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Phone Interview Questions to Ask the Interviewer

by Interview Kickstart Team in Interview Questions
March 3, 2021

Phone Interview Questions to Ask the Interviewer

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How To Nail Your Next Tech Interview

Hosted By
Ryan Valles
Founder, Interview Kickstart
Our tried & tested strategy for cracking interviews
How FAANG hiring process works
The 4 areas you must prepare for
How you can accelerate your learnings
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In today's digital age, where you have access to video calls, a phone interview remains a prominent part of the hiring process. While you might prepare for the questions they ask, the tables may turn. Towards the end, the interviewer might ask you if you have any questions. 

Many people commit the mistake of saying - 'no questions'. Well, don't be that person!

It is paramount for you to ask the right questions. But where do you begin? What should you ask? Don't you worry, we've got you covered.

If you're looking for questions to ask in a phone interview, you'll learn about everything you need to know regarding the process and how you can ace it.

Here's what this article will cover:

  1. Why Employers Conduct Phone Interviews
  2. Prepare to Answer Interview Questions
  3. Questions to ask in a phone interview
  4. Additional Phone Screening Questions
  5. How to impress the hiring manager in the Phone interview

Why Employers Conduct Phone Interviews

A phone interview is one of the best ways to shortlist potential candidates for the job. It saves the company's valuable time and resources. Correlatively, it benefits the applicant similarly as they don't necessarily have to commute for the interview or reschedule the day. 

It enables the interviewer to gauge the capabilities of a person in their comfort zone. There are often some questions that are too straightforward for a face-to-face interview. Hence, conducting a phone interview opens a gateway to ask such questions. Both of the participating parties have the full benefit of this aspect as they can ask questions to each other for better communication.

For an enterprise, phone screening questions enable them to test a person's merit and see if they are indeed suitable for the job to carry on with the next step. As an applicant, you get an opportunity to learn more about the enterprise through a personal connection. You can explore beyond what's available to you in the books, brochures, or other sources. 

Furthermore, it allows an interviewer to judge whether the person is genuinely interested in the company and the position or not. If you don’t have any questions to ask in a phone interview, you run the risk of appearing to be a 'mediocre' applicant. It will shift your name to other 'standard' or 'typical' applicants for the procedures. More than how you answered their questions, asking them the right question could be your ace in the hole.

Prepare to Answer Interview Questions

Before you start asking the questions, you will have to answer their questions first. If you're unsure about how to prepare,  here are some technical phone screen interview tips:

  • Practice Mock Answers:

The first step to succeeding in anything is practicing for it. You might want to search for some questions. Thanks to the digital age, it's easier to find almost everything on the internet. Use it to your advantage, prepare the questions they might ask you, and answer them. 

Alternatively, you can ask a friend to pose as an interviewer and help you with these questions. This is a good practice if you lack confidence or command over your speech. 

  • Prepare The List: 

Of course, you already have a list of all the typical phone interview questions they might ask you. However, this list is the answer sheet. That's right. You might want to prepare a notepad or accumulate pages that have pointers for each of your answers. 

How does it help? You will provide a more concise answer, and it could help with your thought process while answering. You could come off as a well-versed individual who thoroughly prepares. They might get an idea that you prepared for this process, but that's a positive factor. It can make you appear as a resourceful or meticulous individual.

  • Keep The Essential Documents: 

Many of the telephone interview questions will be related to the information you provided them in the form of a resume and other essential documents. Therefore, it's a wise choice if you can prepare the same papers for yourself. Like preparing the questions and a notepad for answers, records will enable you to keep track of what they know.

If you don't want to get into the hectic process, you can combine it and practice mock answers. You will memorize them better.  

  • Don't Read The Answers:

Eliminate the chance of sounding like a robot or a machine. You're not looking to pass a test by giving answers but establish an impression. These answers are a way for them to learn about your personality and traits. Therefore, you need to be in your natural state, even if that state is a little anxious.

When you have the list of the questions, notepads, and documents, it might tempt you to read the answer. If you do that, it will certainly give them the impression that you have a list. They can change the questions or get uninterested in the interview. Nobody wants to risk that. Therefore, make sure to be calm and give the answers naturally.  

  • Discipline Yourself: 

Ensure that you're in a room that's far from any disturbance or ruckus.

