20 Most Common Phone Interview Questions with Answer

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Phone Interview Questions

Days when a phone interview would merely mean somebody calling you to ask a few phone interview questions are over. At least, they’re fairly uncommon, unless you’re applying for some minor position.

Nowadays, a phone interview can also involve video conferencing on Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp or any other software that can be installed easily on a smartphone.  

Therefore, it’s important to understand how a phone interview would occur.

How Phone Interviews Are Held?

Usually, the employer will send an email or call you to fix date and time for your telephone interview.

They’ll also inform the type of call it would be: video call, video conferencing, voice call or voice conferencing.  You’ll also be given details about any specific platform they’ll be using for this phone interview.

Here it’s important to remember: a phone interview needn’t necessarily involve only your landline telephone, ordinary feature phone or smartphone. It can also include your tab, laptop or PC.

The term ‘phone interview’ is rather vague. It broadly covers all interviews using voice or voice, video and text chats. Hence, you may need a laptop, PC or tab for such phone interviews.

Just in case you don’t have any of these, I would recommend you contact the employer immediately and notify them about your handicap. Or find a nearest Internet café that offers such facilities.

Significance of Phone Interviews

Since you know that a phone interview won’t be merely a few vague interview questions, it’s better to fully comprehend why it’s important to create that killer impression to bag that job. 

Here’re some important points to remember about phone interview questions:

  • Phone interviews are held for remote jobs, sometimes from foreign countries where the employer has offices.
  • A phone interview is as important as those held at offices and other venues.
  • There could be several other officials hearing or watching you without your knowledge during a phone interview.
  • Keep your Resume or CV in front of you while appearing for a phone interview.
  • Keep certificates and other documents ready because an interviewer may wish to see them during a video call.
  • Never interrupt the interviewer during a phone interview.
  • Remember to talk from a neat and tidy location since the interviewers will observe the background during a video call.
  • Do not appear for a phone interview in your home clothes, especially if it’s a video call.
  • Avoid phone interviews from public locations such as gardens, malls and offices to cut out any background noise.
  • Use a headset or earphones during a phone interview.
  • Always be courteous and maintain proper phone etiquette during such an interview.
  • Make sure there’re no interruptions or disturbances from family members during the phone interview.
  • For video call interviews, ensure your relatives or friends are away and in another room altogether.
  • Don’t be tempted to have a coffee or other beverage or light a cigarette during a phone interview. Avoid food at any cost. These activities are immediately noticeable from your voice and other noise.
  • Switch off all TV and radio or music players at home while appearing for a phone interview.
  • Avoid looking at your relatives or friends if they’re present in the room but outside the camera view during a video call interview.
  • If you experience technical issues during a phone interview, alert the interviewer instantly.

If necessary rehearse a phone interview by asking a relative or friend to make a test call or video call. This helps you iron out any glitches that might affect your phone interview.

And what’re the most common phone interview questions? Here they are, with ways to answer them.

Most Common Phone Interview Questions & Answers

The 20 questions I’m listing below are most common & typical interview questions during a telephone interview. However, an interviewer may use other words to ask these questions.

With some level of alertness and preparation, you can answer them easily and with complete confidence.

1. Tell us briefly about yourself?

Most interviewers generally ask this common question to help you relax before the tougher questions come up. Describe yourself briefly, especially current job, experience and skills and education and mention your full name.

2. How would you describe yourself?

Answer this typical question by mentioning three main qualities that you possess, that are essential for the post you’re applying and the duties it involves. Be realistic since exaggerations about self will prove counterproductive.

3. Why are you applying for this job?

Or he may ask you, why are you interested in this position. Launching career as fresher, career growth or more money? Whatever your response, make sure you’re telling the truth. There’s no point in concealing facts even if termination from your existing job is imminent. Remember, losing a job isn’t an offense, unless you’ve committed a crime or engaged in something that’s harmful to your previous or existing employer.

4. What do you know about this company?

To answer this common phone interview question, you’ll require some research. That’s easy if you’re willing to do some online research. The interviewer doesn’t expect you to know everything about the company. Hence, basic details, products, brands, services and awards they’ve won would be enough.

5. Why makes you think you’re suitable for this position?

Deploy your skills, work experience and educational qualifications to clearly show how these three can benefit the employer, should they hire you. Talk about your successes and achievements at previous or current employer and how they’re being useful. Explain why the new employer needs your expertise and qualifications.

6. What’s your biggest motivation?

Be realistic while answering this phone interview question on phone. Speak openly about what is your greatest motivation for choosing a specific career and wanting to advance further. Highlight how this motivation would help you meet and exceed the prospective employer’s expectations and add value to their operations.

7. What demotivates you?

Never discuss issues such as office politics, irascible colleagues or arrogant bosses as your demotivating factors. Instead, speak about what hardships you encounter at work and cannot be resolved despite your best efforts. Discuss how these hardships without proper solutions tend to demotivate you. This can help the future employer improve their system and fetch you an opportunity to work.

8. Why should we hire you?

Remember, you’re at the interview because there’s something on your Resume or CV that an employer finds attractive or useful. After all, they’re not there for charity or humanitarian purposes.

Therefore, take some time to explain how you can add value to the overall functioning of the company and the low cost of training since you already possess necessary qualifications, experience and skills. Amply exhibit that the cost of hiring you is a fraction of what the company stands to gain.

