Here’s a secret:  There’s really only so many interview questions you can ask.  Some hiring managers like to break out of the rut and ask crazy things to catch you off guard, like “What kind of tree would you be?”, but most of the time they tend to ask the same kinds of questions.  There’s just basic information that they all need to know in order to make the decision to hire you.  So what you need to know is what questions they’re most likely to ask you so you can be ready to answer them.  What are the most typical phone interview questions?

1. Tell me about yourself.  Interviewers love to start with this question, because it lets them wade in slowly.  Do not let the open-endedness of this question trip you up.  The wrong way to answer this is with personal information: “I’m from Ohio and I’m a huge NASCAR fan.”  This is not social; this is business.  Answer it appropriately:  “I have a degree in X, I have 5 years of experience in Y, and I am great at Z.”  X, Y, and Z should all be things that help sell your fit for this job. 

2. Why are you interested in this job?  I know….you need a job for little things like food and shelter.  Meanwhile, they’re wondering “Does he really like us, or is it only the money?”  They want to know how interested and serious you are before they go to the trouble of bringing you in for an hour of in-person interviewing.  Your answer should always be along the lines of, “This job is a great fit for me because of ABC.”  If you can throw in something positive about why you’d enjoy working for that particular company, that would be good, too.

3. Why are you leaving your current job?  The question behind this question is:  Is there something wrong with you? Was there a problem?  Because if they hire you, then it’s going to be their problem.  Say something like, “I’ve enjoyed my time there, but I’m ready to use my skills in a more challenging role.”  Whatever you say, keep it positive and make it clear that you’re not running away from your old job, you’re running TO this one.     

When answering all job interview questions, keep your answers focused on the positive.  Talk up your strengths every time you can so that you sell yourself for the job.   

Author's Bio: 

Peggy McKee is a career coach and the CEO of Career Confidential, a website dedicated to helping job seekers get the jobs you want fast. Learn more on the Career Confidential website => 

Find more phone interview tips in our blog series, Phone Interviews: The 37 Most Essential and Extraordinary Tips That Will Get You To the Face-to-Face =>