According to The Ladders, recruiters take an average of only 6 seconds to scan a resume. Afterward, a phone screening interview will help to pick out the qualifying applicants for an in-person interview. You will blow your chance if you can’t ace this phone screening interview from the very first seconds. The odds seem to be against you. You have no idea when you have to deal with different types of questions in interviews. How could you sail through those questions? That’s precisely why you need this post about different types of questions in interviews and prepare for them.
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Types Of Questions In Interviews & Samples Answers
Applicants who are familiar with the interview culture will know that their most crucial interview is via phone. In other words, the phone screening interviews will cut and drop those applicants who seem not suitable for the position. The cut sometimes depends on how the interviewers feel about the applicants and their answers. So, what questions can you expect from the phone screening interviews? How are they different from questions in face-to-face interviews?
Phone Screening Interviews
Screening interviews on a phone call are very challenging and nerve-wracking. It could be days after you sent in your application, and the phone call will catch you off-guard. These phone interviews could come in the most inconvenient times ever, or when you least expect them. No matter what, these phone interviews are your only chance to get a ticket to face-to-face interviews and closer to the job. Hence, you have to ace these questions below for a phone interview:
Questions Of The Basics
After the formal greetings and introduction, the interviewers usually go ahead with the questions straight away. They will have your resume at hand and start asking you all over again about yourself. These questions will help them decide whether to proceed with this candidate or not. Typically, these three basic questions are most common in phone screening interviews:
Could you please tell me about your background?
Never ask them to refer to your resume for the details. That will end your phone interview faster than the speed of light. Instead, try to list out the most relevant information about your educational background and work experience. These elements have to fit perfectly with the job requirements they have published. An important tip is to use the keywords used in the job description.
What Prompts You To Look For A New Job?
This question is so common in interviews that there is no way you can answer it wrong. A challenge for you is to make the phone interview more like a conversation between two acquaintances. Your job-hunt reasons should sound relatable and sensible so that the recruiters have no further questions on the same topic.
When Could You Start Working In This Position?
You can quickly reply “as soon as possible” to this question, but that is not a wise approach. Remind yourself of your responsibilities with the current employer. Give the interviewers your tentative last day if you resign on that day of the interview. No recruiter wants to employ someone who will make a run for a new offer immediately without fulfilling their duties.
Prepare All Your Reasons
Let’s say you are still on the phone with the interviewers for further questions. After some first minutes on the call, you now have more sense of calmness just in time for more tricky questions. And by “tricky”, we mean questions that demand reasons as answers. Something like the below questions:
Why Do You Choose To Leave Your Current Job?
Why Are You Interested In This Position?
Why Do You Think This Job Will Motivate You?
These questions have one thing in general. They all attempt to extract information from you to find flaws in your reasonings. Hence, your answers should be smooth and logical, which will require preparation in advance. Moreover, you shouldn’t choose to talk badly about your current job or how you are dissatisfied with it. It’s never rational to say you decide to leave because of being underpaid.
Instead, focus on workplace culture fit for the skills you want to attain. Understandably, you want to seek another organization with a workplace culture that matches your values. At the same time, your current job has trained you with excellent technical know-how but lacks soft skills. Thus, you can reply that you’re seeking an environment to practice interpersonal skills or problem-solving skills.
At the same time, a motivating job can be a significant challenge that you need. This challenging job will make you upgrade your skill sets, confront your limits, and train you in new competencies. All of the above makes it an impelling position, for which you’re taking this phone screening interview.
The Salary Question
Contrary to most candidates’ thoughts, the salary question is among the common questions in phone interviews. The interviewers know better than to leave this critical question until the final round. They want a clear understanding of your expectations for the job, especially financials.
Be careful not to be too absorbed in the salary side of the question. The interviewers are asking you about your overall apprehension of the offerings along with this position. These benefits include salary and other benefits like annual leave, health insurance, or anything relating to your wealth fare.
Now the best way to tackle this question is to be straightforward about it. You don’t need to give them an exact amount, but state the salary range you require. This information will acknowledge whether the interviewers have the budget for that range or they will have to drop you. If you are not confident enough to give a number and need more information to decide, let them know. You can always revisit this topic along with the phone screening interview or later in the face-to-face interview.
Congratulations on conquering the phone screening interviews. Now that you’re up for a face-to-face interview, what kind of questions will you encounter? Unlike phone screening interviews with more straightforward questions, the face-to-face sessions will consist of several question types you need to anticipate.
Be Clear When Answering Closed-ended Questions
In order to know you better, recruiters will ask very detailed questions in face-to-face interviews. Prepare your answers for questions like:
- How long did you cooperate with your last employer?
- Have you ever worked in a completely different field?
- How comfortable are you with remote working?
- How experienced are you with social media?
- What’s the longest you have worked for any previous employer?
All of the above questions are trying to elicit specific information about you. Moreover, these questions and your answers to them will set the stage for more complicated questions to come. The interviewers will not ask you these closed-ended questions in rapid-fire succession. But they will use these details to link to the job criteria.
Hence, you should give neat answers with specific information according to the questions. More than anyone else, you need to know your work history and all of the related details. So, it will not help if you can’t recall the most extended position you held in the past. Remember to include relevant samples or examples to make your answers to these questions more solid.
