Phone Interview Questions

Phone interview questions are used to help employers identify candidates worth calling in for a face to face interview. Phone interview questions are used as an initial way of screening applicants early in the selection process. Discover the best examples of the phone interview questions that will help you evaluate your candidates’ suitability for your open job position!

Want to Unlock the Secrets of Job Interviews?
Conducting job interviews is a critical task that requires preparation, structure, and a clear understanding of what you are looking for in a candidate.
Start evaluating candidates


➡️ Before we dig deeper into the interview questions for managers, don't forget to download The Ultimate Candidate Interview & Employee Onboarding Checklist!

The importance of phone interview questions

By asking job applicants a certain set of interview questions over the phone, employers can eliminate unsuitable among them.

Narrowing an applicant pool early in the selection process leads to significant time and money savings.

Phone interview questions are also a great way to test candidates for job positions which require great phone communication skills, such as Call Center Representative.

Thus, asking phone interview questions has the following 4 key advantages:

  1. Reduced time to hire
  2. Reduced cost per hire
  3. Higher quality of candidates
  4. Testing candidates’ skills.


What do phone interview questions test?

Phone interview questions are generally employers first direct contact with their applicants. In this initial contact, employers aim to find out if the applicant is suitable for the position they want to fill.

Thus, phone interview questions are asked to determine if the candidate's qualifications, experience, workplace preferences, and salary expectations are congruent with the position and the company offering it.

More precisely, phone interview questions are used to check candidates’:

  1. Job position fit (qualifications, experience and work history)
  2. Motivation (desired career path and interests)
  3. Company culture fit (workplace preferences and knowledge about the company
  4. Salary preferences (expectations and current salary)
  5. Availability (face to face interview and start date if hired).

Examples of the best phone interview questions

Here is the list of the best phone interview questions examples to ask job candidates when interviewing them over the phone:

A sample of phone interview questions to test a position fit

  • How many years of experience do you have in [insert appropriate job position/industry]?
  • Do you have a [insert appropriate must-have qualification, such as: certification, driver license, etc.]?
  • Do you have experience using [X] software in any of your previous jobs?
  • Are authorized/licensed to work in [X] area?
  • What are you looking for in your next position?

A sample of phone interview questions to test candidates’ motivation

  • How did you find out about this job opening?
  • What made you apply for this position?
  • What excites you most about this position?
  • Why are you leaving your current workplace?
  • What motivated you to choose this career path?

A sample of phone interview questions to test a company culture fit

  • What type of workplace culture do you thrive in?
  • Describe the type of work environment in which you can really give your best and be most productive.
  • Describe your ideal working situation (work environment, hours, travel, and the like).
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Why do you want to work at our company instead of somewhere else?

A sample of phone interview questions to test candidates’ salary preferences

  • How much do you earn now?
  • What are your salary expectations for this position?

A sample of phone interview questions to check candidates’ availability and flexibility

  • Are you willing to relocate for this job?
  • The working schedule for this position is [insert appropriate days and hours]. Is that OK with you?
  • If you were hired, how soon can you start?
  • Are you willing to agree to have a drug test, a criminal and educational background check, references checks and other tests appropriate for this position?
  • If we were to ask you in for a face to face interview, when would you be available?

A bonus phone interview question

  • Would you like to ask me anything? / Do you have any questions?

How to use these phone interview questions?

In order to ensure fairness and objectiveness of your interviewing process, you should follow these 6 steps:

  1. Choose up to 10 phone interview questions and adjust them to fit your hiring needs (job position and a company).
  2. Develop a rating system and create interview scorecards.
  3. Ask every candidate interviewing for a certain job position the same questions in the same order.
  4. Take notes of candidates answers!
  5. Score each of your candidates’ answers.
  6. Compare candidates’ scores to choose the top ones!

Need more examples of phone interview questions?

If you’re looking for more great interview questions to ask job candidates, browse our list of interview questions by type.

Make sure you also check out our Complete guide for asking candidates the best interview questions. 🙂

Ultimate Guide for Conducting Job Interviews

Do you use a modern recruitment software? If not, you're missing out. See how your life can be easier. Start your free 14-day TalentLyft trial.

Start my free trial