Crush Your Phone Interview Today!

By Shivam

If you are new here please read this first.


Is your phone ringing?

Is that a phone interview?

If the answer is yes, I bet investing some quality time here will be worth it.

Hey there everyone,
How are you all doing?

Phone interviews have been one of the handiest ways used by the hiring managers and recruiters as a tool for screening candidates for employment. In order to save cost and time, companies nowadays screen job applicants over the phone before calling them for a face-to-face interview.

Just because it’s a phone interview, it doesn’t mean that you are not judged properly. The matter of the fact is, many people take it so lightly that they don’t even prepare for it, but that could be your biggest mistake. As it is said, the first impression is the last impression; you don’t wanna come across as an unconfident or an uninterested guy because if you seem so, you are least likely to be called for a face to face interview.

First and foremost, you should take care of some of mistakes which many people make and you should not:

  • Not choosing the right location: It seems to most of the people that they have to talk on the phone so they can sit anywhere in their home and answer the recruiter. But lemme tell you one thing, the recruiter already has a long list of applicants and he won’t be repeating his sentences over and again just because you can’t hear them. Of course, it happens at times, but if you are sitting in some noisy place or a place full of people, you won’t be able to communicate properly. So it is always advised to choose a place where you can hold your conversation without any sort of outer disturbance.
  • Using mobile phones: I don’t say using mobile phones would be a bad idea, but it’s a fact they are not that reliable. Your battery could die at any moment; moreover, the connection fails at times. So it is always a safe option to use a landline which is more secure and trustworthy for a smooth conversation.
  • Not keeping your CV: Just because you know all information about you, it doesn’t mean that you should not keep a CV. Even the most confident guys sometimes lose their flow of speech and may speak something irrelevant or wrong. The matter of the fact is, the company doesn’t want such people who can’t even communicate properly, so it is always a safe option to keep a CV along with you.
  • Reading the whole CV: If you follow the third point, it doesn’t mean that you have to just read the entire CV. It would be one of your biggest mistakes if you do so. Communication skills are something that every company looks for while hiring their employees, so be it your fluency issues or just reading the whole CV like a robot, you will come off as an unconfident person. So make sure you try to keep it natural and keep the CV for the reference purposes only, not to read it.
  • Confidence: It is the number one trait one looks for, be it for an employment or any other case. I would suggest you do a mock interview with your friend and ask for his/her honest review. The mock interview helps you practice and find out what your weak points are. So make sure you do it at least once before the real one.

A right answer can give you a bonus point while a wrong answer literally ruins your interview. So without further ado, let’s see some of the common questions and phraseology that can help you nail it in your phone interviews:

Most common Phone Interview Phrases you should know

Tell me about yourself?

Answer: My name is XYZ and I graduated from XYZ University in XYZ year. Some other phrases that you can use are:

  • I majored in….
  • I obtained my degree…
    Or in case if you do something at present you can say:
  • I enrolled in…which will finish by the end of this year.

Name the company, your job and job description? / What were your responsibilities?

Answer: I have been working as an XYZ in XYZ company/hotel for X years where my duties included …

Did you face any major challenge while working? If yes, how did you deal with it?

Explanation: It depends on person to person what problems you faced and how you faced them. The bottom line is, you should be able to convince them of your experience and knowledge. It’s an opportunity for you to communicate your problem-solving and critical thinking abilities, along with your aptitude for succeeding under stress.

There are some of the best phrases that will help you do that. Use at least a few of them while answering this question:

  • Customer-oriented which means you value customers and you’ll be polite and efficient when dealing with them.
  • Handle stress easily
  • A problem solver.

Why you want this job?

Explanation: This is one of the most important questions asked to you in order to know how interested you are in the job. You should be able to justify your points with a valid reason why you want the given advertised job. And please don’t make a mistake by saying that you were fed up with your boss or the environment because it leaves a negative impact on the recruiters. The best way to answer is:

  • I feel my skill set is a perfect fit for your team and I can contribute by…
  • I want to further my career in….

What are your strengths? / Why do you think we should hire you?

It is a point in your conversation where you can get some extra bonus points if you get your message across smoothly and tell about your strengths. Every recruiter looks for a candidate who is confident and possesses qualities to deal with any situations, so these phrases will definitely give you some brownie points:

  • Good at multi-tasking
  • Perform well under pressure
  • Good at solving problems
  • Communicate and work in an international environment as well.
  • Ambitious
  • Team player

What are your weaknesses?

