• PTP Chicago

What Questions Are Asked in a Phone Interview?



Phone interviews, compared to in-person or video chats, seem easy. You don’t have to worry about your attire, making eye contact, or shaking hands firmly. Don't let this lack of pressure fool you, though. A phone interview is still an interview and without making a great first impression here, you may never advance to the next level.


In order to nail your next phone interview, you have to prepare for the questions you are most likely to face. This is usually an introductory call, so the questions won’t be too technical, but preparation is key nonetheless.


Let’s take a detailed look at what questions are commonly asked during phone interviews.

Topics Covered:

  • What is your greatest strength?

  • What is your biggest weakness?

  • Can you walk me through your work history?

  • Why do you want to work here?

  • Why would you be a good fit here?

  • Why did you leave your last job?

  • Can you tell me about a time you overcame obstacles?

  • Can you tell me about a time when you and a manager disagreed?

  • Have you looked into our company?

  • What makes you different from all the other candidates?

What is your greatest strength?

With this phone interview question, the hiring manager wants to learn what skills you bring to the table and how confident you are, in terms of expertise. Try to think of a skill that is highly relevant to the position, and think of a real-world example for it. For bonus points, think of a review or comment someone else made about you showcasing this skill.


What is your biggest weakness?


The interviewer isn’t as concerned with what your weakness is as they are about how you answer the question. They want to know if you are introspective, realistic, and open to learning. Think of an opportunity a manager pointed out to you and how you went about working on yourself to resolve it.


Can you walk me through your work history?


The interviewer wants to get a feel for what you have experienced. They want to know your story. They also want to confirm that you have actually done the things your resume says you have. Some candidates lie on their resumes which is always a bad idea. If you sound unconvinced or doubtful about your own story, chances are that the interviewer will not buy it.


Why do you want to work here?


The interviewer wants proof that you are in it for more than just the money. Yes, compensation is very important. But no one wants to hire someone who ‘just wants a job’. Demonstrate how eager and excited you are about both the company and the specific role. Now is a great time to compliment the business, especially if you can remark on something they did recently.








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Why would you be a good fit here?


This sounds similar to the last question but is actually very different. The interviewer wants to understand your personality and try to predict how well it would mesh with others. Research the company ahead of time. Look at their business and social initiatives, check out their social media, try to gauge their employees on LinkedIn. Get an idea of what their internal company culture is like, and describe why you are eager to work in that environment.


Why did you leave your last job?

The interviewer wants to learn not only why you left, but what reasons may prompt you to leave a new job in the future. Turnover is extremely expensive, so preventing and reducing it is just as important as hiring. Be honest and authentic, but focus on the positives and never talk poorly about a formal employer. Focus on how much you learned, the great experiences you had, the lasting relationships you built, and why you felt leaving would be the best way to continue your growth.


Can you tell me about a time you overcame obstacles?

With this phone interview question, the recruiter wants to get a feel for how you handle adversity. Every job, no matter how senior or junior, will have its fair share of difficulties. The point here is not to figure out how you avoid them, rather, how you reacted, how you partnered with others to prevail, what the (hopefully successful) outcome was, and most importantly, what you learned from it.


Can you tell me about a time when you and a manager disagreed?

Similar to the question above, the phone interviewer does not expect you to have never disagreed with someone. In fact, if you don’t have an answer, they will think you are either hiding something or are a push-over. Instead, they want to learn how you collaborate with others to find common ground and solve these types of situations. Describe a time when you and a manager disagreed and be sure to focus on how you actively listened, discussed the details, came to a mutual understanding, and how both the project and you benefitted from it.


Have you looked into our company?

The recruiter wants to know how seriously you are taking this job opportunity. If a candidate has not bothered to look into the company first, odds are that they are just testing the waters rather than strongly motivated. This is a great time to show that you have done your homework by complimenting the business and giving some insightful feedback. Look at the company’s website and social media presence. Get an idea of what they do, when and where they were founded, what strategies and initiatives do they follow, etc. Then, look for any recent press releases or important social posts. A recent achievement like an award or a new initiative they have just announced is a great talking point to show you have done your research.


What makes you different from all the other candidates?

This phone interview question is usually saved for the end and can really be your big moment to shine! Being unique and creative is ideal, but most importantly, be specific and memorable. Don't speak in general terms about what you would do if given the position. Share a story of something you did in the past, the success that came from it, and how you believe that experience will help you in this next role.

Conclusion


Because phone interviews feel easier, you may be tempted to just wing them. This is a huge mistake. In fact, chances are high that your tone might give the wrong impression or your answer is not clear enough over the phone, since the interviewer cannot see your face or read your gestures. Make sure to prepare for these phone interview questions just like you would for an in-person interview, and then go an extra mile further, just to be on the safe side.

Good luck!




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About the Company:

Peterson Technology Partners (PTP) has been Chicago's premier Information Technology (IT) staffing, consulting, and recruiting firm for over 22+ years. Named after Chicago's historic Peterson Avenue, PTP has built its reputation by developing lasting relationships, leading digital transformation, and inspiring technical innovation throughout Chicagoland.

Based in Park Ridge, IL, PTP's 250+ employees have a narrow focus on a single market (Chicago) and expertise in 4 innovative technical areas;

  • Cybersecurity

  • Artificial Intelligence

  • Data Science

  • Cloud & DevOps

PTP exists to ensure that all of our partners (clients and candidates alike) make the best hiring and career decisions.

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