Be Sensible With Open-ended Questions
On the contrary to closed-ended questions, the open-ended queries will demand thought from the interviewees. These open-ended questions will oblige you to reveal your inner attitudes or opinions about topics, such as:
- How do you handle tight deadlines on the job?
- How do you avoid errors when under pressure?
- How did you improve your productivity in your last job?
- Can you describe your ideal job?
- What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
These open-ended questions will be in between closed-ended questions during the face-to-face interview. Consider these questions your opportunities to explain how you work effectively under pressure and enhance your work. Prepare your answer with enough information and examples to make the interviewers see how well you fit for the job.
Be Careful When Dealing With Hypothetical Questions
A face-to-face interview will not be over without the hypothetical questions. These queries are the perks of the discussions, showing how the interviewees deal with situations. The recruiters will give you scenarios to solve or comment on, and they expect you to understand perfectly what the job requires.
For examples, these hypothetical questions are prevalent in face-to-face interviews:
- Let’s say you supervise a project that didn’t meet the goals you set. How would you deal with the situation?
- Imagine you control a generous budget for employee training. How would you spend this amount?
- If you were the recruiter for this position, what skills would you require of a candidate?
- If you could choose an influencer in our industry as your mentor, who would it be and why?
- Let’s say you have a chance to revise your early career path. What would you do differently?
These questions don’t ask how long you have worked in the industry but how much you have learned. Your experience and creativity will have to collaborate to answer these questions. It’s better to reply with details and practical answers. The recruiters have asked these questions so often that they can tell an impossible answer from an achievable one.
Your Keys To Ace Every Screening Interview
Before you start preparing eagerly for the face-to-face interviews, there are things you should do first for the phone screening interviews.
Plan The Phone Screening Interview Yourself
It’s not wrong to say that the recruiters give unexpected phone calls for screening interviews. However, you should prepare yourself mentally for the upcoming phone screening interview right after luring the job application. Once you have everything under a checklist, you will feel confident and calm no matter when the interviewers call.
First of all, a phone screening interview requires the same good etiquette as a face-to-face session. Respect the interviewer’s time by informing them in your application when you are available for the call. You need to do so, especially if you have a job or some personal matters coming along. With this heads-up, the interviewers will make sure to call you at the right time, and you will have less trouble taking the call.
Secondly, you should engage fully in the conversation with the interviewers. They might race through some questions or sound a bit unamused, and it’s your challenge to win their focus. Make sure you catch their name when they introduce themselves at the beginning of the phone call, and try to call them by their name during the discussion.
Last but not least, have all of your answers ready in sharp sentences. You should practice them so much that they would come out as swift as an arrow. Don’t waste your time during the phone screening interviews because that would cost you the job.
Manage Your Expectations
Once you fail to manage your expectations, the job-hunting game will be a long boring one for you. In other words, you could not find a suitable offer before you have a good understanding of it. This understanding applies to salary, benefits, requirements, and responsibilities.
To effectively manage your expectations, you should research similar advertisements for your applying position. What are the requirements and responsibilities of these jobs, and especially the salary range? Have this information under your belt, and you would know how much you should expect for a salary at this new job.
Sometimes, the recruiters will not tell you immediately that you have high expectations. They will take notes of your demand and use it as the reason to drop you from the list. Hence, it’s advisory to ask the recruiters whether they have a maximum number that you can consider for salary.
6 Red Flags For Phone Interviews
You may think that the phone screening interviews are part of the procedures only and that they will soon invite you in for the face-to-face session. Such an assumption will not benefit you in any way. Besides, these hazardous behaviors during phone screening interviews will also disqualify you:
Cursing Is, Of Course, A No-no.
Though the phone screening interview will make you feel relaxed, like speaking to a friend, foul language is unprofessionalism. Despite your skills or background, cursing will never do well for you.
Too Much Focus On Money
Again, have proper expectations and focus on money. Though we work to make ends meet, it’s not a fruitful discussion if all you’re talking about is money. Remember that you have to prove your worth, and the money will come to you.
Negative Comments About Current / Former Employers
Badmouthing your previous boss is never a good sign. It only shows that you have insufficient tact and diplomacy, critical soft skills for almost any position. Recall your thoughts about the experience working with your current/former employers, and always put it diplomatically.
Sounding Distracted During The Interview
The last thing you want to do is to lose focus on a phone screening interview. Your interviewer will immediately sense your distractedness, and they would not appreciate it. You should sit in a cozy, quiet corner and focus totally during the phone interview.
No questions for interviewers
Having no question is not a deal-breaker, but it can also translate into a lack of enthusiasm for the job. Hence, do some initial research about the company and see what you’re interested in inquiring about. Or you can discuss further into some details among the job responsibilities to understand it thoroughly.
The Final Thought
According to Glassdoor, conducting a phone interview can add up to 8.2 days to the recruitment process. Time-consuming as the phone interviews may be, they help recruiters filter the applicants so effectively that recruiters apply them into the process. Though the types of questions in interviews will vary according to the settings, your enthusiasm and preparation are keys to success.