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Home Questions Hiring Managers Will Ask During Phone Interview Plus Tips to Answer Like A Professional

Questions Hiring Managers Will Ask During Phone Interview Plus Tips to Answer Like A Professional

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We don't like surprises when it comes to job searches. Finding and landing the job you want is stressful enough. Adding an additional curveball to this equation doesn't help.


We'll make sure there are no surprises during the most difficult part of your job search, the phone interview. Here are some common questions that you may face during a phone interview and advice on how you can answer them.


  1. How did you find this role?


  1. Talk to me about yourself/Walk me through your resume.


  1. What do you know about our company?


  1. Are You Quitting Your Last Job?


  1. Describe what you do in your current role.


  1. What are you looking for in your next job?


  1. What Attracted you to this Company/Why are You Interested In This Role?


  1. What are your Salary Requirements?


  1. Which type of manager do you prefer to work with?


  1. Why are you the best candidate for the job?


  1. Are you willing to relocate?


  1. Where can you start?


  1. Are you able to answer any questions?


First, why are phone interviews a thing?

As you can see, phone interviews are very convenient. Angela Smith, a former recruiter and Muse career coach, points out that phone interviews can be very convenient.

What is the purpose of that phone call? It's usually very high-level: "They're screening to identify risks, they're trying validate your qualifications and they want to determine if you are a good fit," Tina Wascovich, Muse career coach, says. She says, "Who do you think you are, what do your knowledge about us [and] why would you like to work here?"



It's possible that you will be asked questions specific to your job or field. You will be asked these questions in a telephone interview more often than you might think.


How did you find this role?

Two reasons someone might ask you this question are: they're curious (this information could be helpful in refining their recruitment process), and they want you to explain why you applied and how it led you to this position (which we'll also cover later in the question "Why did you want this job?"). This information can be very important for interviewers if you found the job in a unique way (e.g. through a personal connection).

How to Answer it

It's easy: just tell us where you found it (via LinkedIn, job boards, or through a network contact) and what motivated you to apply.

For example, I heard of an opening in [department] from a friend. Since I am a huge fan of your work, and have been following for a while, I decided that it would be a great job for me to apply."


Talk to me about yourself/Walk me through your resume.

Smith says that asking this question helps to connect you with the job. Sometimes, the person interviewing will not be the hiring manager, but a recruiter or HR professional with little knowledge of your field. They may not have any context about what makes your resume a good match.

She adds that "for people with a diverse background or who have worked in random jobs, it can be difficult for the person looking at the resume to make these connections."

How to Answer it

Wascovich points out, "Tell me all about yourself in relation to the job you are currently interviewing for."

Focus on the most relevant skills and experiences. You can simplify your answer by using the "Present-Past-Future" formula. Start by describing where you are now and what you do. Next, go on to describe what you have done in the past. Finally, give a brief description of what you want to do in the future and how it relates with this job. 


What do you know about our company?

Interviewers want to know if your research has been done. Anybody can apply for an open job posting that interests them. The ideal candidate will be passionate about their company and its values.

How to Answer it

Don't just recite their "About" page. Instead, choose one or two characteristics that you find appealing about the organization, such as their mission, product, brand, and company culture. Describe why you admire them and give an example of how they relate to you.

If you were applying for The Muse, you might say, "I have been reading your career advice articles since years and I love your mission to help people build careers that they are passionate about." I have spent the last 10 years in a job I hated before finding my niche in sales. I think it would be a great experience to share my experiences with others and help them find their dream careers.


Are You Quitting Your Last Job?

Although it may seem like an interviewer is looking for dirt, there's a bigger purpose to the question. The reason you quit your previous job and how you talked about it can tell a lot about you work ethic.

You shouldn't be ashamed to admit that you were fired. It's not something to be ashamed of or take on your own responsibility to get fired or laid off. It's more impressive to impress an interviewer if you can overcome it professionally and proactively.

How to Answer it

If you are fired or let go, there is no need to dig too deep. Interviewers don't like to hear about the unpleasant details. They want to see what you have learned from this experience. Simply state "I was fired for [reason]" to explain how it has helped you become a better, more competent employee.

You may be moving on because you aren't growing or you don't like your boss. Instead, focus on what you want to do in the next job.

You could, for example, say that you have been in project management for many years and love what I do. However, I would love to use my skills to the tech world and this job would be the ideal opportunity.


Describe what you do in your current role.

This provides context to the interviewer in order for them to gain a better understanding of your skills and expertise. This also shows how well you communicate your value proposition. As Wascovich pointed out, "If I can't explain what you do on a daily basis then why should you hire me?"

How to Answer it

Focus on the "what" and not the "how". What does your role contribute to the company's goals or team? What makes your work more efficient and effective? Which skills have you acquired in your current role and how can they be an asset for your company?


What are you looking for in your next job?

Smith says that this question "sets expectations...in terms of how this person's going in here and what they're going to do for our company and what we want them to do for us." In an ideal world, your goals and the roles should align.


Interviewers will also be impressed by your answers. This is a sign that you are a long-term candidate. You may want to move up and grow in the next few years while you have little mobility. This will help both you and your hiring manager avoid bad matches.

