Telephone interview questions and answers

Telephone interviews can be a unique challenge, requiring quick thinking and concise responses without the benefit of face-to-face interaction. Prepare yourself for success with these common telephone interview questions and expert answers:

1) Why are you leaving your current position?

This question often kicks off the conversation, testing your ability to articulate your motivations on the spot. Prepare a brief, positive response that focuses on seeking new challenges or opportunities for growth. Avoid criticising your current employer or delving into excessive detail about your reasons for leaving.

Right answer: “I’m seeking new challenges that align more closely with my career goals. I’m particularly drawn to this position because it offers the opportunity to [mention specific aspect of the new role].”

Wrong answer: “I can’t discuss it for legal reasons…”

2) What were your main responsibilities in your last job?

Demonstrate your ability to discuss your previous roles confidently by having a copy of your CV nearby for reference. Expand on key responsibilities with specific examples and emphasise how they relate to the role you’re applying for. Avoid relying solely on what’s written on your CV; instead, provide additional insights and context.

Right answer: “In my previous role, I was responsible for [specific duty], where I [brief description]. This experience allowed me to develop strong skills in [relevant area], which I believe will be valuable in this position.”

Wrong answer: “Um, I made tea…”

4) What do you know about the company?

Showcase your research skills and enthusiasm for the role by providing a concise overview of the company and its mission. Utilise various sources, such as the company website and recent news articles, to gather relevant information. Demonstrate a genuine interest in the organisation’s values and goals.

Right answer: “I’ve researched the company extensively and I’m impressed by its commitment to [mention specific aspect, such as innovation or community involvement]. I admire how [company name] has [mention recent accomplishment or initiative].”

Wrong answer: “Not much, to be honest. I just need the job.”

4. What salary are you looking for?

Approach this question with honesty and a realistic salary range based on industry standards, your qualifications, and the responsibilities of the role. Avoid underselling yourself by conducting research on average salaries for similar positions. Leave room for negotiation but be prepared to justify your salary expectations.

Right answer: “Based on my experience and the responsibilities of the role, I’m seeking a salary in the range of [provide realistic range]. However, I’m open to discussing this further based on the specifics of the position.”

Wrong answer: “I don’t come cheap…”

5) What are your greatest achievements?

Highlight your accomplishments with specific examples that demonstrate your skills and contributions. Avoid vague or generic responses by quantifying your achievements and providing context for each one. Tailor your answers to align with the key attributes and requirements of the role you’re applying for.

Right answer: “One of my greatest achievements was [specific accomplishment], where I [brief description]. This experience allowed me to [mention skill or attribute] and resulted in [positive outcome, such as increased efficiency or cost savings].”

Wrong answer: “I can’t think of any right now…”

Approaching Telephone Interviews with Confidence

Telephone interviews may present unique challenges, but with thorough preparation and confident responses, you can navigate them successfully. Practice answering common questions, research the company, and have relevant documents and notes on hand. Stay calm, collected, and focused throughout the interview, and don’t forget to have a glass of water nearby to help keep your voice clear and composed. With the right mindset and preparation, you’ll be ready to ace your telephone interview and move one step closer to your career goals.