Phone Interview Tips: Sample Questions and How To Respond

When it comes to interviews, you must be on top of your game. On the other hand, sometimes no matter how much your prepare, you may not succeed. Whatever the case, preparation is a must – ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’, is what they say. For those of us who find interviews incredibly nerve-wracking, it can be a blessing to discover that the interview will be over the phone. This of course doesn’t mean that you have to prepare less. A phone interview will give you the freedom to conduct your body language in whichever way you feel. On the other hand, the experience you portray over the phone is still the same. Your employment history, skills, education and your views remain the same. One thing that the potential employer will however be paying particular attention to is your tone of voice.

It’s only natural to be nervous. With some help on how to prepare for the questions which may come your way, you can relax and hopefully speak freely. Bearing that in mind, we have drawn up some potential questions which you may receive during your telephone interview. We have also included a short exemplary response which should set you on the track to success.

phone interview

Phone Interview Tips: Sample Questions and How To Respond

Before we get started on the phone interview tips, and as we are in the realm of interviews, if you need any further hints and tips with interview questions, such as behavioural interview questions, we have a post for that. Please feel free to read our post on how to handle behavioural interview questions. Furthermore, if you are in the middle of the application process, we also have similar posts for writing the perfect CV, cover letter and resume writing tips. Lastly, if you should need it, we also have help for writing the perfect resignation letter. All your needs for application/careers writing can be found here on our website.

The following is a rough idea of how a phone interview will run. The order here is the most common, but of course, prepare for the unexpected as always.

Read: 10 sites to watch free movies online 

Beginning With Your Professional History

“So what are you currently working at?”

“Have you ever worked in this line of business before?”

Once the pleasantries and all the greetings are out of the way, the potential employer will often then dive into your employment history. If you have no current employment, don’t be afraid to say so. If you have never worked before -in general or in this line of work – again, don’t be afraid to say so. As long as the employer feels that you really want the job and that you’d be good at it is what’s important here. So, here try to choose the most relevant work experience. Relate some of your best jobs which can really put forth your skills. Try not to give the employer a long list of all your jobs – keeping time is always important.

Questions Regarding the Company That You Are Applying To

“Where did you hear about our company?”

“What attracted you to our company?”

“Why do you want to be part of our company?”

This is where you really need to put the research into. If an employer asks you any of the aforementioned questions and you can’t provide factual or honest information about the company, the interview can turn to failure within a matter of seconds. If you show interest in the company by providing information, the employer will recognise that you are serious about the job and that you do in fact want it. Hit them with a few outstanding facts regarding the company and realte it your own work experience. Remain honest, for an employer will also often recognise when you’re being sycophantic.

Behavioural Interview Questions

“Give me an example of a time you: worked in a team – showed leadership skills – met with conflict in the workplace – were under pressure – set goals and achieved them …”

Behavioural interview questions are many and they can come in all shapes and sizes. The above example questions are the most common behavioural interview questions. They are designed to unravel who you really are as a worker. In these cases, don’t be afraid to take your time to think of a good response. A few moments of thinking followed by a great response, is better than a quick response which meanders and doesn’t really make any relevant points. Try to remain honest and don’t panic.

More Questions About You

“What’s your favourite thing about working in this line of work?”

“What made you go into this line of work?”

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

These questions may or may not appear in your phone interview. They can be just as difficult as the above behavioural questions. But, again, just relax and take your time to think your response through and try to remain honest.

“Is There Anything You Would Like To Ask Us?”

“Tell me about a typical day at work with you”

“What can I expect to achieve from this job?”

These questions are personal, so if you have any legitimate concerns – great, don’t be afraid to ask. Employers like to receive questions for the interviewee – it sends a message of seriousness, or, makes the employer feel like you are truly interested in the job.

Closing Up the Interview

Remember to say thanks for your time and so on. If you have any lingering questions, make sure you don’t leave them until the last second.

What Not To Do In A Phone Interview Situation

Don’t panic, but don’t hesitate either. The negative thing about phone interviews is the lack of body language which can help you in moments of pensiveness. “Let me think for a second” can buy you some time to think of a response. The point is to remain talking, but at the same time don’t talk too long. Only talk about the relevant, valuable things.

As for all interviews, leave out any negativity. This means do not under any circumstances relate to your employer about how you hated being fired, how you walked out of a job, fighting in the office, and so on.


If you would like to know more about behavioural interview questions and how to respond, please read our post on our website. Best of luck!

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