You’ve begun your job search, and have gotten a request for a phone interview! If it’s been a while since you’ve had one, here are some of the common phone interview questions, and how our experienced recruiters suggest answering them:
Tell me a little about yourself.
Focus on keeping your response professional, and don’t get too personal unless it is applicable to the role you are interviewing for. You don’t need to mention family, marital status, children, politics or religion.
Tie in your personal strengths to the functions of the role. Give examples of how they match up. For instance, you might highlight how you are organized, and you might mention how you reorganized your organization’s systems.
Do mention some activities you enjoy doing outside of work that relates to and shows your passion for your work. Some examples might be writing blogs, studying new technologies or going to training in your field.
Why are you looking for a new job opportunity?
Discuss a desire to learn a new talk or grow a skill set. Do not say anything negative about your current or previous employers or managers. Focus on something positive that you want to do or want to continue doing that is relative to the position you applied for.
What are your main responsibilities at your current or last job position?
Highlight some duties and responsibilities that are relevant to the new role. Discuss what you specifically did in the role versus statements using “we did…”.
What’s your biggest strength/weakness?
Think of attributes that you have that would be beneficial to the role, such as communication skills, organizational skills, documentation, flexibility, etc. Highlight how your personal traits make you an asset to the company, and back up your strengths with examples. Weakness is a tough one because the interviewer is trying to get you to admit to a flaw. Some people try and turn it around saying they have no work-life balance because they are a workaholic; many interviews do not buy that line. As long as your weakness does not interfere with your ability to perform the essential job functions well, it would be fine to admit you are not completely perfect. For instance, if the company had complete flexibility in hours, you might admit that you are not an early morning person, and do your best work into the evening. You don’t want to reveal anything that will raise red flags.
Where do you see yourself in X years?
Do not tell the interviewer you want to be in his/her job, or that you want to be the CEO/CIO of the company or in a completely different industry altogether. Be realistic in your career goals. Be honest, and don’t lie. Stress your desire to learn and grow into a long term career in the company which you are applying.