Most Common Phone Interview Questions And AnswersJanuary 27, 2011 by ningcontent
The phone interview plays a crucial role in a candidate’s pre-hire process. This means that the employer has reviewed the candidate’s resume and or application and they are showing some interest which is a positive step forward, although the candidate is still far away from being hired! The phone interview in many cases may be a make-it or break-it for many candidates as this is mainly a way for the employer to verify if “you” the candidate are both a cultural and technical fit for their work environment. Below are some of the most common phone interview questions and answers.
Q. Can you tell me a little about yourself?
A. This question is commonly used by the employer to break the ice and to get the candidate to reveal some basic personality traits. The best response would be short and professional. Remember to stay focused as the employer doesn’t want to hear anything that doesn’t relate to their business!
Q. What is your education background?
A. The correct answer is the honest answer. “Direct and straight to the point”, is the only thing an employer likes to hear. If you do not have a degree and you are not enrolled in an educational program, don’t talk about how you are continuing your education because the truth is you aren’t!
Q. Are you currently employed and where?
A. In an ideal situation, you don’t want to leave one job without having another lined up; always answer this question direct to the point and honestly. Note: no negative talk even if your previous job came to a bitter end!
Q. If you are not employed, when were you last employed and what is the reason that you are no longer there?
A. If you are not employed be honest about your employment dates both verbally and written on your resume. Note: Always remember, “do not talk negatively about your previous employers or employment situations”, no matter how much you want to!
Q. Tell me about your current employer (i.e. what do they do, how long they’ve been in business, etc.).
A. This question is used to show how well you know your own business and how detail oriented you are or may be.
Q. What is the most important thing you’re looking for in a company/job?
A. And no, the answer should never be more money!!! Even if that is the real answer!! The correct answer should be; a new challenge with an opportunity for growth and development. Employers truly want candidates that can offer an immediate impact on their business, including applicable skills, education and experience, but also candidates that are interested in new challenges and want to continue to develop and grow within new work environments!
Q. Why are you considering leaving your current employer?
A. If your answer is because you hate your boss, you just lost this opportunity! No employer ever likes to hear negative discussions about your current or prior work engagements. Any negative discussions will be portrayed as “red flags” to the employer which are not good for you. Depending on your circumstance there could be many answers to this question. Simply give a positive response with a logical explanation such as “I decided to relocate so that I could be closer to my family” or “I’ve been at my current employer for 8 years and I’ve reached my maximum potential, so I’ve decided to search for a new and challenging opportunities”, etc.
Q. How long have you been with your current employer?
A. this is a simple close-ended question, simply answer the question honestly! If it wasn’t a substantial length of time, just give a logical and positive explanation. “Remember; always be as positive as possible.”
Q. On a Day-to-Day basis at your current job, what are your primary responsibilities?
A. This question is to test your ability to articulate in fine detail what you do at your current employer. If your memory is not that great, you should prepare yourself with some details. Note: never regurgitate the information directly off of your resume as this shows that you are unable to have an intellectual conversation!
Q. What size groups do you work in and do you have any group size preferences?
A. This is a question to see how comfortable you working with other people. It is always best to be honest, with the employer and yourself. If you really don’t like working in larger groups or around lots of people then let them know… Maybe the job isn’t an exact fit for you and that’s OK because there will be many other opportunities out there that may provide you with your ideal work environment. Phone interviews and in person interviews are also a perfect opportunity for you the candidate to be interviewing the employer, to verify if their company/job is best for you!
Q. Have you received any raises or promotions at your current employer?
A. This is a pretty straight forward question, either you have or you haven’t. Either way it is always good to discuss your promotions and if you haven’t been promoted, then keep the conversation positive; which means no negative discussions!
Q. Do you have any managerial experience or are you more of an individual contributor?
A. if you do not, then it is ok to say that you are an individual contributor, if you do have managerial experience then elaborate on your experience, let them know; when, where, how many people did you manage, your responsibilities as a manager, etc.. Note: good managers talk about their employees and their employee’s growth, development, each employees responsibilities, etc.
Q. What do you know about this company/job that you are applying for?
A. This question is used to see if you have prepared for the interview. Candidates that have researched the company are more appealing. Companies like prepared, organized candidates.
Q. How many years experience do you have in _________?
A. this is a close-ended question, give a direct answer and the only other thing you should add would be your proficiency with this particular skill. Just because you may have 5 years of experience with something doesn’t necessarily mean you are a master at that skill. Being as honest as possible will help eliminate the possibility of setting yourself up for failure.
Q. We have spoken with several candidates. Why are you the one we should hire?
A. Give detailed examples of your skills and accomplishments. Be positive, and emphasize how your background matches their job description.
Q. How well do you handle stress and pressure at work? Please give an example of how you overcame a stressful situation.
A. the correct answer is that you work well under pressure, and you enjoy working in an environment that is challenging. It’s good for the employer to know that you are an individual who has the capability to diffusing stress while working in demanding environments with deadlines.
Q. What are your greatest strengths?
A. This is a perfect opportunity to shine! Some topics to discuss could be; ability to communicate and work well with others, leadership/ management skills and experience, ability to adapt to new environments, ability to learn new skills, capabilities of dealing with stress and deadlines, etc..
Q. What are your greatest weaknesses?
A. This is a very important question. If you answer “no weaknesses” it appears that you are avoiding the question or you aren’t analytical enough to evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses. It is very important to give a strength that compensates for your weakness to help convert your weakness into a positive such as; “I’m normally a great “go-to” person at work and I love to help others so much that sometimes I find myself having to put in more hours in a week just to complete my required duties.” This is a perfect example of how my strong technical skills and ability to work with others compensates for my weakness.
Q. What are your current salary expectation?
A. The answer is simple, what do you make now and what do you honestly feel that your skills are worth? To determine a particular hourly rate or salary range, There are many “compensation calculators” available online to help you gauge not only what someone with your skills and years of experience should be making, but also the average compensation in different regions or the U.S. or the world!
If you over-price yourself, you may just be pricing yourself out of an opportunity and if you under-price yourself, you could be undermining your worth, enough so, that the employer may feel that something is wrong with you and will move on to other candidates. Before you interview, it is in your best interest to truly understand your worth!
Q. Do you have any questions?
A. Questions can be both good and bad. Usually on a phone interview there are questions you should and shouldn’t ask, such as:
Questions to ask employers during a phone interview:
– What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
– How will my leadership responsibilities and performance be measured? By whom?
– Who will review my performance? How often?
– What is the company’s plan for the next five years, and how does this department fit in?
– Could you describe your company’s management style and the type of employee who fits well within it?
– Who is the company’s competition? What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses compared to its competition?
– What is the company’s policy on providing education, workshops, and training so employees can keep up their skills or acquire new ones?
Questions NOT to ask during a phone interview:
– Will I have to work overtime?
– Are the working hours flexible?
– Can I work from home?
– Does this job require that I pass a Drug and Background check?
– How much does this position pay?
– What type of health insurance does the company offer?
– Is there public transportation in the company’s area?
– How many weeks of vacation time/ sick time do you offer?
Article by, Quality Over Quantity
Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching entry-level jobs and other career opportunities.
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