Don't drink, smoke, or act goofy and aloof during the interview. You have to be calm and composed. Sure, you can give them an impression of your true personality, but don't overdo it. They are working professionals with limited time, and if you show them that you value their time and attention, it will bear you positive results. 

As a final phone interview tip, expect the possibility of a complete change in the questions. Although it is a rare occurrence, some interviewers might ask a different set of questions. Don't be alarmed though, just go with the flow and answer them naturally and to the best of your capability.

Questions to ask in a phone interview

It's vital to pose at least two or three questions that are not related to 'payment or salary' in any manner. Most of the time, an interviewer is seeking someone interested to work with the company. Therefore, money should be the last thing on your mind, especially since you can save that question for the interview's final phase.

You need to appear eager to work or learn about the company. A subtle hint of excitement can tip the results in your favor. Here are some of the questions to ask the recruiter during a phone interview:

What Are The Future Goals Of The Company?

Starting your line of questions with this is a great way to learn about the company's potential and future. You can get a quick overview of their goals and if it is a perfect platform for you. It is similar to "Where do you see yourself in five years?" that interviewer asks an applicant.  

What Are The Career Opportunities For This Position In The Company?

If you can place this question at the right time, you can show them that you're a career-driven person. It can help you appear as a 'go-getter' or someone seeking to advance. Looking eager is a great idea. 

You will also learn about the position better and what you can expect in the company. It helps you prepare better for the job. 

However, make sure that you're setting the tone right. If the interviewer cannot relate to the question, they might think you are an opportunity-grabber who will leave the company on the first best offer. 

Who Would You Define As a Successful Person In This Role? 

This is a better alternative to asking, 'What are the qualities you're looking for?' or anything else in a similar spectrum. You can get an idea of what the company perceives as an ideal and successful candidate for the role. 

Furthermore, it eliminates the risk of you appearing like a person who didn't conduct enough research on the role and the company. If you get the answer, it will enable you to set the right goals. Often, you can gauge the expectation of the company and determine whether the job is for you or not. 

What Are Your Expectations From The Person In This Job Position?

Admittedly, this is a little vague but opens up a chance for you to get some follow-ups. You can get answers to some common phone interview questions like how many days a week you will be working.  

Almost all of us need vacations. So you can follow up with a question regarding vacation leaves, travels, and other similar processes. It's good a to get an idea about what to expect for the holidays. You don't want to end up working rigorously without a break, after all. 

Could You Give A Little Overview Of How A Day Goes For A Person In This Position?

Of course, if they have answered your previous question, there is no need for you to follow up with this question. That's the beauty of an earlier question, so many loose ends. If that doesn't provide you clear answers, this question certainly will.

Here you are looking to get an answer about what kind of work is to be expected. Sometimes they may brush over the answer. While you can't insist, you can determine if it can get shady or not. It's a great question if you are unsure about joining the company. 

What Might Be The Most Challenging Part For This Role?

This is yet another brilliant choice among telephone interview questions that you can use as a follow-up. It can also show that you are considering the challenges and preparing to overcome them. 

Many companies sugar-coat the challenges. This question is the equivalent of 'What are your weaknesses?' that an interviewer asks you. Therefore, it is a good question and shows that you're confident. 

What Is It That You Like Or Enjoy About The Company? 

Try to level up your field with the interviewer and attempt a personal approach. If you ask this question, you can get a little personal. You can phrase it with something like, "Alright, well, I got enough about the company. Can I ask you something a little more personal, one employee to another? 

If you don't want to establish a rapport, it's fine. You can directly ask the question and get the answer. 

What Do You Think About The Overall Culture Of The Company?

Pose this question if you didn't get a clear answer from the previous one. It is certainly a common but equally effective choice from the list of questions to ask during a phone interview. If you managed to form the 'rapport' and get a little 'personal' with the interviewer, you could learn better about the company.

If they are unhappy with the job, you will learn about it. Many people will highlight the positive aspect. However, there's no place without something negative. If they tell you all pros and no cons, they are most likely hiding something.  

Would You Like Me To Be More Collaborative Or Independent? 

If you are more concerned about your performance, career, and success, this could be a good question. Many people are anxious about whether they should be a team player or a lone wolf during the job. This question will give you a good idea regarding what the company expects. 

They might even give you a complete guideline telling you to follow certain protocols or maintain decorum. This is a great way to get a sneak peek into the 'work culture' you asked about previously. 

Who Would The Person In This Role Report to? 

