In some cases, interviewing a potential job candidate by phone makes the most sense.
For instance, if you are applying for positions that would involve you working remotely or if the job would entail going to the company's physical locations, but you are not currently in the local vicinity—which can easily occur if you are applying for out-of-state jobs—both the interviewers and the interviewees can get a better idea of whether they're a good fit without investing a lot of time and money trying to get both parties to the same location at the same time.
Understandably, a large majority of time spent in these types of interviews involves the company's representative asking you, the job candidate, a variety of questions to better determine if you are qualified and the right fit. However, as the interviewee, there are some important phone interview questions you should be asking as well. What questions are those?
1. What are your expectations for this role, both short and long-term?
The answer to this phone interview question is important to you, the applicant, because it tells you whether the company expects to utilize that role for a long period of time and, if so, if they have any plans to change it so it encompasses new or different tasks and responsibilities. Certainly, there is never any guarantee that a particular role will always be around or involve doing the same tasks, but asking this question up front can help you learn more about what the company envisions for that specific position based on its current needs and projections.
2. What is one of the biggest challenges the company faces today?
The reason this phone interview question is a must-ask is because knowing what the company is up against will give you greater insight into what you can expect if you are offered the option to work there. For example, if the company is currently facing major budget issues, you can anticipate working with a shoestring budget (at least until things improve). Knowing this type of information also enables you to position yourself as part of the solution based on both your knowledge and previous experiences.
3. Is there room for advancement?
If you ask this question during a phone interview, it tells the interviewer two things. One is that you're a go-getter who will give it all you've got in an attempt to reach the highest level possible within the business. Second, asking about potentials for advancements shows that you are the type of person who will likely stay with the company long-term if it offers you the ability to grow professionally. Both of these scenarios are a win-win for companies looking to bring on new talent.
4. What has been your favorite thing about working for the company?
One of the best phone interview questions or even for in-person interviews, asking the interviewer what he or she likes about the company you're interested in working for gives you the opportunity to develop a certain level of rapport with that person. This is an action that could potentially give you a leg up if it's a close call between hiring you and someone else. Plus, it's kind of nice to get the perspective of someone who is already working there as it gives you a better idea of the things you may also enjoy if offered the job. Things that may not necessarily be revealed in the job description or post.
5. Is there anything I've said that is unclear or that you'd like more clarification about?
The great thing about asking this question is that it gives the interviewer a chance to clear up anything that is confusing to them when it comes to your education or experience. It also opens the door for them to follow up in any areas that they'd like more information about without it being awkward for either of you. This is especially important as a phone interview question since this type of meeting doesn't give the hiring manager the opportunity to see your facial gestures and body language, leaving them only to rely on what you say and the inflections in your voice to get to know you better.
6. What does the process look like moving forward?
If you've ever applied for a job only to spend the next few days (or weeks) sitting by the phone wondering if you'll get a call, then you already know the value of asking this question because it tells you exactly what you can expect next. For example, if the person interviewing you says that the company intends to make a firm job offer to the chosen candidate by the end of the week, if next Monday arrives and you haven't been contacted, you know that it's okay to follow up to reinforce your interest and ask if they've made a final decision.
Summarizing Phone Interview Questions
Remember, phone-based job interviews are a two-way street. Not only is it important for the company to identify whether you're the right person for the job, it's equally as critical for you to determine whether the company is a good fit for you. Asking these types of phone interview questions that should produce some pretty telling answers can help you decide that, increasing the likelihood that you'll wind up in the best position possible, both literally and figuratively speaking.