35+ Common Phone Interview Questions & Answers (2022)

A phone interview sometimes gets referred to as a screening interview or screening interview. Phone interview questions get asked in these sessions. The phone interviews provide a more appropriate and readily accessible format for introducing the job candidate to the job opportunity for employers and job candidates. 

The interview saves the employer and job applicant time as it uses this session to deduce whether the candidate is a good fit for the job early on. It is considered a relatively normal part of the interview and job search processes. Passing a telephone interview usually means an invitation to an in-person interview.

phone interview questions

How Long Will The Interview Last?

A telephone interview lasts roughly 15 minutes to 30 minutes. This type of interview gets conducted by a hiring manager or employee who is part of the team you've applied for. The interviewer will spend most of the phone interview introducing the hiring process and company policies.

phone interview questions

The interview intends to ensure that you're a qualified candidate for the job. And are a good fit for the role. Or ensure that you don't have any questions about the job. You should expect to be asked an interview question on your work history, details in your cover letter, and resume.

Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Meetings, Google Meet, or others.

It's not uncommon for a phone screen to be a Skype interview or Zoom interview, which means that the prospective employer or phone interviewer is speaking to you over a video chat. You'll know you're part of a phone screening interview (or "screening interview") as the recruiter, hiring manager, or interviewer will indicate it.

According to Hubspot's Swetha Amaresan, the top business etiquette tips for phone conversations includes:

  • Answer within three rings.
  • Immediately introduce yourself.
  • Speak clearly.
  • Avoid using speakerphone.
  • Actively listen and take notes.
  • Remain positive.
  • Ask before putting someone on hold.

Phone Interview Tips for Job Seekers

Below are phone interview tips and strategies for job seekers.

  • Prepare an elevator pitch in advance. An elevator pitch will help describe who you are to the interviewer.
  • Study each common interview question asked by phone and prepare an answer tailored to the job title and your potential employer.
  • Be prepared to answer a behavioral interview question or two. A behavioral question starts with "Tell me about a time…."
  • Treat your phone interview as though it is any other type of job interview.
  • Prepare in advance by performing a mock interview with a friend or colleague.
  • Be in a place with good cell phone reception or internet connection.
  • And in a quiet place with few interruptions.
  • Smile when speaking.
  • Moderate the pace of the interview answers. Settle nerves by breathing calmly and pacing the interview answers.
  • Have your salary expectations in mind if the hiring manager asks.
  • Screening questions should have answers that last only 90-seconds.
  • Learn about the person performing the phone screen interview in advance so you can start the phone call with ice breakers.
  • If you're very passionate about the job, perform an informational interview first. This interview is where the job seeker can gather career advice from employed personnel. They can provide helpful resources on what the interviewer or hiring manager is looking for in an ideal candidate.
  • Send a thank-you email after the interview is complete.

phone interview questions

How to Answer Phone Interview Questions

Answer phone interview questions like any other interview. Focus on your best skills and work achievements. And make sure they're relevant to the company and job description. For example, research the CEO and their vision. And be sure to answer each question with brevity and clarity. Displaying professional communication skills the hiring manager will appreciate.

phone interview questions

Focus each answer on your career rather than personal reasons for why the job is desirable. Keep the company and its goals in mind. Have professional reasoning behind each interview answer.

Search the internet and be familiar with the company's missions. Have notes prepared in advance of the interview. Unlike in-person interviews, there's an advantage of referring to notes during the interview.

phone interview questions

Phone Interview Questions & Answers

Below are common phone interview questions (telephone interview questions) and the best answers. Before studying phone interview questions, be sure you tailor and customize each phone interview question. Reply with your own work experience. And with the job title you're applying for in mind. Expect hiring managers to ask these questions in their way.

phone interview questions

Why are you leaving your current position?

Example answer: I love working with my current employer, though I've reached a point where there isn't upward mobility within the company. I'm looking to join a company where there's more upward mobility.

Alternative answer: Currently, I work as a research assistant at Stanford University. I assist Stanford University with various doctorate research papers and validate student information. My contract with the university ends shortly.

phone interview questions

What are your salary expectations?

Example answer: I've done some early research on PayScale and Salary.com. And it appears the average salary range for this role is between $80,000 per year and $95,000 per year. Because of this, my salary expectation would be somewhere in that range unless otherwise noted.