Get to know the hierarchy, the chain of command. They might tell you a certain position, and it will enable you to determine where in the company you would stand as you begin. Often, some companies make a job sound big, like 'Assistant Manager.' 

However, there's no point if that position is the first promotion anyone can get in the company. Learning the promotion order allows you to understand where you will get. If you can correlate this question to the one regarding career opportunities and a successful person for the role, you can get a roadmap to success in the company.  

Is There A Retirement Package That The Company Offers?

This is a great question that shows you're looking for a long-term role while also reflecting your commitment.

What Kind Of Opportunities Should A Person Expect For Growth In The Company?

Another question that can help you learn about promotions and other similar opportunities in the company. If they say that it depends on the amount of work you put, then perhaps reviewing what they deem as a successful person would be a good choice.

This is the right question to ask the interviewer on a phone interview if you don't have too much time. It can give you a brief overview of the company's work culture, expectations, and much more. In simple words, it is a single question packed with many branching questions. 

Are There Training And Workshop Opportunities For Employees Seeking Improvements? 

Try to ensure that you can get to ask this question in some way. Why is this such a good question? Because it shows you are not just looking for career growth and opportunities, but you're willing to work for it. It establishes the 'go-getter' attitude they might be looking for. 

Additionally, it shows that you are most likely planning to stick with the company if you rely on their training and workshops to learn something and excel. Overall, this is the best question with virtually no chance of backfiring. 

Additional Phone Screening Questions

This segment has some other phone interview questions that might not be as unique but certainly appeal to the interviewer. Some of these are less used or a little risky, while others may be perfect for ending questions. Here's a quick overview of each one: 

Where Is The Last Person On The Post?

This is a difficult question that could either offend the company or give you an idea about the promotions and career opportunities if the person thrived in the company. 

Is There A Healthcare Or Dental Package? 

Depending on where you live, these could be a real lifesaver and something every company should offer as perks. 

You can even ask about vacation or travel packages, among any other benefit or perk that comes to your mind. The best way is to prepare a list. 

May I Provide You A List Of References? 

If you want to reinforce your chances, you can keep something you didn't provide them with the initial application. A list of references sounds the best. It could help them see you as someone who has more than they are offering. 

A positive list of references also works to assure your excellence and expertise in the field. 

Would You Like To Ask Me Anymore Questions? 

This is a polite way to end your series of questions and give them the command again. Sometimes, they may have some questions but might not ask them if you don't provide them with an opening. If you're unsure and think that they might have additional questions, prompt this. 

What Is The Next Step After This Interview?

This showcases that you're satisfied and ready to move forward with the selection process.

Could I Schedule An In-Person Interview At Your Convenience?

It's almost like a sales pitch and works as a subtle form of manipulation to incline them for scheduling an in-person meeting. You can get a good idea about where they stand. Because if they are unsure, they will most likely 'get back to you' or give another similar answer. 

When Would You Expect Me To Join After Selection?

It shows that you're someone with a plan. Additionally, it gives the impression that you're ready to join and waiting for their confirmation. This could either work in your favor or work opposite if they are unsure about your selection. Therefore, once you get the interviewer's idea, this is a question to ask in the end. It tells you about when they would expect the person to join. 

How to impress the hiring manager in the Phone interview

Asking the right phone interview questions can make a positive impact on the interviewer. You seek to stand out, and many candidates fail to ask the right questions. It's not that challenging, but many people don't understand the crucial point of asking the question. 

Don't think of these questions as something irrelevant, but a valuable asset for you to showcase the other side of your personality. Most of the questions that an interviewer asked were to give them an idea about your 'obedient' side. It wasn't the take-charge attitude or a willingness to take the initiative they gauged. They scraped your ability to compromise, communicate, adjust, and adapt according to their questions.

However, now that you're asking the question, you can take charge of the communication. It would enable you to show them that you're willing to go the extra mile. Furthermore, it allows you to learn a lot about the company, work culture, and expectations as you work for them. Be confident, and don't be hesitant to ask the right questions. It's your right as the person seeking prospects in the career path. 

Hopefully, the above-given telephone interview tips and questions give you a good idea to grasp the situation. 


How To Nail Your Next Tech Interview

Hosted By
Ryan Valles
Founder, Interview Kickstart
Our tried & tested strategy for cracking interviews
How FAANG hiring process works
The 4 areas you must prepare for
How you can accelerate your learnings

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