9. What can you offer our company?

Long-standing loyalty and extra efforts are some qualities that employers look for. To answer this phone interview question, leave your skills and qualifications aside. Instead, speak about your other talents such as leadership skills, love for travel, sharp mind that can quickly learn new things and your easygoing nature as assets that you’ll offer the company.

9. Tell us briefly about your skills?

This is a common question where most jobseekers fumble, flounder or even fail. Understandably, this isn’t quite an easy question to respond. Skills are different from experience. Actually, skills imply your proficiency and ease at doing specific tasks in the fastest and most efficient manner.

Experience is simply the number of years you’ve been performing a specific job. Your skills needn’t always match your experience. Therefore, focus on the work you can do and the speed and efficiency with which you can execute tasks. Leave experience out of this answer, unless absolutely necessary.

10. How’s your previous experience relevant to us?

This is yet another simple sounding but highly loaded question. I come to the above point: there can be a mismatch between your skills and experience. Usually, employers prefer skills over experience.

That’s because you could have several years of experience but lack the skills they require. Therefore, speak about the number of years you’ve been spending on perfecting your skills instead of the years you’re at some specific job.

11. What’re you expecting from this job?

Again, this common phone interview question opens a lot of opportunities, if you’re well prepared. The interviewer is actually providing you an excellent chance to put forward your demands in the form of expectations. Reply this question after a small pause.

You can ask for anything from career growth to higher designation, better pay and training where necessary. Answering this question is like selecting from the proverbial buffet. You’ve got the choice to ask for anything that’s important for your career and life. And not feeling guilty for your ambitions.

12. Are you ready to relocate at short notice?

Relocation is a flipside of a remote job. The very fact that a company is considering hiring you and that you’re being interviewed clearly shows their interest in you. Therefore, you’ll have to think a little before answering this typical question.

Are you genuinely willing to relocate? If the company cannot establish itself in a new market despite best efforts, they still wish to retain your services. Or they may want you to copy your own success story somewhere else within our outside the country.

13. What has been your greatest defeat or disappointment?

All of us have ups and downs, peaks and troughs in life. This question is generally asked as part of a phone interview to gain some insights into your overall personality. To answer this question, you can move a little into your personal life.

You could mention anything as your greatest disappointment or defeat such as inability to study further, not getting a job at some very large corporation despite best efforts, hardships you face in life personally or as family or any other feature of your personal life. This question has nothing to do with your career or profession.

14. If you could do something again, what would that be?

Don’t we all wish we had those time machines made famous in an eponymous novel by prominent English writer, HG Wells? Of course we do. Therefore, saddle up and mount your personal time machine and bring to mind all the things that you would love to repair, if given an opportunity.

It could be anything from your personal, social, financial or professional spheres of life. Answer this question with two or three topmost things that sometimes bother you. Those things you wish had gone better or you had done better.

15. Tell us something about your working style?

Through this common phone interview question, the interviewer wants to know whether you’re responsible and how much workload you can realistically handle. They wish to gauge whether you’re a leader and would be able to lead people, if that remote market develops well. Or are you a lone canon that prefers working alone. It shows whether you’ll need frequent or constant monitoring and your decision making abilities. Therefore, strictly adhere to facts and your working style and previous or current job.

16. Are you sure you’re in the right career?

This phone interview question can knock you flat unless you’re ready. And that’s exactly what the interviewer wants. That’s because a lot of people nowadays aren’t in the right career. They’re working merely because their parents forced them into studying for and completing a specific degree because of the prestige that comes along with.

Maybe you wish to follow footsteps of your father, mother or some successful relative. That doesn’t mean you’re right for the job. With this question, an employer is trying to gauge your enthusiasm for the specific job. Also they wish to find if you’re genuinely suitable for the post or would work mechanically, without gusto.

17. What are your greatest achievements so far?

Could be anything that you think is your greatest achievement. It could be that certificate you won at junior school or the fact you were on a college football team. You could have married the person of your dreams or be owner of that fabulous house or car you’ve always wanted.

This common interview question has several answers. You can emphasize on your personal achievements or those at work or even both. Your answers indicate your dedication to something, the level of efforts you’ll exert and your personal tastes, ambitions and other objectives in life.

18. Whom do you seek advice from while facing a problem?

Obviously, the interviewer would love to know whom you’ll run to if there’s some problem at work or in personal life. That’s because officials at the prospective employer may not be always available to solve whatever problems you come across.

And the employer also wants to know the level of your troubleshooting skills. At the same time, the new employer also has to ensure you won’t go asking about a solution from your former bosses or colleagues since you might inadvertently leak sensitive information to a rival.

Therefore, highlight your own problem solving skills and how you discuss them with some close relative that you can trust. You can mention your previous or current bosses but swiftly add that you’ll have to stop doing so, if hired.

19. What is your daily routine like?

A phone interview is usually for a remote location. Therefore, it’s natural that your future employer would love to know a bit about your daily routine. This is a very simple and common phone interview question to answer, provided you’re willing to tell the truth.

In fact, there’s nothing really worth concealing or fudging while answering this simple question. Give a brief account of what time you awaken daily, morning fitness or wellness exercises if any and the way you go about your work. Also mention a little about your pastime and time you spend the day.

Closing Thoughts

Before concluding, I’ll add that it’s best to be honest while answering all of these common phone interview questions. The only difference between a phone interview and an in-person interview is your physical presence. Almost every other element remains unchanged. Comprehend these phone interview questions and answers to successfully clinch that job through a phone interview.

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