4 Crucial Questions to Ask in a Phone Interview

By Adam Robinson,
October 8, 2013

Ahh the trusty phone interview! The initial contact you have with the candidate who could potentially one day be a fellow coworker. Many hiring managers struggle with the phone interview because they aren’t sure what to ask and what the protocol is.

Consistency is key when conducting telephone interviews and you want to make sure to you ask the same questions during every meeting. Here are 4 crucial phone interview questions that should be included in your script.

1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This question is a no-brainer for evaluating the candidate’s long term plan, but it also measures their speech and initial attitude in the interview. It’s a good starting question that gives the interviewer a good idea of what the candidate is looking for in the job.

You should score the candidate well on the question if they have a well thought out plan that displays their motivation.

2. What 3 words would your last supervisor use to describe you?

As an interesting question by itself, this phone interview question gets the candidate to think honestly about how their previous boss would discuss their past behavior. This question is especially useful when the candidate knows their references will be checked at a later date.

A good answer would not include the usual adjectives found in any “How to Get the Job” book like: Optimistic, motivated, and or hard working. Instead look for answers that match the job description’s duties.

3. What is the biggest misperception people have of you?

This is Hireology CEO Adam Robinson’s favorite interview question. It generally catches candidates off guard and they have to spend some time thinking about their answer. 

Good answers include a complete explanation about the misperception and how the candidate works to correct people’s thinking.

4. What about this job are you most interested in?

This question judges two things: First, if the candidate actually read the job decription and second if they have the skills necessary to complete the job.

Score the candidate higher if they touch on main points from the job description and emphasize their experience in these categories.

Want more on phone interviews? Download our guide to everything Phone Interviews, from what to ask, to how to score.

About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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