8 Common Phone Interview Questions with Answers

Telephone interviews have become more popular over recent years with employers who are recruiting for roles. Using phone interviews helps recruiters to save time and lower the costs of the recruitment process, It also helps them to eliminate the weaker candidates that have applied for positions more quickly.

A lot of recruiters use phone interviews for their initial screening process and first interviews, and then conduct any second stage interviews face to face.

A telephone interview can be harder to do than face to face interviews, it can be harder over the telephone to develop a personal rapport with the interviewer as there is no face to face contact to read body language.

Phone interviews can be shorter in length, this means candidates have less time to impress and sell themselves for the position. It is vital candidates ensure they prepare example answers before the interview, and they make a list of the main points they want to get across during the interview. By having example answers for possible questions at the ready, it  can help ease a candidates nerves as it can avoid them going blank when asked a question (as the candidate can refer to their prepared sheet for their answer.)

Top 8 Phone interview questions and how to answer them

Below are 8 interview questions you can expect when having a telephone interview and suggestions of how to provide a full answer to each.

What do you know about the company?

Ensure that you have done your research into the company and can provide information that you know about them. Being able to provide information about the products or services they offer, their main customers, how long the business has been operating for, number of employers or sites and the company culture, shows that you have taken an interest before the interview to find out as much as you can about the company.

Tell me about yourself?

This question is popular with interviewers as it is an open-ended question for the candidate to discuss themselves.

The best way to tackle this question is to stay focused and talk about career history and why you are looking for a new role, fresh challenge, new career path, (Remember its wise not to go  too far back – unless asked specifically!). You can provide basic information about your personal life if you wish to, such as where you live and who with, but try to focus mainly on work and career aspects, the interviewer isn’t interested about where you went to primary school and who your best friend was!

Why do you want the job?

Explain how the role will suit you and your skills and refer back to the person specification and job advert. Talk about previous experience and skills you have that are relevant to the job you are being interviewed for, and provide examples that you can that relate to the job.

What is your greatest strength?

Ensure that the strength you choose to answer with, is a skill required for the job you are interviewing for. Give examples of how you have excelled at this skill within previous roles and that you are looking forward to being able to bring these skills into a new role.

What would you say is your main weakness?

When looking to answer these types of questions, it is best to look for something that relates to your skill base and is real to yourself. Once you have explained what your weakness is, provide information on how you are planning to overcome this weakness. By providing information on improvement it will help to impress the interviewer as it shows that you are open minded and ready to overcome problems.

Why did you leave your last job?

There may be a very easy explanation for moving jobs roles, these can include the end of a fixed-term contract, redundancy or relocation, or there may be more complex issues such as conflict with your boss, bullying or harassment issues or no career development opportunities. During an interview always try to be as positive about leaving any position as you can be.  Do not get into a discussion where you are being negative about a previous company or manager.

Focus on the positive and say that you left for career progression and you are looking to advance your career in the way that the role you are being interviewed for will offer.

How do you cope with or manage conflict? 

Try with this question to have an example already prepared, explain how you have managed conflict in a previous role and provide information on who the conflict was with, it could have been with a colleague or a manager but it is important to provide as much information on the issue and how you dealt with it, so the interviewer can get an idea as to the type of person you are.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Candidates responses to this question will vary a lot. By asking this question the interviewer wishes to see how you see yourself and your career in the future. They are looking to see if you will fit in with the company culture and goals. When answering this question be honest, but avoid coming across as too ambitious wanting to be top boss in a few years, or lacking any goals by not having targets.

If you would like any further information or assistance on this subject (or any other HR topics) please get in touch with us on 0121 516 0299 or email at info@cloverhr.co.uk


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