Tip: Whatever drew you to the company and role (besides money and benefits)—focus on that when answering. Review the job description. Serious candidates want to know what it's like to work at the company. Try to spot any early red flags with the hiring manager.

phone interview questions

What were your previous job responsibilities?

Example answer: I was responsible for handling all the creative deliverables. My job included graphic design, UI design, and marketing or brand design. I worked cross-functionally between multiple departments to deliver on their needs.

What does a typical work week look like for you?

Example answer: At the beginning of the week, I assess the work at hand and plan out my week. Communicate with managers on their expectations. Then toward the middle of the week, I begin execution. And at the end of the week, I assess the work and speak with managers. Talk about their filled or unfilled needs, and plan for the following week.

phone interview questions

Why should we hire you?

Example answer: It appears that the role is looking for someone who has a long history of driving success in a sales role. I've increased net revenues by more than 23% throughout my sales career across all of my positions.

phone interview questions

How do you evaluate success?

Example answer: It depends on the scenario. For a team assessment, it could be the morale of the department. For quantitative assessments, it could be raw facts and figures.

How could you have improved your career progress?

Example answer: I may have made more mistakes earlier and learned from those mistakes. Taking risks early on could have exposed me to more opportunities.

phone interview questions

How would your coworkers describe you?

Example answer: They would describe me as an active listener and someone who cares about the company.

What qualities do you look for in a manager or boss?

Example answer: I look for an empathetic listener who facilitates the team's needs.

Tip: Job seekers should answer interview questions in 90-seconds or less. A great way to be concise is to respond with a "yes" or "no." Then continue with the story that explains the answer.

What would your managers say about your work performance?

Example answer: They would say that I care heavily about the performance of both our team, department, and me. That I'm not afraid of going the extra mile to make that happen.

phone interview questions

How would you describe yourself?

Example answer: In three words, I would describe myself as adaptable, empathetic, and creative.

Tell me about your career.

Example answer: I have always been in positions where I got exposed to multiple departments. The experience has made my career special. I can play a cross-functional role while still being an independent contributor. You'll see in my resume multiple times that this has happened and the achievements I've been able to make in those conditions.

phone interview questions

What makes you qualified for this role?

Example answer: I've delivered on sales goals more than 80% of the time for my employers. And this seems like something that is getting valued for this role.

What would you try to accomplish in your first 30-days after getting employed?

Example answer: In the first 30-days of my employment, I would be trying to learn as much as possible. The first 30-days matter the most in grasping the business, the department's role, and more. In previous positions, I was still learning about the company in my first year on the job.

phone interview questions

When were you most satisfied with your current job or current role?

Example answer: Being able to have the autonomy to execute and being measured by performance goals.

Where do you see yourself in the next year?

Example answer: I see a great opportunity that comes with this role. The experiences with this job will allow me to transform as a professional. And develop my career path further. Beyond that, I'm uncertain.

phone interview questions

What techniques or tools do you use to stay on top of your work?

Example answer: I try to organize my week using tools like Information Architect's writer, spreadsheets, and to-do lists.

Tip: Be conscious of waiting until the interviewer has completed speaking, then answer the interview question. If unsure, ask the interviewer, "Should I jump in?"

phone interview questions

How would you describe your communication style?

Example answer: An active listener who communicates for others, not myself.

What is your work style?

Example answer: Considering the customer through everyday work is the most critical part. Workstyle should continuously evolve around customers' needs, whether trying to be the most creative possible. Or I am trying to be as empathetic as possible. I'm adaptable in this nature to facilitate customer needs.

phone interview questions

What are you going to do if you don't get this job?

Example answer: It would be miserable. I would be looking for another job opportunity that exposes me to the same departmental learning opportunities that this job would.

What makes you want to work at this company?

Example answer: Simply put, you are challenging a massive industry that has existed in America for a long time. And that is very appealing to me. I love the idea that you nurture creativity, collaboration, equality and have an open work environment and culture.

phone interview questions

What skill do you have that applies most to this position?

Example answer: My adaptability. It will help facilitate customer needs and create a positive work environment for those around me.

How would you handle a conflict in the workplace?

Example answer:

  • Using conflict resolution methods.
  • Understanding the other person.
  • Having a selfless approach.
  • Coming to a robust, constructive conclusion.

I prefer the Thomas-Kilmann Model for resolving conflict.

phone interview questions

How would you handle receiving constructive criticism?

Example answer: Strongly. I want to adapt and grow for my team and our customers.

