Top Phone Interview Questions and How to Prepare for Them

Recruiters are increasingly using phone interviews to whittle down large numbers of job applicants. They tend to be short and punchy, so you need to make all your answers count! Here are some classic phone interview questions, along with some tips on preparing for the interview. Tell me about yourself Forget the personal side of…

Recruiters are increasingly using phone interviews to whittle down large numbers of job applicants. They tend to be short and punchy, so you need to make all your answers count! Here are some classic phone interview questions, along with some tips on preparing for the interview.

Tell me about yourself

Forget the personal side of your life. Highlights of education, job experience and skills are what they’re after, so address the requirements of the job description.

Why do you want this job?

Talk about how your specific skills and experience make you a great fit for the role and be sure you’ve researched the company culture and job specifics beforehand.

What can you bring to this job?

If you’ve already talked about skills and experience, mention key aspects of your personality which would enhance this particular role. They could be problem-solving ability, conflict resolution, creative thinking or leadership flair. Give an instance where you’ve used one or more of these traits to solve a workplace problem.

What were the best things about your previous job?

This is a bit of a trick question. The interviewer wants to know if you disliked any aspects of the new job in your previous workplace. Try and focus on crossover skills which will stand you in good stead for the new role, talking about how you’ve enjoyed gaining expertise in these areas.

Why do you want to leave your current position?

You don’t have to get defensive here, the recruiter just wants to know what your motives are. Present a positive face with something like: “While I’ve enjoyed my experience with this company, I feel it’s time for a more challenging role where I can use the full range of my skills/develop new skills.”

What do you want to be doing in five years’ time?

Don’t give an unrealistic or over-ambitious answer. Talk about how you want to go on developing your skills, gaining experience in new aspects of the job and making a meaningful contribution to the company.

Preparing for the phone interview

To give your best in a phone interview, you need to do a little preparation.

  • Make sure the room is quiet and you are sitting in a comfortable position.
  • Have a notepad and pen handy to make notes during the interview. There may be a couple of questions you want to ask the recruiter at the end.
  • Give yourself 10 or 15 minutes before the interview to run through details of the company and job requirements.
  • Communicate clearly and don’t interrupt the interviewer.
  • Smile as you speak. While the interviewer can’t hear you, it will inject positivity and warmth into your voice.

If you’re looking for a new challenge, please contact one of our specialist consultants who can also help you prepare for any upcoming job interviews.