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4 Crucial Questions to Ask in a Phone Interview

Posted by Erin Borgerson on October 8, 2013

4 crucial interview questions to ask

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.

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Erin Borgerson

About the Author

Erin is the Director of Marketing, Crisis Controller and Culture Ambassador (the last two titles she gave to herself) who joined the Hireology team in April of 2012. As a certified Inbound Marketer, Erin manages Hireology's marketing department, the Hireology Blog, and media relations. She is also a co-leader of the Chicago Hubspot User Group which brings together Hubspot users from around the Chicagoland area. Erin set off to Chicago after graduating from Western Michigan University. In her spare time she can be found shaking it in a Zumba class, reading a bestseller, or drinking a craft beer on her Wrigleyville porch.