Nowadays, phone interview has become a common thing. We can lounge around in our pajamas while talking with our new potential employers and don’t have to choose what to wear or spend half a day coming to the company office. So is it that easy and comfortable?  In this post, we will list out the most popular phone interview questions and how to answer them.

When do you have to enter a phone interview?

Years ago when talking about job interview, it always had to mean an in person interview. However, in today’s increasingly busy digital world, job interviews can be held in a wide variety of mediums and the phone is one of them.

There are 2 situations we need to use this kind of interview:

– First, companies use phone interview as a way to pre-qualify your interest and expertise after seeing your CV. This interview also helps you decide if the job is worth pursuing. If both sides seem interested, a face-to-face interview can be arranged latter. A lot of time will be saved.

– Second, phone interviews are used because of the distance reason. In this world, we now can work as a part time employee in an organization located at different city or even country. Therefore, if you are applying for a job like this, phone interview is the only way besides video interview.

However, this kind of interview limits you to only one mean to express yourself to the employer: your answer.  Which means no external appearance, no body language at all. Therefore, knowing how to answer phone interview questions will be on top of the priority list.

Phone-interview-questions
Phone interview is quite common today (Photo from herzing.edu)

Phone interview etiquette

To make sure that your phone interview questions will be answered well, here are some helpful recommendations:

Opening

Your first words definitely should be a greet, then state your name clearly to let the interviewer know that they’ve reached the correct person.

Examples:

Hi, this is Nick Young.

Hi, this is Rachel Chu. Is this Mrs. Lin?

Remember to address the interviewer by her/his title and last name (if you know it). After hearing him/her greeting back, it’s still your turn to say before really entering the Q&A time, you can say something such as:

This is a great time to chat, Mrs. Lin. Thank you for asking me.

And then you can continue answering their phone interview questions as normal.

Ending

Many people feel it hard to close a phone interview. The truth is that you have so many ways to end it. One of the best ways to close the deal is to ask for the job when the conversation begins wrapping up. You can be subtle or straightforward in your approach.

Examples:

It’s been great to talk to you. I appreciate your time, and I’m now really enthusiastic about the job. I hope you feel the same about me.

After speaking with you, I strongly feel that everything about this job speaks to me, and I think I could make a real contribution.

Or you also can remind them that you’re qualified:

Examples:

In closing, I feel that this position is a great fit for me. I look forward to using my 5 years experience and skills to contribute for the company if I have the chance.


If you haven’t known what to expect from that point on with the hiring process, feel free to ask them what would happen next (a face-to-face interview, an email or another call?)

Whatever you do, never forget to thank the interviewer. It’s a good idea to say thank both at the start and at the end of the conversation.

Examples:

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the position.

I really appreciate you interviewing me for this position. It sounds great.

Things we should DO

  • Plan Yourself Beforehand

Here is what you should prepare before the call:

– Time: If they have arranged a call at a specific time, follow it. However, we might not be always able to do the interview when they call for the first time. When asking to schedule a specific time for the phone interview, remember to define who will call whom. You should offer to be the caller so you can be fully prepared and in a situation you can speak without interruptions. When the interviewer contacts you, ensure you can talk on the phone for at least 20 minutes. If you are not available at that time, we also recommend you rescheduling the interview.

– Place: Securing a quiet space in advance is a must. Taking the phone call somewhere noisy is not only hard for both of you to listen but also impolite  and disrespectful. On the other side, the interviewers really can hear anything in the background, even if it’s barking dogs or screaming children or sounds on the TV. They can judge you negatively if your background is noisy, which means you haven’t prepared well for the interview and you are not professional.

– Device: We need to ensure the reception is good. Testing the headset and connection before dialing in is a simple task which takes just a minute but many people skip. Bad connection and dropped signals can always happen. You can easily test them by calling a friend beforehand or just call yourself from a landline. If the call is on your cell phone (which is likely), your battery needed to be fully charged in case the phone call would last long.

