How To Prepare for Phone Interviews


So you have been selected for a phone interview. That’s great! Now, what if you don’t know what questions will be asked? What if you don’t feel confident in how you should respond? 

Well, don’t worry jobseekers, this week I will be giving you phone interview tips that include four common questions and their responses, as well as a bonus tip that will help you get more familiar with what to expect before the interview takes place. 

If you caught last week’s video, this material may sound similar, but the information I will talk about in this week’s video is totally different from last week – which was focused more on preparing for phone interviews. 

The information within this video will allow you to get comfortable with certain questions that are often asked during phone interviews. It will help you understand the right way to answer those questions, so you will be able to move forward to the next step in your interview process. 

As always, make sure to watch this week’s video all the way to the end to catch what advice I will be sharing that will help the underrepresented populations flourish in this ever changing workforce. 

Grab your note taking materials and get ready to ace your next phone interview!


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Inspirational Quote



Hey Jobseekers, Jennifer Tardy here and welcome to the #CareerSuccess channel for Ups. This week, I will be discussing phone interview tips regarding certain questions and how to answer them.  

In last week’s video, I gave you advice on how to prepare for an interview with a hiring manager. In this week’s video, I want to give you advice on how to prepare for an interview with a recruiter. 

Also, make sure to stick it out with me to the very end where I will be giving you my favorite advance of them all — the #CareerSuccess Bonus Tip for Ups!! Stay tuned! You don’t want to miss it!  

Okay, here is a secret. The interview with the recruiter is better coined a “pre-screen” as it is not really an interview, it is more so a screen to ensure that you are (in fact) the person that you say you are on the resume. A recruiter cares about whether or not you meet the basic qualifications. If they move you forward to the hiring manager and you do not meet the basic qualifications, it then also affects the recruiters reputation (i.e., their ability to find and screen good candidates). No recruiter wants that. 

To help you better prepare for phone interviews and other type of interviews, work with me directly to learn how to “Master an Interview and become an Offer Magnet” visit us to take our newest course in the Career Success University. 

So the good news is that this interview is not hard – if you are who you have demonstrated yourself to be on your resume (i.e., you’ve not lied, or boosted information to stand out). 

More good news is that these prescreens typically do not last long. Maybe 15-30 minutes.

Bonus #0: Make Sure You Know Whether or Not This is a Recruiter Phone Interview or a Recruiter Prescreen

My disclaimer is that this is not across the board. When a person calls you to set up your initial interview with a recruiter, ask them how long does the interview typically last. If it is within 15-30 minutes, it is usually a prescreen. Anything longer, you may want to prepare for your interview the same way I mentioned in the previous video, “How To Prepare for Phone Interviews”

Four questions you will most likely be asked during your prescreen with the recruiter. Be prepared to answer:

Question #1:  What Made You Decide To Apply To This Job?

This is a warm you up question or a way to break the ice and to still find out whether you were intentional about applying to work there.  

Question #2:  Can You Tell Me a Little About Yourself?

This is where your resume narrative matters. You will spend a little time explaining who you are by way of sharing your knowledge, skills, and experience. The recruiter may interject questions that will ensure that you actually do meet the basic qualifications for the role. Everything that you say here, matters. 

Keep in mind that the recruiter may ask this questions in a variety of ways, but the key here is to confirm that you at least meet the basic qualifications (and preferred qualifications that most matter to the employer).

Quick Pause! 

When asked, “Can you tell me a little about yourself,” how would you summarize all your skills that matches the role to prevent from being lengthy? Share in the comment section below to get a conversation started.   

Question #3: What Salary Range Do You Expect From Your Next Role?

A recruiter will tell you up front that they do not want to waste your time and they do not want you to waste their time. They want to know what the salary is that you desire for this role. Prepare yourself to answer this question before it is posed to you. 

**Want to make sure you are getting the salary that you should be rightfully earning? Check out one of our recent videos in the Press Play on Your Pay series, “Getting The Pay That You Deserve (FIVE EASY STEPS)”

Question #4:  How Soon Would You Be Able To Start, If Hired?

This is just a housekeeping question to make sure that you are actually able to accept the position within a reasonable amount of time for the hiring manager.

As Promised, I wanted to share with you a career success tip! 

CareerSuccess Bonus Tip for UPs: Oftentimes, we as UPs feel that an interview is a one way street. The recruiter can ask us questions and we need to answer. But I want to remind you that it is perfectly acceptable (and to your benefit) to ask own questions too—throughout the interview. Your interview can become a dialogue. You can often discover what is most important to an employer by listening to the types of qualifications the recruiter is asking if you have. If you hear them emphasize a certain qualification, it is acceptable to ask, “is this a qualification that is a priority for the hiring manager?” And if they say “yes,” it is acceptable to ask why it is important to the hiring manager. Remember that although you are going through a prescreen, you are still preparing yourself for the next interview. Find out what you can while you are on the phone so you can be set up well for the next step.

Thanks for watching this video! Hope you got what you came for and more. 

As a reminder, the four questions you may be asked during a phone interview are:

  • What Made You Decide To Apply To This Job?
  • Can You Tell Me a Little About Yourself?
  • What Salary Range Do You Expect From Your Next Role?
  • How Soon Would You Be Able To Start, If Hired?

Having a better understanding of these questions will allow you to feel more prepared to answer when asked. You will also feel more confident in yourself. 

If you are watching this video, I’m thinking you may be interested in another free gift of ours. It is a free downloadable guide: 25 Common Interview Questions (With Top Notch Answer)

If you liked this video, be sure to subscribe to the channel, show like in the video, leave a comment, share with your friend, and hit the bell so that you can be notified when new videos are uploaded. 

As always, for us to be #underrepresented no more, we must Learn, Engage, Apply, Repeat, Now. I’m Jennifer Tardy your CareerSuccess coach! I’ll see you in the next video!  


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