Phone Interviews: Best Answers To 4 Common Questions

The phone interview is a gating process that attempts to weed out as many job seekers as possible so that the company only needs to spend time and effort interviewing the best of the best. Because of this, it’s incredibly important that you ace every phone interview so that you get invited to interview in person. Related: 3 Phone Interview Tips To Build Your Confidence Below are four common phone interview questions, along with what you should be including in answers that will move you forward to the next interview and the job offer:


1. “Tell me about yourself.”

Many job seekers fail this question because they take it as an icebreaker, and answer it with personal information such as family or hobbies. Do yourself a big favor and give an answer that focuses on the qualities or traits or experiences you have that will help you be successful in this role. For example: “I’ve worked in this field for 7 years, and I have experience doing X, Y, and Z. I’ve been recognized for A, B, and C.”

2. “Why are you interested in this job?”

Use your research on the company to give a specific answer to this question. Use this opportunity to tell them first that you’re interested because your skills are a great fit (point out 2-3 skills that are especially relevant and would benefit them) and then list about three reasons why working at this company would benefit you personally and professionally.

3. “Why are you leaving your current job?” or “Why did you leave your last job?”

Even though you probably didn’t leave your last job for positive reasons, it’s important that you answer this question in a positive way. Try to answer this question by telling them why this job appeals to you (“I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity”), rather than why you don’t want your previous job. If you must give a reason that you left, try to give them a reason that was a factor in your old job that won’t be in this one. Good choices would focus on the location or commute, travel time, or on something else that’s really a neutral answer rather than a negative one.

4. “What salary are you looking for?”

If HR interviews you, they may very well ask you about your salary requirements. They want to know if they can afford you before they introduce you to the hiring manager. Of course, try to avoid answering. If you must answer, say something along the lines of: “I’m sure that you’re offering an appropriate range for this position, and it won’t be a problem.” Then, turn the question back on them: “What range have you budgeted for this position?” They may tell you, and you can make a decision from there. Hint: As you prepare to answer phone interview questions, write down key points you want to make in your phone interview. This is a great phone interview cheat sheet for you that will make sure you are saying everything you need to in order to move forward. Get more information and help for your phone interviews in my ebook, How to Ace Your Phone Interview, available on Amazon.

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About the author

Career Coach - Peggy McKee is an expert resource and a dedicated advocate for job seekers. Known as the Sales Recruiter from Career Confidential, her years of experience as a nationally-known recruiter for sales and marketing jobs give her a unique perspective and advantage in developing the tools and strategies that help job seekers stand head and shoulders above the competition. Peggy has been named #1 on the list of the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters by HR Examiner, and has been quoted in articles from CNN, CAP TODAY, Yahoo! HotJobs, and the Denver Examiner. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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Inspiration lacking this Monday morning? On the job search and feeling blue? Stuck in a career you hate? Not sure what success means to you? You're not alone. Grab a nice, warm cup of coffee and let us help you out.

Light your inner fire with these inspirational career quotes:

What Are Professional Quotes? 

Professional quotes motivate and inspire you to become the best professional you can be in your career. They remind you that you can achieve what you want to achieve. What does success look like to you? If you ever need some inspiration, read these quotes...

What Are The Best Inspirational Quotes For Professionals?


  1. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." —Confucius
  2. “It's not what you achieve, it's what you overcome. That's what defines your career." —Carlton Fisk
  3. “Work to become, not to acquire." —Elbert Hubbard
  4. “Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it." —Katherine Whitehorn
  5. "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." —Michael Jordan
  6. "Failure doesn't mean you are a failure it just means you haven't succeeded yet." —Robert H. Schuller
  7. "The best way to predict the future is to create it." —Abraham Lincoln
  8. "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." —Thomas A. Edison
  9. "I think everyone should experience defeat at least once during their career. You learn a lot from it." —Lou Holtz
  10. "I want to look back on my career and be proud of the work, and be proud that I tried everything." —Jon Stewart
  11. "Dreams are extremely important. You can't do it unless you imagine it." —George Lucas
  12. "If you can DREAM it, you can DO it." —Walt Disney
  13. "Desire! That's the one secret of every man's career. Not education. Not being born with hidden talents. Desire." —Johnny Carson
  14. "I can not do everything, but I can do something. I must not fail to do the something that I can do." —Helen Keller
  15. "A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory." —Arthur Golden
  16. "It's not the days in your life, but the life in your days that counts." —Brian White
  17. "Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom." —General George Patton
  18. "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." —Albert Einstein
  19. "Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment." —Ralph Waldo Emerson
  20. "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure." —Mark Twain
  21. "You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do." —Confucius

1. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." —Confucius

Inspirational Career Quotes Confucius


2. “It's not what you achieve, it's what you overcome. That's what defines your career." —Carlton Fisk

Inspirational Career Quotes Carlton Fisk


3. “Work to become, not to acquire." —Elbert Hubbard

Inspirational Work Quotes


4. “Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it." —Katherine Whitehorn

Inspirational Work Quotes


5. "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." —Michael Jordan

Inspirational Career Quotes Michael Jordan


6. "Failure doesn't mean you are a failure it just means you haven't succeeded yet." —Robert H. Schuller

Inspirational Quotes About Failure


7. "The best way to predict the future is to create it." —Abraham Lincoln

Inspirational Abraham Lincoln Quotes


8. "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." —Thomas A. Edison

Inspirational Thomas Edison Quotes


9. "I think everyone should experience defeat at least once during their career. You learn a lot from it." —Lou Holtz

Inspirational Career Quotes


10. "I want to look back on my career and be proud of the work, and be proud that I tried everything." —Jon Stewart

Inspirational Career Quotes Jon Stewart


11. "Dreams are extremely important. You can't do it unless you imagine it." —George Lucas

Inspirational Quotes George Lucas


12. "If you can DREAM it, you can DO it." —Walt Disney

Inspirational Walt Disney Quotes


13. "Desire! That's the one secret of every man's career. Not education. Not being born with hidden talents. Desire." —Johnny Carson

Inspirational Career Quotes


14. "I can not do everything, but I can do something. I must not fail to do the something that I can do." —Helen Keller

Inspirational Career Quotes


15. "A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory." —Arthur Golden

Inspirational Career Quotes


16. "It's not the days in your life, but the life in your days that counts." —Brian White

Inspirational Quotes About Life


17. "Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom." —General George Patton

Inspirational Quotes About Success


18. "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." —Albert Einstein

Inspirational Albert Einstein Quotes


19. "Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment." —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Inspirational Career Quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson


20. "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure." —Mark Twain

Inspirational Career Quotes About Success


21. "You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do." —Confucius

Inspirational Career Quotes Confucius

We hope these quotes motivated you. Please share with someone you know who needs a little inspiration right now.

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This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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