DON’TS

  • Put Your Interviewer On Hold

There’s no worse first impression than being late. Losing at the very start is not what we would expect, so always be on time. Phone interviews often don’t take too long. If there isn’t anything really so urgent, you shouldn’t pause the interview at all. In case you are expecting extremely urgent news (like information about a family accident), preface that early and politely request to reschedule the phone call.   

  • Skip The Q&A

In the end of the phone interview, 90% interviewers will ask the candidate if they have any questions. The key for you is: ALWAYS ask questions. Here are phone interview questions you can ask them back:

o What are the key things you’d like to learn about my background?

o What concerns about my background or qualifications do you have at this point?
o What business imperatives are driving the need for this position?
o Describe the top three challenges that I’ll face in this job.
o What are the characteristics of people who are most successful in your company?
o What are the key deliverables and outcomes this position must achieve?
o Is there any additional information you would like me to provide?

  • Talk Over The Interviewer

Someone might be eager to talk about their experience, quality, etc so they unintendedly interrupt the interviewer. This action is awkward and rude. By the way, speaking too fast or too loud, attempting to answer phone interview questions before the interviewer finish asking also need to be avoided.

  • Use too much Filler Words

It’s tough for not saying things like “um,” “uh,” and “like” in everyday speech since it’s many people’s habits. In face-to-face interviews, they might not as noticeable. However, in phone interview, you had better pay attention and try to  eliminate these words from your speech. Too much “um,” “uh,” also can show that you are nervous, confused and don’t know what to say.

  • Not Preparing Your Responses

Even if it’s a phone interview or a normal face to face interview, preparing yourself with common questions and answers is a must. The list of questions most phone interviewers ask is also the same as normal interview, for example:

• Tell me about yourself.
• What do you know about our company?
• Why should we hire you?
• What is your current salary?
• What are your compensation requirements?
• Why are you looking for in this job/ this position?
• What are your strengths/weaknesses?
• Do you have any questions?

And you can see some sample answers for these questions right below:

Sample phone interview questions and answers

Questions about yourself/your background

Sample 1:

I have been worked as an IT engineer for 7 years and I really enjoy providing robust software solutions.After graduating from Nanyang University, I worked at XYZ from their offer. I’ve led a software engineering team of 9 at my previous company. We were honor to receive 2016 ABC award. It has been a great run, however, at present, I want to develop more at a high-performing company like yours.

Sample 2:

Well, currently I’m working as an account executive at X Ltd, where I handle the company’s top performing clients. Before that, I worked at an agency in Ohio, where I was a brand manager. After 5 years experience, I’d love to dig in much deeper with one specific big healthcare company. This is the reason why I’m applying to your company.

Learning from video samples will be much easier when you use eJOY’s Word Hunt feature. You can search the exact words or sentence by simply type it down and click “Say it” button (as shown in the picture below):

word-hunt-on-ejoy
Example using Word hunt

So convenient, right?

Video example:

Keyword to search: “question about yourself”

Questions about the new job/your expectation/your future plans…

Questions about your expectation

To be honest, my expectation is that in a new company, I can work in an professional and still friendly environment where I can grow within the organization. I also hope that if I have the chance to work in XYz, the company will be open to my contributions so that I may become a valued member of your team.

Questions about your future plans

In the near future, my goal is to continue developing my writing skills to contribute helping the company become the top publishers in Vietnam. My long term goals include growing with the company. I never want to stop learning new things, taking on additional responsibilities and making bigger steps in my career. In 5 years’s time, I hope I will be a good manager.

Video example:

Keyword to search: “future plans”

Certainly, there are many other phone interview questions you still need to prepare. They are all quite the same as questions in face to face interview, so you can take a look back to our old posts.

Let’s discover many more interesting things by installing eJOY eXtension. Your English will be improved like thousands people have!

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