Click here to join our community of experts to get information on job search, salaries and more.

Most Common Phone Interview Questions (and Answers!)

Most Common Phone Interview Questions (and Answers!)

Here is how you can respond to the questions of a telephone interview in such a way that it makes you a priceless catch. The first step is to understand why you are applying for a specific job position. What would be the benefits the company stands to gain by hiring you? What additional value could you bring to the table?

Once you comprehend the answer to these questions and lay it out in a distinctive fashion, you hold the key to winning the interviewer during a phone interview. This article will go over the responses to common phone interview questions along with examples. 

Interview Questions and Answers

1. Tell me about your background.

Employers and recruiters are likely to begin a phone interview by asking you about your experience. This is an easy method to let them know more about who you are. It is important to use this opportunity to talk about your current knowledge, what you are occupied with, and what makes you skilled. Although you could include a few personal information that lets the prospective employer know how you manage an active, balanced work-life, you should focus more on your professional credentials and achievements.

Suggested Answer: "As someone with an extensive education background, I'm well-equipped to guide students throughout their college years. My passion for education has made me confident about my abilities to serve as an Academic Advisor for River Tech. At present, I am the Academic Advisor for Coral Springs University, where I serve a group of 3,000 students. I will be directly advising 1000 students each year. My job includes preparing the course schedules for each student each semester, responding to concerns of students, and working with the students with me to talk about the change of majors, program evaluations and other concerns regarding grades. Prior to that, I was studying the field of education in the department of education at Hawaii Western University. My bachelor's degree in secondary education with a psychology minor gave me the skills to effectively advise students. In my entire career, I've set a goal of being an Academic Advisor that I would like to have had as an undergraduate student. I'm ready to do whatever it takes to make sure that my students reach the heights of success. That's why I'm excited to talk with you about the job for River Tech."

2. Why are you applying for this job?

Another frequently asked question - "Why are you applying for this job?" or "What is it about this job that appeals to you?" - tells employers whether or not you're committed and have a genuine motivation to apply for the position. For this you should refer to the information on the official job description, stating as genuinely as possible what prompted you to apply. Refer to the duties mentioned in the job description, specifics regarding the company or related to the job that is aligned with your goals for the future.

Suggested Answer: "I've been working for several years to develop my skills within your industry. I believe I have the experience, knowledge, and credentials you're seeking as well as the unique perspective of an entirely different field. I am enthusiastic about working within the realm of environmental protection and believe it's the right time to take action to improve my position. I believe that your company is the perfect spot for me to make that change."

3. Tell me about your knowledge of the job.

Employers might inquire about this to know what they have to provide you to understand the fundamentals of the job you are applying for. They might also be able to tell whether you've actually taken the time to go through the description of your position and done your research before attending the interview. In order to answer the question, you must research the company's site, their company page as well as their most recent press releases and news articles. Pick a few important things in your study that you feel align with the business. You could, for instance, be motivated by their mission and their products, or delighted by their progress within the field.

Suggested Answer: "From the job description I have come to understand that you're looking for an accounting professional to support the department's finance activities mostly related to Accounts Payable and Procurement. I also realize that you need HIPAA certification, and I'm certified. It appears that many of the tasks you perform daily include the creation of journals for vendors, processing requests for checks, wire transfers, and invoices for payment. Could you provide me with more information about the reason this job is available and what the team has?"

4. What exactly do you search for in job opportunities?

Employers could ask this in your telephone interview to determine whether you have any concerns concerning your current employment status. If you're currently employed but looking for new opportunities, you should clearly state the reason for the job change. Your answer should be focused on your career and its potential for growth, and not on personal desires or comforts such as less commutation or better pay. For instance, you may be in search of a new job since there aren't many opportunities to progress within your current position. If you've been fired, you should explain why in a positive manner, concluding that you as well as your employer have decided it was best to seek out a more suitable job. You must discuss the ways you've utilized the time to enhance your abilities and work habits.

