(1) It makes you seem more engaged and interested in the job. No hiring manager wants to hire someone who isn’t going to be excited about working there.
(2) It makes you seem more intelligent—if you ask good questions. Don’t ask questions you could easily find the answers to on Google.
(3) It gives you a strategic advantage. Ask good questions, and you can easily find out what the interviewer really cares about.
So what should you do? What questions should you ask?
Prepare your list of questions before the interview.
The key to success here is to prepare your questions ahead of time—don’t try to come up with them all on the fly. You probably will think of a question or two during the conversation you hadn’t thought of, and that’s OK. But it’s also likely that you could freeze up and not be able to think of a thing.
Come up with good questions, and make a list for yourself to keep in front of you as notes during your meeting (cheat sheets). They can’t see you, so that gives you a lot of freedom. Take advantage of it. Just try not to sound like you’re reading a list of questions. Work them into the conversation naturally.
What questions should you ask during the phone interview?
The questions to ask in a phone interview are very close to what you’d ask in a face-to-face. Here are 4 great questions:
- What does your ideal candidate look like? I love this question…the answer gives you a blueprint of what they want to hire. Explain how your skills and background match that blueprint, and you’ve got a fantastic shot at the job.
- Why is the last person who was in this role leaving the job? If they were promoted, finding out what they were promoted to would be helpful. You could also follow up with a question about why they were so great at the job. If they were fired, the reason why might tell you a lot, too.
- What are this position’s biggest challenges? You need to know their biggest problems so you can talk about how you can solve them.
- From what you’ve told me, it sounds like I’d be a great fit and I am very interested. When can we schedule a time for me to come in and discuss this further? This is a technique called closing. You’re asking for the next step. It shows your enthusiasm and interest, and it shows that you’re a good communicator.
Questions like these uncover information that you can’t get anywhere else. They show your professionalism and interest in the job, and they move you forward another step in the process. Ask these kinds of questions and you’ll have a great phone interview.