How would you provide constructive feedback?

Example answer: I would put the customer experience first and then describe how the feedback relates to that.

phone interview questions

How would you introduce yourself to the team?

Example answer: I would tell stories of my past. Then explain what motivates me with the workplace so my teammates and I can connect on that. The only way that will happen is by sharing my views on the workplace and why I'm there. It's about finding connective tissue between myself and the team.

phone interview questions

Who inspires you to do a better job in the workplace?

Example answer: My family. They are who I am thinking of at all times. A family member could be one of our customers. I'm striving to achieve always create the most optimal customer experience.

phone interview questions

What part of the job description excites you most about this position?

Example answer: The ability to take on the responsibilities of the customer service department and the marketing department. The cross-functional nature of the role is exciting. There are several other compelling factors. But at the moment, I can only predict if those are accurate. I will wait until the end of the phone call to ask the questions I have about this role.

phone interview questions

Where do you get your inspiration?

Example answer: Nature, other businesses, art, engineering, and books. I find inspiration from all types of media. Even cars, for example. I want to say that I see the beauty in everything and pull inspiration from that.

phone interview questions

How would you motivate a team member?

Example answer: First, I would try to understand what motivates that person. It could be any number of things. Every person is motivated in their unique ways. It's best to learn what those ways are and then speak to those motivators the best we can. From there, try to remind them of what originally inspired them to get everything back on track.

How would you handle an unhappy customer?

Example answer: I would attempt to empathize with them. Try to understand what is motivating a person to feel unhappy. Then communicate clearly, how I will attempt to resolve the issue. That's the simple answer. When the situation becomes more convoluted and difficult to predict, it can help to escalate a situation. Then follow company protocols on what to do in those scenarios.

What do you think we should be looking for in a candidate?

Example answer: Based on the job description and what I know about the company culture. It would help if you were looking for a strong sense of design candidate—a candidate who can learn and adapt quickly. And while not being too stubborn about their methods of achieving success. An ideal candidate is a person who is both quantitative and qualitative in their work.

What CEO inspires you the most?

Example answer: Steve Jobs. And this is a standard answer for most candidates, I would assume. He resonates with me the most because of his ability to predict the future accurately. Or, at the very least, make the future. The act of predicting human nature should not be treated lightly. It isn't effortless and inspiring to have witnessed.

When do you want to start this position?

Example answer: I'd love to start as soon as I can. I do have a job that I'm currently employed at. And I would like to provide them with two weeks' notice to transition my job duties and responsibilities to another employee appropriately. But once that notice period has ended, I would love to start my new job title with the company and begin taking on challenges.

Where do you see yourself growing within the company?

Example answer: That would be a question I would ask from you, as well. I'd love to learn what available upward mobility options are at the company and how I might use those opportunities to advance my career. Ensuring that upward mobility is available is certainly something that I'm considering with my job consideration.

What qualities should we avoid in a candidate?

Example answer: This is a tricky question to answer. I don't think I can answer this question accurately since I don't have a picture of the work environment or the team's current projects. But if I had to answer this question, avoid a candidate who can't be adaptable with their work.

Who would you meet with the moment you start your work?

Example answer: I would try to meet with the entire team before starting any work. I hope the training process will cover who the position reports to and introduce me to the team. I would attempt to meet individually with each team member to gain rapport. From there, meet with the manager or supervisor to learn more about the fiscal quarter's objectives.

Do you have an outside network of professionals you can consult?

Example answer: Yes. In situations where I don't have the expertise to solve a problem, I have several friends in the industry who can assist me. My network is something that I value greatly. And I believe it's a value that I can bring to both the team and the company. I've had several challenges that completely baffled me. And having a friend spend 15-minutes with me and ask them to explain their knowledge of the subject has always helped me.

What makes you an exceptional candidate for this role?

Example answer: I have years of previous sales experience. Historically, I've increased sales by 32% on average across all of my earlier roles. At the same time, I was being able to maintain customer loyalty and retention. I drive growth forward while retaining relationships. As you may know, driving growth sometimes requires driving volatility. I'm exceptional at being able to balance growth and volatility. That skill is something I believe the company should value very significantly.

What phone interview questions would you ask a candidate if you were performing this interview?

