How to Answer Common Phone Interview Questions

Be ready to answer typical phone interview questions. The phone call may come at any time, particularly if you have sent out a number of resumes. The key is to be be prepared, ready and confident to handle telephone interviews whenever they come.

This type of interview is used to select applicants for face-to-face interviews. Take these straightforward steps to get to the next level of the interview process.

How do you answer phone interview questions?

Follow these 6 simple steps to answer typical phone job interview questions with confidence.

1. Conduct company research before your telephone interview

For every job opening you respond to, go to the company's website and learn what you can about the organization, the position and the industry. Take notes to use during your phone interview.

Preparing for a job interview shows you how to conduct good background research and how best to use this information in preparing for your phone interview questions.

2. Know what the company is looking for in a candidate

Review the job description.

  • If you don't have adequate information look up similar job postings on the internet or in the paper.
  • Think about the skills and abilities required for the job. Match up your skills with what they are looking for.
  • Sample job descriptions will give you a full picture of the duties, responsibilities and competencies required for the position.

3. Prepare for common telephone interview questions

There are usually two main purposes to this interview - to evaluate whether the candidate is qualified to do the job and to address any areas of concern in the resume.

You will be asked phone interview questions that explore your ability to perform the job. Prepare your interview answers carefully. View common phone interview questions with sample interview answers including:

Tell me about yourself.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Why should we hire you?

Why do you want to work for this company?

Make some notes of how to answer these phone interview questions. The aim is not to memorize them but to feel comfortable with your interview answers.

Top 10 interview questions

4. Prepare for phone behavioral interview questions

You may be asked some behavioral interview questions. Be prepared with good examples of how you demonstrated the skills required in this position in your previous jobs.

For example if the position requires good customer service skills, prepare an example of when you went the extra mile for a customer, jot down some notes to keep in your preparation portfolio.

5. Prepare for tricky interview questions

Review your resume and highlight any areas that the interviewer is likely to want to address such as gaps in employment and reasons for leaving.

Think about your interview answers to these difficult questions and make some notes to use in your phone interview.

6. Prepare telephone interview questions to ask the interviewer

The interviewer is likely to ask "Do you have any questions for me?"

4 phone interview questions to ask

Be prepared with a couple of insightful questions to ask the interviewer. This useful list of interview questions to ask can help you with this. The interviewer should be convinced of your interest in the company and position.

How do you ace a phone interview?

Preparation is key to your success.

1. Organize your preparation and interview documents

  • Put all the relevant documents into a portfolio or folder that you can easily access at a minute's notice
  • Include copies of the job posting, any information you have on the company and position, a copy of your resume and references
  • Clip together the information for each position and keep them separate so that you don't get muddled up and refer to the wrong information during the phone interview
  • Mark each set of documents clearly with the name of the position and company they refer to
  • Know the format and interview process to expect in the phone interview

What happens during a phone interview?

2. Practice answering telephone interview questions

  • This is essential for the phone job interview. Record your answers.
  • The key to success is the positive message your voice and words project
  • You can also have someone call you and listen to your responses. Ask for feedback on how you come across on the phone
  • Adapt the mock job interview to practice for this

3. Prepare your household for the call

  • Make sure that everyone in the household is aware that you are expecting an important interview call
  • Brief them to answer the call in a polite manner. Prepare them to take an accurate message if needed
  • Emphasize the importance of the call

4. Check your voice mail message/answering machine message

This should sound professional and positive. Decide what is an appropriate message for a prospective employer to hear.

Phone interview tips and techniques

Find more excellent phone interview tips to help you.

Communication tips for job interviews

Online, Zoom and Skype interview questions and answers

A large number of interviews are conducted online. Find out what to expect from an online interview.

Zoom Interview Tips and Techniques

Online Interview Questions

Skype Interview Tips and Techniques

How to follow up after your phone interview

Always follow up after your phone interview with a well written and polite phone interview thank you email.

Get ready for success in your phone interview


Best Phone Interview Guide


Phone Interview Thank You

Prepare for specific job interview questions

Phone interviews are commonly used as an initial screening tool for customer service positions as these jobs usually involve interaction over the phone. The customer service job interview provides practical help to prepare for this type of interview.

Customer service phone interview questions

Phone job interviews are often used by call center employers. Be ready for common call center interview questions

Internship candidates are often screened first by phone. View interview questions for an internship

Preparing properly for phone interview questions is essential to sounding confident and comfortable during the call.

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