7 Questions to Ask in a Phone Interview That Will Impress The Hiring Manager  


Woo-hoo! You got that big job interview you’ve been waiting on. Go ahead and give yourself a quick pat on the back. Now, it’s time to get back to work because there are still a few hurdles to get over before you’ve got a new title to add to your resume. One of them? The interview.

A phone interview is often an early step in the hiring process. In addition to helping the interviewer learn more about you, a phone interview can also help you learn more about the job to determine if it’s the right fit. (Remember, interviews are a two-way street!) Furthermore, asking questions during the interview is an excellent way to show your interest and initiative to prospective employers.

Wondering where to begin when it comes to saying the right thing? At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, we want you to go into your job search as prepared as possible. That’s why we’ve rounded up this list of seven questions to ask in a phone interview that will help you wow the hiring manager, get the information you need and move on to the next round.

1. Can you share some information on the job’s day-to-day responsibilities?

Most job postings provide basic information about key responsibilities. However, your interviewer will be able to flesh out this information in order to give you a more detailed understanding of what’s involved with the position. The more details you have, the better you’ll be able to determine whether or not this job is a match for you, your skillset and your career goals.

Additionally, learning more about the role’s responsibilities can help you showcase your own strengths better throughout the hiring process — everywhere from thank you notes to subsequent in-person interviews.

2. Is there a typical career trajectory for this position?

You’ve got goals. This question will give you a better sense of whether there are opportunities for growth within the company.  It also demonstrates to a prospective employer that you’re thinking about a future with the company and that you value professional development.

3. What are the most important qualities for success in this role?

Understanding a job’s responsibilities doesn’t necessarily mean you understand the expectations for the person in that job. This question helps you suss out exactly what employers are looking for when hiring for a certain position.

Maybe the position is more suitable for someone who is comfortable with a lot of ambiguity and is ready to jump in and start making decisions. Or, maybe it calls for someone who takes direction well and is happy to stick to the playbook. Clarifying more about what will lead to success can help you further hone in on whether the job is the right fit for your personality and goals.

4. How will I get feedback on whether I’m meeting the expectations for this role?

We all want to succeed in our jobs. Feedback is how we learn and grow.  Not all companies or departments have firm policies in place regarding how and when to provide feedback. Other companies may vary in terms of how feedback is provided. For example, they may have formal face-to-face reviews, or feedback may be provided more casually via email.

Your goal with this question is manifold. For starters, it demonstrates that the company wants to support its employees by helping them grow,  and that feedback is provided in a way that will be useful to you. It also shows the interviewer that you are open to continual improvement — and to the feedback that will help you achieve it.

4. Where do you think the company will be in five years?

You may be asked this question during your interview. Now, it’s your turn. This question can help enhance your understanding of a company’s priorities and values.

However, this question serves another purpose too. Since hiring, onboarding and training new employees is expensive, most employers look for job candidates who are in it for the long-haul. By asking this question, you’re indicating to the hiring manager that you’re planning on sticking around — thereby making yourself a more appealing candidate.

5. Is the nature of this work more independent or collaborative?

Some people love to work on their own. Others thrive when working as part of a team. The answer to this question can help you determine if this work environment will suit your preferred work style.

6. What do you personally like about working for this company?

There’s no better person to ask what it’s like to work for a particular company than a current employee. Different companies have very different cultures. This question can help you determine more about the company culture. Does the interviewer love the company’s spirit of collaboration, focus on family, fast-paced setting or another aspect of working there? If these things matter to you, you’re likely to be a good match for the culture.

On the flip side, interviewers are unlikely to come out and tell you that they hate their jobs. However, if they lack enthusiasm or have trouble answering this question, that’s a potential red flag.

This question is also a great way to meaningfully connect with your interviewer.

7. What are the next steps?

Many things can happen after a phone interview. In some cases, you may get an offer. In others, you may have follow-up phone, video or in-person interviews with members of the management team or the appropriate department. The answer to this question will give you a better sense of the overall hiring process and timeline. You’ll also have an idea of when to send a follow-up email if you haven’t heard back yet. Speaking of sending emails, don’t forget to send a thank you email!

During a phone interview, asking the right questions is just part of ensuring your success. We’ve also got you covered with an extensive list of phone interview tips designed to help you go into the interview prepared and ready to rock it. This includes doing your homework, making sure your surroundings are professional, thinking before you respond, having your resume at the ready and taking thorough notes.

And remember: While asking questions during a phone interview can feel uncomfortable, it’s a valuable part of the process — for employers and job candidates alike. Failure to ask a question is not only a missed opportunity to get answers that will help you be more informed about a job, it also indicates disinterest or apathy to interviewers. The takeaway? You will probably be asked if you have any questions at the end of your interview. Take control of your future — and make a great impression — by answering, “Yes, I do.”

At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, we’re eager to partner with you by giving you the tools you need to succeed in your career. You’re off to a great start by visiting this blog to prepare for your phone interview. To take another big step forward in planning for a fulfilling future in the workforce, register for My Career Advisor.

woman on a phone interview

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