Phone Interview Questions With Answers

The days of interviewing potential employees in a face-to-face setting are seemingly gone. We’ve entered the mobile working age, and with that comes the mobile vetting process. The majority of interviews have moved to phone and Zoom calls. So, has anything about the interview process changed? What phone interview questions can help you find the perfect candidate?

Simply put, interviewing is still interviewing. Sure, you cannot read a person’s body language (unless you are doing it via video call), but you can still ask the pivotal answers. You can still tell a person’s overall employee-worth via their voice. It doesn’t take a psychologist to conduct a phone interview with successful results.

Also, phone interviews may only be the start of the hiring process. If you plan on bringing the candidate in for a face-to-face interview after this step, keep things quick and efficient.

Therefore, here are phone interview questions to ask before taking the hiring process to the next level.

Simple Phone Interview Questions to Ask

First and foremost, introduce yourself and your position with the organization. Thank the candidate for taking the time to participate in the phone interview. The interview should be pleasant and the candidate should feel comfortable.

Nothing makes a candidate feel worse than treating them like they are taking up your valuable time. We live in the era of the Great Resignation. Candidates know their worth and need to be treated as valuable. Always thank them for their time.

Can You Briefly Discuss Your Work Experience?

Here, you allow candidates to express their communication skills and discuss their qualifications for the position. Don’t interrupt. Give candidates time to talk.

Are they effective communicators? Do they highlight their work experience and effectively get to the point? How confident are they in their abilities?

Answer:

Candidates should always review their resume prior to a phone interview. Their answers should be brief, concise and to-the-point. For instance, they should mention a strong point from each job and how it relates to the current position they are interviewing for.

Including specific examples is always a plus. This means they understand how their work specifically applies to the job you’re hiring for. It shows that they’ve done the research on your position. Also, including team achievements over personal gains is a plus. If the candidate speaks of what they accomplished with their coworkers, it shows a commitment to teamwork.

Answer Example:

I have a strong work history and am very committed to companies I work with. For example, in company XYZ, I increased sales by 80% with analytical marketing. Additionally, in company TCB, my sales team found gaps in relationship marketing and we increased sales for the organization by 120%.

Why Are You Leaving Your Current Position?

Is the candidate a committed worker?

It’s obvious that brief positions or job hopping is a concern on a resume. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always tell the whole story. Make sure to give them the chance to explain why they left their current job or why they have moved so frequently.

Answer:

Candidates should always have acceptable reasons on why they are leaving their current position. Red flag answers include, “I had problems with management” or “there were no opportunities for growth.”

Ultimately, their answer can show their core values and what they bring to your company’s culture. If they left their last position because they didn’t feel valued, that shows you that they require a work culture that is positive. This can be a good sign of an employee’s values, depending on the answer.

Overall, these answers could provide insight to the future of the candidates. For example, having problems with management shows the inability to solve conflicts. Additionally, when candidates say they had no opportunities for growth, most likely their previous management team did not see them ready for growth. Here are two examples of acceptable answers to the question.

Answer Example:

My previous position was a temporary contract position with a set end date. The project was completed, and we finished our term.

The company I currently work for is fantastic. In fact, they are sad to see me go, but respect my decision.  After four years growing with the organization, I’ve decided I want a change in the industry I work in. Your organization seems like an ideal fit for the industry that I’d like to get into.

How Do You Address Disagreements With Someone?

It’s important to understand how candidates handle difficult situations. The fact is, we all have disagreements. By asking this question, companies can have an insight on how professionally the candidate will respond to conflict.

Answer:

Candidates should be able to explain how they would address disagreements. For example, would they request a one-on-one to discuss their disagreement? Or would they avoid difficult conversations?  Candidates should provide their approach and give examples of how their approach was successful in the past.

Also, keep an eye (or ear) out for what the disagreements were about. A great candidate should not get into specifics and throw a previous peer under the bus, but they may state why the disagreement happened. This example may give you some insight on what they deem to be inappropriate or debilitating behavior.

Answer Example:

Unfortunately, disagreements are inevitable. I look at disagreements as opportunities for improvement.  When I disagree with someone, I like to request an individual meeting. I compliment their position with respect and then convey my position in a professional manner. Furthermore, I convey my position as an opportunity for improvement. Afterwards, I make sure that if they don’t agree with my position, our mutual goal is to work together towards the success of a common goal.

What Is Your Ideal Job and Environment? What Do You Value in Your Job?

How does the candidate fit in with your company’s culture?

Look, culture is not only important for a proficient workspace, but it is also important for the hiring process. Candidates want to work for a company that has a strong and positive culture. Company’s want to hire candidates that have a strong and positive attitude. It’s an equal tradeoff.

The Department of Economics at the University of Warwick found that happy workers are 12% more productive than average ones. So, what will make the candidate happy?

Answer:

Keep in mind what exactly you are looking for in an employee. What cultural values do you want them to have?

The candidate should want to grow, be a part of the team and be flexible. They should show this by explaining to you what they desire in the workplace. Not only does this show their attitude and commitment as a candidate, but it also shows you if you are able to provide them with that they are looking for. After all, you want to be able to make each other happy.

Answer Example:

My ideal job is one where I can continue to grow. I want to consistently improve and have the room to take on bigger challenges.

I value a workplace that is inclusive, has room to grow and has goals that we can reach.

Why Should We Hire You?

Ask candidates to explain why they are best qualified for the position. By asking this question, companies can identify key strengths from the candidates and how they will be a benefit to the organization.

Answer:

Candidates must be able to highlight their experience related to the position. In addition, candidates should emphasize on their personality and how they would be the ideal cultural fit.

Confidence is key. Sure, being too braggadocios can be a bit of a deterrent. Is the candidate confident in their abilities? Are they second guessing themselves on being a fit for your organization?

Answer Example:

I believe I would be the ideal fit because I have extensive experience in the specifics of the job description. With my background, I’m confident I will be able to meet and exceed expectations. Furthermore, I have a positive, can-do attitude and look forward to connecting with the rest of the team. I’m very excited about the opportunity and can’t wait to get started!

What Are Some Interview Questions You Have for Us?

Phone interviews can be a strange thing. It can be difficult to interrupt or get a word in edgewise. Make sure to allow the candidate the time to ask you questions. They may have wanted to stay polite by letting you speak, and didn’t get to interject with inquiries of their own.

Answer:

Having solid questions shows you that the candidate has researched your company and has true interest in the role. While it’s not entirely necessary for a candidate to have questions, it is a great sign of their dedication and work ethic.

Red flags surround certain questions, though. If the candidate asks how soon they can be promoted, or focus entirely on pay, they may only be in it for the paycheck.

Consequently, you are looking for candidates to ask questions about work culture, room to grow and overall goals.

Conclusion

Phone interview questions should be designed to screen candidates quickly and effectively. By asking these simple questions, companies can effectively identify the right candidates for their hiring needs.

If things go well here, and protocols permit, then it’s time to bring them in for an in-person interview where things can be discussed further.

Phone interviews lack the integration of body language, so treat it as such. Keep an ear out for how prepared the candidate is, how effectively they speak and how active they are as a listener.

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Most importantly, we make sure all our candidates have a background in customer service.
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