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Typical telephone interview questions and answers

If you want to make the right impression during your upcoming telephone interview, it pays to be prepared. We list the most common telephone interview questions and give you an idea of how you should approach your answers.
    Getty - Paula Bronstein

Background Information

The first set of questions will be about your background. The interviewer will want to know the following information:

Q: Name of company, job title and job description, along with your dates of employment.

A: Make sure you’re clear on your facts because the interviewer will be ready with a pen posed for the answers. As you’ve recently written your CV or at least updated it, these things should be second nature but you can always have a copy of your CV to hand during the call.

Q: What your responsibilities were.

A: As you’re talking to someone who’s more than familiar with your type of work, make sure to go into detail about what you currently do. Also mention responsibilities you had in past jobs that you no longer have in your current position.

Q: What major challenges and problems you face and how you handled them.

A: This is an opportunity to talk about an experience or two from your working life. Be careful not to blame anyone for the challenge that presented itself and also be careful not to overly praise your achievements. Don’t forget that you’re talking to someone who may have been through a similar experience himself.

Q: Why you’re leaving your present employer.

A: Don’t say anything negative. You’ll know why you’re planning on leaving but if it’s something negative like your hatred for your new boss, say that you’re looking for a new challenge.

Questions about the new job

There is always an opportunity to discuss the role your applying for in a telephone interview, even if this is just a preliminary chat. It’s a good idea to be prepared here so your enthusiasm for the job comes through. You’ll be asked the following:

Q: Why do you want this job?

A: Make sure that you have a positive reason in mind, although saying that you like the idea of working for the firm because they’re close to home won’t impress the interviewer, so think carefully.

Q: What can you do for this company?

A: This is an opportunity to make your case. Some relevant examples of improvements you’ve made during your current assignment would help convince the interviewer that you’re a good candidate who should be given a formal interview.

Q: What do you know about this company?

A: You have to research each company you interview with. Your recruitment consultant can fill you in on some background but if not, the web’s a mine of information.

Q: Is there anything you would like to know about the company?

A: This goes hand-in-hand with the above question. If you’ve carried out some research, you’ll have a question or two in mind.

Final word

Good luck with your telephone interview. As long as you keep these ideas in mind, you’ll be giving yourself a good chance of success.

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