Example answer: I would ask the candidate several behavioral interview questions and qualifying interview questions. The behavioral interview questions will provide me insight into how the candidate can perform on the job. And the qualifying interview questions will ensure that the candidate knows how to perform their job duties and job requirements. From here, I will place the candidate with the team better. Ensuring that the candidate has the required competencies to align with the rest of the team to produce high-quality work.

What is your greatest strength?

Example answer: I'm capable of taking responsibility for my actions, especially when making a mistake that lets my team down. Part of ownership and responsibility is the ability to admit when a mistake was made. This is a strength. It builds character and confidence with the team when I realize when I did something wrong and commit to making a change.

See more "strengths and weaknesses" answers.

What is your greatest weakness?

Example answer: I can find myself being too detail-oriented. I can spend too much time focusing on minor details and forget about the holistic needs of the team. I can see myself getting too heavily involved in the details of a project. At the same time, this indicates my passion for the project.

See the complete list of interview questions and answers if you need more.

Tell me about your current job responsibilities.

Example answer: Currently, I work closely with our marketing department to oversee our social media presence. I take initiatives from the CEO and the CMO. Build campaigns that align with our brand guidelines and measure their performance.

Questions to Ask the Interviewer in the Phone Interview

Below are questions you should ask the interviewer about the role during your phone interview. When thinking of a specific question to ask the person interviewing you, be sure it's relevant to the conversation you both have had. Avoid a question that may seem redundant to something the interviewer already spoke about.

Sample interview questions to ask

  • How soon are you looking to place someone for this role?
  • What parts of the hiring process should I be aware of?
  • Which company policies and procedures should I be aware of?
  • Are there other assets I can provide you with to assess me properly?
  • Are there any questions that you had for me?
  • What is the most challenging part of this job?
  • What is your management style?
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What are your career goals?
  • Are training opportunities provided for new hires?
  • What does a typical work week look like for this role?
  • How would you describe the company culture?
  • Can I provide you with my references?
  • What is the next step in the interview process?
  • What soft skills do you feel are required for this role?
  • Can you provide me with a specific example of when the previous person in this role succeeded?
  • What advice would you give to yourself interviewing for this role?
  • Can you tell me what the daily activities of this job look like?
  • How long does training typically last?
  • How would you describe the most significant challenge with this role?
  • What advice do you believe the previous person in this job title would give me?
  • How soon are you looking to schedule the following job interview with each candidate?
  • What do all employees at the company have in common?
  • What traits do the team members share in common?
  • Did anything surprise you about working at this company?

Learn about more questions to ask the interviewer.

If you're interviewing for a nursing position or teaching position, please go to our nursing interview question and answer guide. And our teacher interview question and answer guide.

Phone Interview FAQs

Common questions asked by job seekers.

What kinds of questions get asked in a phone interview?

Questions related to your work experience and behavioral interview questions help the hiring manager predict your future performance on the job.

You should prepare to share at least one to three stories about the challenges you faced at work and how you overcame them.

How do you ace a phone interview?

An ice breaker is a conversation starter, something like a common interest or connection you and the interviewer share. Having great chemistry with the interviewer can help. Use ice breaker questions to start the conversation.

Is a phone interview a good sign?

A phone interview is a great sign. It means that your cover letter and resume have passed through the Applicant Tracking System and that a manager read your job application assets.

It is the first step toward having an in-person interview, which is closer to receiving a job offer.

How long should a phone interview last?

A phone interview should last at least 20 minutes. And go no more than 30 minutes. If your interview is shorter than 20 minutes, this could indicate a bad interview.

And that the interviewer felt you were not a good fit for the position.

How do phone interviews and face-to-face interviews differ?

The only noticeable difference as a candidate will be the types of questions asked. A phone interview is more suitable for asking high-level questions than detailed or nuanced questions.

For example, when interviewing for a software engineering role, the interviewer will ask about programming philosophy rather than asking questions about code.

Asking detailed or nuanced questions can require a whiteboard to share specific ideas or perspectives. Concerning the chemistry of the interview, a phone interview and a face-to-face interview differ very little.

What should I say at the beginning of a phone interview?

Respond to the call professionally and introduce yourself. To ensure that you appear professional while answering the phone for your interview, begin by announcing your name in an enthusiastic tone and clarify that you were awaiting their call when the interviewer spoke their name.

How do I prepare for a phone interview?

Phone interviews are similar to in-person interviews. Prepare by researching interview questions and answers. And practice your delivery. Your phone interview answers should be short, anywhere from 60 to 90 seconds.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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