These days, it’s common for a recruiting process to have many stages including resume and cover letter review, online interview (which may include video and written sections), phone interview questions, in-person interview, and reference check. With all of these stages, it can be tempting to blow off preparation for phone interview questions as unimportant.
In reality, companies and recruiters pay very close attention to applicant responses to phone interview questions. This is often the first time that a recruiter gets the opportunity to speak with an applicant in real time and get a sense of what the applicant may be like to work with. In addition, phone interview questions put the candidate “on the spot” and can test how prepared they are for the role. Because of this, we recommend that you spend at least thirty minutes in preparation.
In preparing, it can be helpful to review sample phone interview questions. We recommend that you record practice responses to the following phone interview questions, then review the tips provided to see if there is anything you can improve!
What is your working style? Do you prefer working in a group or by yourself?
- Phone interview questions like this one are designed to both get your response and to see if you know anything about the job for which you are applying. Don’t say that you only like working alone when applying for a role that is part of close-knit team.
- Do your research! Between the job posting, the company website, and further information you have available online, you should have an idea of whether the role calls for you to work collaboratively, work alone, or both.
- Make sure to use specific examples in your response to phone interview questions like this. If you have prepared examples of when you have worked well both alone and as part of a team, you won’t have to spend time thinking of them during the interview.
What is a big challenge that you faced at your most recent job? How did you overcome this obstacle?
- Phone interview questions in this category (which also includes “What are your biggest weakness”) look at your capacity to be reflective about problems.
- When preparing anecdotes for phone interview questions, make sure to think of examples that included major obstacles/difficulties, how you overcame them, and what you learned from them.
- Make sure to choose a challenge that is both major and easy to explain.
Why do you think you are a good fit for this position?
- This is another of those phone interview questions where you can impress a recruiter by doing extra research!
- Your response to this question should include an overview of the trajectory your career so far, and why the position for which you are applying is the next logical step.
- When going over your career, do not just recite the facts on your resume— add information that you have not yet told the recruiter to keep their attention.
Do you have any questions for me?
- Always have a few phone interview questions ready for the interviewer to show off the amount of preparation you have put into the process.
- Good phone interview questions for your recruiter include questions about job description, work environment, and the next steps in the interview process. Save questions about salary and hours for later in the interview process.
- Finally, don’t forget to ask your interviewer about when you should expect to hear from them!