Suggested Answer: "I'm looking for opportunities to get started as an assistant to a project coordinator. Being an Executive Assistant has provided me with a wealth of experience in controlling and organizing timetables. I'm now ready to take the next step in my professional career. I am particularly suitable for this job since I've been in the retail sector in my previous two administrative positions. I'm ready to start my project management career and am looking forward to joining your organization."

5. What are you passionate about?

Discovering what you're interested in or what drives you can help employers determine whether you're an ideal candidate for the job. If you're enthusiastic about helping others for instance, and you're applying for a solo job that has fewer interactions with other people, the job might not be the best choice for you. To answer this question, consider general ways that you feel inspired both at work and outside the workplace. Mention specifically how your passions could be in line with your job.

Suggested Answer: "I'm driven every day by the potential to create amazing, unique experiences for people across the globe. There's so much useful and valuable information available on the internet. Making it accessible in a manner that is simple for people to access gives me the feeling that I'm creating a positive impact for the users to gain access to everything that can help them realize their full potential even if it’s in the smallest way possible."

6. Test or scenario question.

In a telephone interview, you may be asked to complete an exercise or respond to a situation of some kind. They would want to know something specific in the answer, such as your thought process, the ability to think in a creative manner or even how you think under pressure. Although it can be awkward to not answer over the phone, it's acceptable to request some time to consider your answer.

At this moment, take a few moments to contemplate the steps you'd do to respond to the questions. Make sure you don't take more than 30 seconds to answer. Try asking questions in order to comprehend what they're trying to find. Note down the question and make sure that you have addressed every aspect.

Suggested Answer: The employer states that they'd like to come up with suggestions for advertising a local event with a limited budget, and also which businesses they can partner with. In this case, you could explain that grassroots marketing can be cost-effective and efficient with local events. It is recommended to invest in strategic campaigns to spread the word through bold, teaser-style social media campaigns. You can provide examples of local companies that share similar goals or sectors.


7. Are you attending interviews with other firms?

There is nothing wrong with discussing where you stand on the hiring journey with other companies. This will help recruiters determine how fast they must take you through the hiring process. If you're already in the process of applying for different positions, you could be perceived as an enticing candidate that must not be lost at any cost. Be open and honest about your current situation but don't feel pressured to disclose details.

Suggested Answer: "While I feel this position is the most appropriate to what I'm seeking I am currently in talks with three other potential employers."

8. When can you start, if you are hired?

This is essential information that employers require prior to interviewing you. They clearly would want to know when you will be able to take on an entirely new position. They might want a position to be filled quickly, so if you can’t start within a month or two, the recruiters will begin to search for other equally qualified candidates.

Check the details of your current position in order to determine when you can take a leave of absence after basic handing-over procedures are done. If you're unemployed then enthusiastically reply: "I’m ready to join as soon as you can."

Suggested Answer: "As soon as I get an offer, I would be able to begin two weeks later just so I have enough time to hand over my responsibilities without leaving my team members in the dark."

9. What management style do you prefer?

Employers may inquire about your preferred management style to determine if you would be a good fit with the person who will be supervising you. For instance, if you prefer working with a dependable, cooperative supervisor who creates a tranquil atmosphere for creativity, then you would possibly not get along well with a fast-paced, aggressive manager with a demanding management style.

Suggested Answer: "While I'm quite adaptable in working with various personality types, I've noticed that the type of management style that I excel in is one that allows me to be innovative and trusted with responsibilities. While I do not like being micromanaged, I do like having a one-on-one conversation regularly to discuss ideas for tasks I'm working on and what I could do to be better in my job."

Planning to leave your job? You could benefit from professional guidance as you pave every step of the way in your job search. Sign up with HiCounselor’s career accelerator program. HiCounselor combines technology and professional mentorship from top tech companies to help you get more interviews and land your dream job faster. We work on the Income Share Agreement where you'll pay us ONLY if you land a job.

HiCounselor has forged technical advances to transform the hiring landscape for job seekers and recruiters alike. Our career accelerator program provides job seekers with coaching and mentorship from industry leaders employed at FAANG companies while recruiters ally with HiCounselor to empower their hiring strategy and hone in on the best candidates. Learn more about HiCounselor here and reach out to us on LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.