How to Answer it

"If you are already employed and looking for a new job, it is because you feel there is something lacking. It's fine to be open about it. Smith says there is a way to do it without shaming anyone or making ill of your employer."

She suggests that you try the following approach: "I'm at an age in my career when I'm really looking to more X." You could also say, "I believe that I have really honed skill X and am therefore excited to pursue Y."


What Attracted you to this Company/Why are You Interested In This Role?

Similar to the previous questions, interviewers ask this question because they want to know if the applicant did their research and care about them. They don't want to hear, "I need work and this job seemed great."

How to Answer it

You must have something that attracted you to the job or company, other than money and perks.

Smith suggests Smith: "Take a moment to look at the company website, press releases or job description. You might be able to draw out some specific items to the company...something that can personalize the information for their recruiter a bit so it's not overly generic." Next, you can connect this to your career path, experience, and goals.


What are your Salary Requirements?

Although it might seem presumptuous at first, interviewers often ask for this during phone interviews to quickly eliminate candidates who are out of their budget.

Many times, recruiters receive a fixed amount per job. Instead of bringing a candidate through the entire process just to find out their salary, they want to make sure the candidate is happy with the offer they have.

How to Answer it

This isn't a trick question. Neither will being too high put you out of the race. You'll need to do your research and come up with a number that is appropriate for the job.

Smith says, "Find out the market's price for your area and then determine where you fall within that range based upon your experience and education."

The stage you are at in the process will impact how you talk about salary. You might be better off keeping your answers vague if this is your first phone screen. You'll be better positioned to negotiate the salary you desire later.


Which type of manager do you prefer to work with?

Like many other questions, this one is about fit. Success is dependent on the relationship between the manager and employee. The interviewer wants to make sure that you are able to get along with your potential boss and can work well together. We all want to work with a manager that we like.

Smith explained, "If I know the manager tends towards being a bit more hands-on and someone comes into and says they don't like micromanagers, or that they prefer a manager who trusts them to do their jobs and back off, it might not work."

She says that it won't affect their decision not to bring you back, but that "it's just an additional data point that I could share with whoever is making the final decision."

How to Answer it

"Don't try and answer the question in the way you think they want it to be answered. Smith says to be honest. You can give examples of good managers or management styles that you like, if it helps you to craft a great answer. Avoid mentioning negative feedback about former bosses and leaders.


Why are you the best candidate for the job?

Many people can be qualified for one job, even though they are all written qualifications. Interviewers are looking to find the best candidates for a job. This question allows them to narrow down their search to those who will stand out.

How to Answer it

This question allows you to show off what makes you unique outside of your application. You can do it!

What is the one thing that no one else brings to the table? This could be your past experience, passion, skill, alignment with company culture, or simply your determination to solve a problem. This approach can be used to answer the question "Why should I hire you?"


Are you willing to relocate?

Interviewers will use this question to determine if a candidate is a good fit for their company based solely on their location. They may allow you to work remotely, or pay for your relocation, if you are truly a good fit. However, this is something they will consider when deciding between two outstanding candidates.

How to Answer it

Simply tell them if you are not available in the area that you would like to apply for the job. If the situation is more complex, be clear and concise about your situation. Make sure to emphasize how important you are for the job.

Example: "My children just started school, so we wouldn’t be able relocate until their year ends. This role is exciting to me, and I would be willing to work remotely if that's possible.


Where can you start?

Sometimes, a hiring manager must fill a job right away. They'd prefer to hire you if you are available immediately. They will still ask for this information if they aren't in a rush to hire the right person.

How to Answer it

Smith says, "If you are not working, you can tell the employer that you're available whenever you need me," and that's always a good answer. If you have to give notice at work, are on vacation, or have other time constraints, you can either say "I will be available for X days/weeks" or "I can begin anytime after [date].


Do you have any questions for me?

The interviewer is genuine in wanting to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have. You're interviewing them just as much as you are interviewing yourself!

However, the questions they ask will also reveal your values and expertise. So make sure you are thoughtful and specific to the person, company and role you are speaking with.

How to Answer it

You should prepare at least two to three questions about the company, role, team dynamics, future managers, and company culture. You can even jot down any questions you have while you talk to them. This will let them know that you are paying attention and adapting your answers accordingly.


Smith says that it's a good idea, after you have finished the call, to ask the interviewer what the next steps are. It can be as simple to ask, "What's the next step in this process?" "When can you expect me to hear from your next?"

It is important to practice your responses as soon as you can so that you are ready to answer these questions. It is easier to answer these questions confidently if you do your research on the company and interviewer.

Smith points out that you don't always know what kind of interview you will be getting when you go into a phone interview. This could be your first screening call or your only interview. This could be with the third-party recruiter or the direct hiring manger. You'll want to make an impression with everyone, so be sure to follow these tips for phone interviews and complete this cheat sheet before each interview.


If you need more assistance with interview questions, this articles in our blog page  will help you figure out the questions you'll be asking and contain common interview questions for any situation.

Questions Hiring Managers Will Ask During Phone Interview Plus Tips to Answer Like A Professional
Yves Lafleur Jr

Yves Lafleur Jr is an administrator at Unified Career.