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Top 20 Phone Interview Questions & Answers [Best Examples]

Top 20 Phone Interview Questions & Answers [Best Examples]

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You're about to learn the answers to the most common phone interview questions, but first, let's recall why they're so great:


Skip the shower. Pass up on the pants. Disregard the deodorant.


Plus, they feel a gazillion times less nerve-racking!


However, the part that matters the most, the actual phone interview questions—you don’t get a reprieve on answering those correctly.


You’ve got to keep on your toes if you want to nail the phone interview.


This guide will walk you through some typical questions asked during a phone interview, as well as some general questions to ask them, and a few helpful tips to close it off right.


This telephone interview questions guide will show you:


  • Over ten best phone interview questions and answers to prepare for.
  • How to prepare for a phone interview and non-specific questions.
  • Questions to ask in a phone interview for the employer to answer.
  • Phone interview tips and job interview questions and answers samples.


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Have you already had your interview? Check How to Follow Up After an Interview.



Phone Interview Questions and Answers


Phone screen interviews have many of the same types of interviews questions as traditional, face-to-face meetings.


Looking for a possible question and answer for screeing interviews over the phone?


Look no further.


Here are the most common telephone interview questions and answers:


1. What Are Your Strengths?


The employer is looking to see what skills you can bring to the company’s table. Focus on your best skills and achievements, and make sure that they are relevant to the company.


Read some great responses to this popular phone interview question here: "What Are Your Strengths?” Interview Question


2. What Is Your Greatest Weakness?


Unlike the strengths question, the interviewer wants here to see how you answer more than what you answer. Use answers that show you’re self-aware and open to improvement.


Read some great replies to this phone screen question here: "What Is Your Greatest Weakness?" Best Answers


3. Why Should We Hire You?


This one can be a doozy, whether it’s asked during a phone interview or not. But if you prepare, it can turn into a great opportunity to deliver a perfect elevator pitch. Summarize your best points, and don’t be shy or hesitant to self-promote by being overly modest.


Read the best interview answers to this question here: "Why Should We Hire You?" Best Answers


4. Why Did You Leave Your Last Job?


This is one of the top phone interview questions, and it can get tricky, especially if you didn’t parting ways with your last organization on the best of terms. Don’t say anything that will make the new company question whether that same situation could make an encore appearance.


Read some great responses to this phone interview question here: "Why Did You Leave Your Last Job" Best Answers


5. Tell Me About Yourself


This standard phone interview question is more narrow than it sounds. Don’t talk about where you were born, your favorite sport, and so on. Rather, they’d like a response that is relevant to them, similar to how you tailored your resume for the specific position.


Read some great responses to this topic here: “Tell Me About Yourself” Best Answers


6. Why Do You Want to Work Here?


Don’t dare say something like because I need work. Interviewers are really asking for compliments, so convey your enthusiasm about the company. Show how eager you are to be considered for a position there.


Read some great responses to this question here: “Why Do You Want to Work Here?” Interview Question


7. Describe Your Current Job Responsibilities


Curate a list of tasks that are the most relevant, and speak about those. Relevance is key. Don’t tell them every single thing you did, as not all of it will be significant to them.


Read some great responses to this phone interview topic here: How to Describe Your Current Job Responsibilities


8. What is Your Management Style?


You could get this management question no matter the position you’re applying for, as the hiring manager uses your phone interview answer to gauge your leadership prospects and potential. Give a brief success story about a time you managed a project or team.


Read some great phone interview responses to this question here: What is Your Management Style?


9. Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?


Many people don’t have an idea as to where they’d like to be in 5 years, but this phone screening question is asked so they can see whether they’re part of your future and if your long-term career goals align with the company.


Read some great responses to this common phone question here: “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?” Interview Question


10. What Motivates You?


This is a broad question, and there is no one right answer. However, there’s a way to answer it correctly.


