Top 10 Phone Interview Questions

Candidate answering phone interview questions in office

Evaluating and asking the right phone interview questions is a great way for your company to save time and money on the front end of the hiring process. They are an ideal way to screen candidates before you decide to invite them to an-person interview.

The key to interviewing candidates over the phone is to discover the deal breakers early. Asking just a few simple questions will reveal whether a candidate meets the basic requirements and is a fit for your company; they also reveal a candidate’s understanding of what the job entails. In return, the phone interview should also give candidates enough information about the position before they decide to move further into the process.

As you get ready for your phone interview, here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your time:

  • As you review resumes, look for overall patterns of accomplishments.
  • Before you pick up the phone, determine your ideal candidate profile.
  • Have a pen and notepad ready to take notes.
  • Create a scorecard for yourself, especially if you’re interviewing by yourself.
  • Write down the bullet points you want to discuss with each candidate.

Now that you’re ready, here are the phone screen interview questions to help you get to the right candidates:

1. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

When you’re asking phone interview questions, it’s important to always start with a brief introduction. Set the example by first introducing yourself, your company and some more details about the specific role. Next, use this question to allow the candidate to do the same. See if they explain why they’re looking for work and any other pertinent details (such as job gaps).

2. Why are you interested in working for this company?

This question is a quick way to find out if a candidate has done their research. You want to understand why a candidate is choosing to apply at your company and you want to make sure you’re dealing with someone who is dedicated to the company’s mission and in it for the long haul, versus someone who just wants a paycheck.

3. Can you elaborate on your skillset with an example?

Phone interview questions like this allow a candidate to talk about their experience using their skillset in the real world. Go over their resume and see if there’s a skillset mentioned that relates to the position. You want to understand the experience the candidate has with this specific skillset, and if it relates to the open position.

4. How has your work experience prepared you for this position?

Asking specific questions about work experience allows you to gain more detail on a candidate’s work background and their responsibilities and achievements in previous positions. However, you want to make sure that they focus on the experience which specifically prepares them for this job.

5. What are your salary expectations?

When asking phone screen interview questions, salary can always be an awkward topic to discus, but it’s important to know if the candidate’s salary expectations are in the same range as what you’re able to offer. Getting this delicate issue out of the way will prevent you from going through the interview process and being unable to reach an agreement at the end.

However, you should be prepared for candidates to ask about the salary during the call. Being more transparent about the pay range at this stage can help you to set expectations for candidates and filter out applicants who aren’t in your ballpark.

6. What type of workplace culture do you prefer?

This question gives you a quick snapshot of whether a candidate would be a bad culture fit. Look to the specific details they provide about their ideal workplace, and whether this would align with your workplace.

7. What do you hope to learn from this position?

It’s important to understand what a candidate is looking to gain in terms of career progression. If you can’t deliver, it’s unlikely they will stay at your company for very long.

8. What motivates you at your current position?

Asking this question will allow you to see how well the candidate knows themselves. Will they provide a well-crafted, natural explanation or will they be hesitant and unsure how to answer the question? It’s a great way of finding out if someone is a self-starter or needs motivation from others.

9. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Great phone interview questions should hone in on a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and whether they would align with the needs of the company. Here it’s important you make a match between what is needed for the job, and the credentials of the candidate.

10. Do you have any questions for me about the company or the position?

At the end of the interview, it’s important to create an open dialogue by asking if the candidate has any questions. This allows them to express any possible concerns, or to clarify any misunderstandings.

Use These Phone Interview Questions to Get to the Right Candidate

Looking to make your business even more successful? With the right preparation and questions, you can recruit and retain the right talent to make this happen. If you’re ready to hire right away, we’re ready to lend you a hand by posting your job for free.