As awkward as they can be, phone screenings are pretty relaxed since you're able to research and prepare for common phone interview questions ahead of time. Another perk? A virtual interview allows you to keep your notes out during the call. So if you do your homework and remember to stay confident, phone interviews are a lot less stressful than the alternative. To find out what exactly job seekers should anticipate, we looked at a study from Glassdoor that compiled the most common interview questions according to employers and interviewees alike.
From this list, we selected the standout prompts and decoded them to find out what kind of answers companies are looking for. The good news is that phone interviews are usually the first round of the hiring process. As such, the recruiter will start with more general, open-ended questions, so you probably don't have to worry about those offbeat hypothetical prompts just yet. Read through to find out the five most common phone interview questions and how to best answer them so you ace that first round.
The Question: "Tell me about yourself."
The Question Decoded: Consider this your opportunity to tell your story. You should also keep this part brief but thorough; it's sort of like your hook to engage them for the rest of the conversation. Mention your relevant experiences and include a personal anecdote that communicates your long-term goals and where you are today. It's helpful to allude to a common thread throughout, so even if your experiences don't seem cohesive, there's a general sense of growth toward a goal.
The Question: "Why are you interested in this role, and what makes you a good fit for it?"
The Question Decoded: Once you've given the interviewer a general sense of who you are, you should put it into the context of the role at hand. Expand upon your interests and expertise in the given field so the recruiter can gauge how you'll contribute to the company vision. For the first part of the question, you should emphasize your passion for the responsibilities of that given role, and for the latter, you'll explain your professional qualifications.
The Time to Shine
The Question: "Tell me about a time you succeeded or an accomplishment you're proud of."
The Question Decoded: This is where you get to talk about all your strengths. If you're a particularly humble person, this one can be difficult, but if there's ever been an appropriate time to toot your own horn, it's in the context of a job interview. Think of an innovative project you initiated that showcases your skills and demonstrates measurable results. You can also brainstorm some ideas from your educational experience if you can't think of a relevant accomplishment from work. That being said, try not to go overboard and spend too much time listing off your awards.
The Humility Test
The Question: "Tell me about a mistake you've made."
The Question Decoded: It helps us when we reframe the question like so: "How do you take constructive criticism? Are you resilient in the face of hardship and self-aware about what it will take to improve upon your weaknesses?" You don't want to tell a recruiter about your worst mistake that had calamitous repercussions. Instead, think of a smaller-scale slip-up that taught you a lesson. Try to see this question as a chance to demonstrate how you turned a setback into a lesson.
The Question: "Would you change anything about your current company or team?"
The Question Decoded: Similar to the previous question, the interviewer wants to know if you're able to provide well-intentioned constructive criticism. This isn't an invitation to insult your boss and bad-mouth current place of work. But you also want to be able to give an example of a time you saw room for improvement. It shows that you're a good problem-solver and are willing to collaborate to make your team stronger rather than being complacent when something isn't working well.
Did we leave out any other common phone interview questions? Let us know what others you've encountered in the comment section below.