Phone Interview Questions: What to Expect

Well done, recent college graduates! You've put in a lot of hard work to get your degree, and now you're getting ready to start your career. In the job search, one important step is the phone interview. These interviews are often the first hurdle to cross on your way to landing your ideal job. 

Even though they may seem less scary than in-person interviews, they are just as important in figuring out if you're a good fit for a job. In this blog, we'll explain what you can expect during a phone interview and give you some useful tips to help you get ready and do well.

What is a phone screen interview?

A phone screen interview is when a person from the company talks to you on the phone to see if you could be a good fit for a job. They ask you questions to check if you have the right qualifications and if you're interested in the job. Your answers help them decide if they should invite you for a face-to-face or virtual interview. These phone interviews have become even more important because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a phone screen interview, they will ask you about yourself, your experience related to the job you want, and why you want that job. They might also ask why you're looking for new job opportunities. You should be ready to ask them questions too, like ones about the job, the interview process, or the company.

How to get ready for a phone interview?

Getting ready for a phone interview can help you feel less nervous. Here are some ways to prepare and start the interview with confidence:

Learn about the company.

If you don't know much about the company, do some research. Read the latest news about them and check if they have a mission statement. You can also look at websites where people talk about their jobs to learn more about the company's culture. Visit their website and social media pages to get familiar with what they do. You can also find the person who might interview you on LinkedIn. If you're not sure how to say people's names, you can search online to find out.

Practice your answers by talking out loud.

Now that you have an idea of what questions they might ask, you can practice answering them by speaking out loud. Write down your answers and practice saying them. This will help you see if you need to change some of your answers or if you forgot to mention something important in your introduction. When you practice, speak slowly and clearly so the interviewer can understand you. It's also a good idea to record yourself talking, so you can hear how you sound and make sure you're easy to understand. You can ask a friend or a family member to pretend to be the interviewer and do a practice interview with you.

Get your space ready.

Before the interview, make sure your phone is fully charged, and you have a good signal. Find a quiet place where you won't be bothered by noise or distractions during the interview. Let anyone near your workspace know that you'll be in an interview, and they should not interrupt you.

Common Phone Interview Questions

  • Tell Me About Yourself: This is a classic opening question. It's an opportunity to provide a brief overview of your background, education, and key achievements. Keep it concise and relevant to the job you're applying for.
  • Why Are You Interested in This Role/Company: Employers want to see if you've done your homework. Be prepared to discuss what drew you to this particular role and how it aligns with your career goals.
  • What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses: Highlight your strengths and provide examples of how they've benefited your previous employers. For weaknesses, focus on areas where you've made improvements or are actively working on.
  • Tell Me About a Challenging Situation at Work and How You Handled It: Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your response. This question evaluates your problem-solving skills and your ability to handle adversity.
  • Why Did You Choose Your Major: If your major is relevant to the job, be prepared to explain how your academic background has prepared you for the role.
  • What Are Your Short-Term and Long-Term Career Goals: This question helps employers determine if the job aligns with your aspirations and if you plan to stay with the company for a reasonable amount of time.
  • Why Did You Leave Your Previous Job/Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job: Be honest but diplomatic. Avoid speaking negatively about previous employers or colleagues.
  • What Do You Know About Our Company: Research the company before the interview and demonstrate your knowledge by mentioning key facts and recent developments.
  • How Do You Stay Current with Industry Trends: Employers want to know that you're proactive in your field and committed to ongoing learning.
  • Do You Have Any Questions for Us: Always have a few questions ready to ask the interviewer. This shows your genuine interest in the role and the company.

How to Prepare for Phone Interviews

  1. Research the Company: Understand the company's mission, values, products or services, recent news, and any industry trends relevant to the organization. This knowledge will help you answer questions more effectively and show your genuine interest in the company.
  2. Know the Job Description: Thoroughly review the job posting to understand the key responsibilities and qualifications required for the position. Tailor your responses to demonstrate how your skills and experience align with the role.
  3. Practice Your Responses: Rehearse your answers to common interview questions. You can do this alone or with a friend or family member. Focus on being concise and avoiding rambling.
  4. Prepare Questions to Ask: As mentioned earlier, prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer. These questions should demonstrate your interest in the role and your understanding of the company.
  5. Choose Your Location: Find a quiet, comfortable, and well-lit location for the interview. Make sure your phone is fully charged and that you have a strong signal or access to a reliable internet connection if it's a video call.
  6. Have Your Materials Ready: Have a copy of your resume, the job posting, and any notes you've prepared in front of you. This will help you reference key points during the interview.
  7. Dress the Part: Even though you're not meeting in person, dressing professionally can put you in the right mindset. It can also be helpful if the interviewer decides to switch to video during the call.
  8. Mind Your Tone and Speed: Speak clearly and at a moderate pace. Avoid using excessive filler words like "um" and "uh." A calm and composed tone conveys confidence.
  9. Practice Good Phone Etiquette: Avoid interruptions and background noise. Ensure that you're in a distraction-free environment.
  10. Be Positive and Enthusiastic: Express your interest in the role and the company with a positive attitude. Employers want to work with people who are excited about the opportunity.
Share On