It would be your biggest mistake if you say, ‘I don’t have any weakness.’ I get it, you wanna show the best of yourself but the fact is, no one is perfect, you see. Tell about your weaknesses, but in a positive way so that it doesn’t add a negative impact on the recruiter. You can something like this:

  • I sometimes get so involved in my work that I exceed my time limits because I want to give my best as a result.”

Why did you leave your previous job?

I know your boss might be downright rude with you, or you didn’t like the environment, but one thing that I wanna warn you about, is to never badmouth your previous job or your boss. I know that might be true, but it kind of puts you in the negative light if you say so. Some of the best ways to answer this would be:

  • There isn’t room for growth with my current employer, and I’m ready to move on to a new challenge.
  • I’m want to further my career in….
  • I feel I wasn’t able to show my talents.

Do you have any questions?

That’s how typical phone interviews end. If the recruiter asked you this, that doesn’t mean that your job is done and you can cut off your call. With this question, they more often than not judge you if you are really interested in the job. Never make a mistake by asking some silly questions about vacations etc, rather ask something that is related to your work. A nice example would be:

  • What is the typical day or routine for XYZ (The job you are applying for)?
  • Or in case if you don’t wanna ask this question, ask about the next procedure or step.

This way you will come off as an interested candidate for the position and you will most likely make it to the face-to-face interview.

Bonus tip (After an hour of your phone interview)

Always send a thank-you note within a day: Let half a business day go by and then send a brief note to their email id on the same day, but not immediately after the call.
Express your appreciation for the time he spent talking with you and considering you for the position.

I hope you have now enough idea of how to deal with phone interviews confidently and some good grasp of knowledge about the phraseology to use.
If you wanna learn more of the phraseology like a few in the above article, English Harmony System is the place to be. Make sure you check that out in case you want to improve your spoken English and vocabulary. It is jam-packed with tons of idiomatic expressions and phraseology to naturally imprint them in your minds.
Lemme know in the comment section below about views and suggestions.
Keep learning and improving.
In case if you wanna give my personal ‘Your English Vocabulary’ a knock, feel free to do that.
Till then, take care and?

P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out the English Harmony System HERE!

English Harmony System
  • Shivam

    I completely understand your point of view Zema, and maybe it is considered in your occupation. The matter of the fact is, the code of conduct changes from country to country, even from company to company.

    It is for this reason I recommend playing safe in case you have to work under some authority because you never know whether being a rockstar would work out or not.

    But as I said, it changes from company to company and country to country, so it is possible your points are totally valid at your place, company, and occupation.

    Have a nice day:) )


  • zema

    It was just another point of view. Perhaps I was thinking from my perspective with my occupation (software engineer) where exists some kind of shortage.
    Don’t get me wrong, I in no way meant to undervalue the significance of complying with code of conduct. Soft and hard skills are both on a high level of importance. I believe that being a rock-star is a great way to obtain such situation when employer really wants to get you despite your weakness in employment negotiations. And I surmise that being a rock-star is possible in many different professions.
    Have a good day.

  • Shivam

    Thanks for your feedback Zema.
    Everyone has a different point of view and I completely understand that. It looks to you from the above article that the employers chose employees because it’s a fact, employers chose employees. Moreover, they don’t have to convince the candidate because the recruiters already have a long list of candidates who are literally dying to get the job (maybe because they are unemployed or they are fed up of their previous job), so they are definitely not going to convince or please someone.
    Of course the way you said applies well to entrepreneurship or start-ups, where you are your own boss, but when you have to work under some authority, you got to keep some code of conduct (like not asking about vacation during the first stage of interview because it leaves a negative impact), which is a rule of thumb if you wanna go further or get the job.
    P.S: One applies for a job (the vacancy source, either newspaper or online) only if they are interested in getting the job, so there is no such thing as the recruiter proving you that you deserve to be their employees because people already research about the position and its benefits before they apply for it and that’s their need.


  • zema

    All of these advises look like only employer chose employee. It’s not fully right. If you want to get the work of your dream then ‘silly questions about vacations etc’ is not silly. Employer has also to convince you that he deserve to be your employer, that he has opportunities for your grow in his company, that the company will be comfortable for you. Don’t be a commodity or just another labor. Be a peer in an employment process.