Think about your strengths, and decide what your interests and passions are. Get your hands on the company values. Use them as a guide for answering the question correctly.


To learn how to put this formula to work for your next phone interview, see this post: What Motivates You? How to Best Answer the Tricky Interview Question



Non-Specific Telephone Interview Questions and Answers


The last section gave the most common phone screening interview questions to prepare for. However, there are many others that could be just as important, depending on your situation.


General Phone Interview Questions to Answer


While you may not know how your phone screening will play out, there are some general questions that are asked in most interviews on the telephone.


Practice those!


We’ve talked about some specific questions already, now here are over 60 more great phone interview questions to prepare for here: Common Job Interview Questions and Best Answers


Use the STAR Method for Behavioral Interview Questions


Behavioral questions are are those about specific situations from your past work experience and how you handled them or behaved. There’s a great trick to answering them, though, and it’s called the STAR method.


Using it will help you structure your phone interview answers and deliver a response that will impress the faceless interviewer each and every time.


STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. To put this formula to work for your next telephone interview, see this post: STAR Method for Acing Behavioral Interview Questions


Acing Those Situational Interview Questions


Situational interview questions come up regularly during phone interviews. Typically, you can identify them when you are asked about a particular occurrence, real or hypothetical, and how your response would be.


Telephone interviewers use these to understand your thought process and how you might act in a particular situation. The best way to answer this is to give them a problem you faced followed by your solution and how it should benefit the employer were it to happen again in the future.


We’ve got a bunch of situational phone screening questions along with perfect responses for you to study and practice: 20 Situational Interview Questions and Answers to Nail Your Interview



Questions to Ask a Phone Interviewer


That’s right, you’ve got to have good interview questions for employers on the phone, as well.


You see, phone interviews are not all about them getting to know you. These days, you have to speak up and come at them with your own questions. However, most employers will be courteous and ask this anyway. Still, be sure not to give no as an answer.


What exactly should you ask your phone interviewer? How about a few of these: 65 Questions to Ask an Interviewer


Also, need advice applicable to any job interview? Check out this guide: 50+ Best Job Interview Tips and Advice



Tips for How to Ace a Phone Interview


In a telephone interview, your voice speaks volumes, both literally and figuratively, as you don’t have your appearance and smile to be judged, as well. Keep a bottle of water handy to keep your throat from getting dry. Enunciate to be sure that your phone interview answers are clearly understood.


You don’t want your internet connection to give out in the middle of a telephone interview (if you’re on a VoIP call). Close all your computer programs to give yourself maximum bandwidth. Sit next to your wifi connection.


Block all sounds in your surrounding environment by locking yourself in a room after disabling any potential bells, buzzers, and barking bulldogs (and bothersome babies!).


Most importantly, it is important that you be honest.


Once they’re over, make sure to follow up after phone interviews correctly. Send a thank-you email several days after your interview. It’s a cordial gesture, and it also reminds them that you are waiting for their response.


For more tips, check out: 17 Phone Interview Tips and Hacks that Guarantee the Next Round


Learn how to follow up after a phone interview and how to craft your letter of thanks by reading this: How to Write a Thank You Email After an Interview


Key Takeaway


Phone interviews give you some room to relax, as you don’t have to step outside of your comfort zone for a public, face-to-face meeting.


Still, it’s important that you know how to prepare for a phone interview:


  • Practice the most common telephone interview questions and answers.
  • Make sure to prepare a question to ask the phone screener, as well. This is just as important!
  • Finally, follow up after a telephone interview just as you would after a traditional one.


Good luck!

Do you have any questions on how to answer phone interview questions? Not sure how to ace a telephone interview or how to prepare for one? Give us a shout in the comments below and we will answer your questions. Thanks for reading!

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Christian Eilers
Christian is a career expert who has been writing for Zety since 2017. From job hunting to acing interviews to settling in on the first days at a new career, his guides cover the entire career spectrum.
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