Top 10 Phone Interview Questions & Answers

phone interview questions

For job applicants, phone interview questions are some of the biggest obstacles to expect from hiring managers. These questions often appear to be tricky, with no wrong or right way to answer them. In truth, acing interview questions requires more than eloquence, a clipped tone, or a book about ‘Acing Phone Interview Questions for Dummies.’

In this article, we present to you 10 of the most common questions you should expect from a phone interview.

Why are Phone Interviews so Common Nowadays?

Phone interviews have become very common in present times. It seems that hiring managers prefer these interviews to physical meetings with applicants. Why is that?

  • It Saves More Time for HR: Hiring managers spend a lot of time sifting through applications. For any good position, you can expect tens, hundreds, and thousands of job applicants. But this does not mean that all these candidates are qualified. So, in 5 to 30 short minutes, a hiring manager can determine whether or not a candidate is suitable for a position, and move on to the next applicant.
  • It Allows Candidates the Opportunity to Deliver their Best in their Comfort Zones: Hiring managers also understand that job candidates are often nervous during interviews. However, these candidates tend to be more comfortable in their own space and are more likely to give their best during phone interviews. This also helps HR select the best crop of potential employees instead of whoever puts on the whitest shirt or stares unblinkingly into the eyes of the interviewer.

How to Prepare for a Phone Interview

Preparing for a phone interview can be nerve-wracking. But it does not have to be. Here are a few things to do in preparation for a phone interview:

  1. Confirm Interview Details: Make sure to know as much as you can about the hiring company, the interviewer, and the time for the interview. This will even give you added confidence when you are responding to the phone interview questions.
  2. Arrange the Interview Space: The greater part of the trick to acing a phone interview is what the interviewer hears. However, it is also important that the interviewer does not hear cocks crowing, children crying, or grandparents cackling at old jokes. So, make sure to organize the room where you intend to take the interview. The less noise in the background, the better your chances to impress the interviewer.
  3. Be Formal and Professional: During the phone interview, be formal and professional. Refer to the interviewer by their preferred title. Be composed, unhurried, and pay attention to what the interviewer is saying.
  4. Communicate Effectively: Effective communication is not only what you say to someone; it is also how you say it. So, while you are responding to questions and asking questions of your own, take your time. Take deep breaths between questions, and ask for clarifications on questions whenever you are uncertain. All of these are good tips that help you communicate effectively.
  5. Show Gratitude to the Interviewer for the Opportunity: At the end of the interview, don’t neglect to thank the interviewer. Granted, they are not doing you any big favors. Nevertheless, courteousness and appreciation go a long way in creating long-lasting impressions. So, say ‘Thank you for your time’ when you are done.

10 Most Common Job Interview Questions (with Example Answers)

Now, to the main subject of this article, here are 10 of the most common phone interview questions to expect from hiring managers.

1. How Would You Describe Yourself?

This question generally refers to information about yourself that is relevant to the position in question. So, if the position requires technical skills, impressing the interviewer requires you to respond in light of these skills. So, you can say something like, “I am a professional and experienced software and web developer. I enjoy working in teams, and love creating software solutions out of codes and relevant demands.”

2. What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?

Questions about your strengths and weaknesses are not meant to trip you during phone interview questions. Hiring managers often genuinely want to know where they can count on you and in what aspects you are incapable. So, in responding to the strengths question, focus on the requirements of the advertised position. If the position requires paying attention to detail and working with teams, design your response along these lines. In the case of your weaknesses, cite work attitude flaws that can be corrected effortlessly. For example, say that you are used to working on-site and your inexperience with remote work is your greatest weakness.

3. What Is Your Greatest Motivation?

When interviewers ask this question, they want to know what drives you and fuels your passion. You can choose to be personal and sentimental, but you are better off focusing on the prized values of the company. So, for a humanitarian company, motivations like the need to create a better world and cast off global poverty are appreciated. In a company that is all about profits, promotions and increased salaries are better motivations. At least, these are the kinds of responses that interviewers expect.

4. What Do/Did You Do at Your Current/Previous Employment?

This question is as it is, so there are no snags to trip you. However, make sure to focus on the company’s values and the responsibilities of the position.

5. Why Did You Leave Your Previous Employment?

This question is slightly trickier than the last. Nevertheless, as long as you align your response with your motivations and passions, the interviewer should not have any problem with you in the long run.

With this question, you want to be honest without being condescending. You can talk about how your previous role didn’t quite fit your skillset. Or you could mention how you’d outgrown your role and wanted a new challenge.

You don’t want to give answers that can make the hiring team question your motivations, dependability or loyalty. If you left your former employment because of poor pay, be honest. At the same time, be ready to explain how your output deserved a bigger pay packet than you were getting.

6. What Do You Know About Our Company?

Researching a company before applying for a position there is very important. When an interviewer asks you this question, they want to know how much research you have done regarding the hiring company. Prioritize facts over opinions and sentiments, but not facts that cast the company in a bad light. You can show ingenuity here by pointing out areas the company can better meet its targets.

7. Why Do You Want to Work Here?

This is a loaded question. In answering it effectively, you cannot show desperation. Don’t say that you are unemployed and the company is the way out for you. Focus on sensible motivations like career advancement, need for experience, and everything else that communicates to the interviewer that you are not going to be a parasite in the company, but an agent that contributes to the meeting of its objectives.

8. What Is Your Management Style?

Leadership and workforce management are important aspects of company growth. So when interviewers ask this question, they want to know how easy it would be to integrate you into the company. Thus, you need to consider the company’s management style and answer appropriately. Nevertheless, companies generally like team membership and equal participation of employees.

9. What Are Your Salary Expectations?

Questions about salary expectations can be the trickiest that job applicants face during phone interviews. But they are also the easiest to answer. All you need is an understanding of how the company values its employees, and what you are worth based on your skills and experience. So, there is no perfect figure, especially since interviewers often have a pre-set limit. So, mention reasonable figures without going overboard or putting yourself down.

10. Where/How Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

Questions about prospects are also easy to answer. The interviewer only wants to know whether you will abandon them within those 5 years or contribute enough to be an asset. So, a good answer to this question is, ‘I expect to be a valuable asset to this company, advancing through the ranks as I contribute my best to the actualization of the company’s objectives.’

Questions to Ask a Phone Interviewer

Phone interview questions go both ways across interviewer and interviewee. You are also allowed to ask the interviewer questions about the company, its objectives, its workforce, the position, and whatever else may further interest you about becoming an employee there. Some of the questions you should ask during a phone interview are listed below:

  • What are the responsibilities for this position?
  • What qualities in the employee are you looking for for this position?
  • What would you consider to be the biggest challenge to working in your company?
  • Why did the previous employee leave the position?
  • How do you measure employee performance?
  • What are the opportunities for advancing in the company?

Tips for How to Pass a Phone Interview

phone interview questions

Here are a few more tips to help you during your phone interviews:

Be confident during the interview.

Don’t hurry to answer questions.

Pay attention to everything the interviewer says.

Don’t interrupt the recruiter and stop talking whenever they interrupt you.

Say ‘Thank You’ at the end of the interview.


Most of what we outlined in this article should be enough for you to master any phone interview. Whether it is in how you present yourself to the evaluator or how you respond to the phone interview questions, these tips will help you impress the hiring company and land the job.

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