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Phone-InterviewPhone interviews are a big, big deal--companies use them to screen job candidates and weed them out before they get down to the more serious business of face-to-face interviews. Before you get on any phone interview, you need to know what phone interview questions you'll probably be asked--so you pass their screen test and get invited to interview in person.  Here are some common phone interview questions:

  • Tell me about yourself. Don't fall into the trap of thinking it's a social question to break the ice. It isn't. All your answers should relate to the job.

  • Do you have the right educational/work background? However they ask this question, they're looking to see if you have the skills and/or education to be successful at this job.
  • Are you in the right location? Is relocation going to be an issue for you? Are you willing to move? It could be a factor when deciding between candidates.
  • What's your greatest weakness? It's OK to admit to a real weakness, as long as you can turn it into a positive for the job. "Perfectionism" is overdone, though.
  • How do you handle conflict? This is a great place to use a story. The STAR technique--the Situation you faced, the Task at hand, the Approach you took, and the Results you got--is a fantastic way to answer this question.
  • Who would serve as your references? If they ask this, they'll probably check them before they call you in. Choose great references like past managers or other high-level execs who can speak to your work skills, and prep them before they're called.

Never hang up without asking a few questions of your own, just as you would in a normal interview. Clarify, ask questions about the company, and ask for next steps. Active, engaged conversation and questions make a great impression on the interviewer. Prepare well and you'll be on your way to acing the phone interview and getting to the face-to-face.

Remember--in phone interviews, they are looking for reasons NOT to like you, so they can cross you off the list.  See my 10 Phone Interview Tips to Get to the Face to Face, and then download a Free Phone Interview Prep podcast so I can tell you exactly how to prepare to ace your phone interviews.