About Yourself

When asked this, the interview is looking to break the ice. Rather than getting too personal, share about your favorite hobbies and what you enjoy doing in your free time.

19. What Are You Looking for in Your Next Job? What Is Important to You?

The interviewer will want to know if your goals line up with the company’s goals. Consider how your personal goals relate to the company’s goals and be honest with your answer.

20. What Is Your Greatest Weakness?

Be careful when answering this question as you don’t want to imply that you are not skilled enough for the job but you also don’t want to come across arrogant. Answer by mentioning a skill that isn’t relevant to the current position or by mentioning a skill that you have improved upon.

21. What Is Your Greatest Strength?

When asked your greatest strength, share skills or experiences that are related to the potential job.

22. Describe a Typical Work Week

Your interviewer wants to see if you are ready to take on the tasks you will have at your new job. Make a list of your daily tasks that you do at your current/previous job and match them to the one you are applying for.

23. How Would You Describe the Pace at Which You Work?

Faster isn’t always better as this may seem like you rush through work carelessly. Explain your work method while emphasizing that you work steadily and aim for quality.

24. How Do You Handle Stress and Pressure?

Describe a time where you were given a difficult task and rose to the occasion rather than discussing stress due to a mistake you made such as procrastinating.

25. What Motivates You?

Your potential employer wants to know what drives you to succeed. What made you look forward to going to work at your last job? Which days did you come home smiling and telling stories about the amazing day you had? Think about these questions when answering what motivates you.

Phone Interview Questions About Your Career Goals and Desired Work Environment

Begin by sharing your short-term goals and then expand to your long-term career goals. Explain the actions you’ll need to take and keep the employer in mind. Look around at the company website to get an idea of what the work environment is like and connect to that.

26. How Do You Evaluate Success?

Your employer wants to get an idea of your goals, work ethic, and what motivates you. Share specific examples of your successes and achievements and stray away from making it too personal. Always keep the company in mind.

27. What Do You Do Well?

When questioned about your abilities, the employer wants to be sure that you have a good work ethic and are skilled for the position. Use examples to prove why you’re the perfect fit.

Honesty is the best quality when being asked questions about yourself. Your interviewer will be able to see if you are being insincere. Be honest while also keeping the potential employer in mind.

The Verdict

Phone interviews are typically shorter than an in-person interview, but they can be a little nerve-wracking if you aren’t sure how to answer the questions that will be asked. Use this article to brainstorm answers to the potential phone interview questions and do a practice run answering them. During the phone interview, make sure, to be honest, keep your employer and the company’s mission in mind, and emphasize your skills and qualifications.

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