8 Telephone Interview Questions You Need To Ask

Some interviewers detest doing phone interviews. But, without a doubt, one of the best benefits of doing them is you can create a list of high-quality candidates you want to interview and it helps reduce the time to hire. These are the telephone interview questions you need to ask.

One of the best things about telephone interviews is they can be casual and last about 10-20 minutes. This quick conversation gives you a clearer insight into your candidates and determine which are best suited for the job you're advertising.

Here are the best telephone interview questions you can use to create a shortlist to invite to an interview:

1. Why were you interested in this vacancy?

An obvious question but a good one to start with. It helps you determine whether they're seriously interested in the job or they just happened to send their CV when frantically applying for jobs late one night.

This gives the candidate the opportunity to talk about their skills and experience and explain how they're relevant to the job vacancy.

2. Do you have the skills we require?

Of course, say the above more eloquently and make it relevant to the job spec.

For example: If you're searching for a new department manager and you want someone who has 5+ years’ experience in a similar role, then you should be asking in the phone interview, 'Do you have over five years' experience?'

On the phone, you can quickly scan the candidate's CV and ask them to clarify any areas you're not sure about, and also ensure they tick all the boxes you're looking for.

3. Why are you leaving your current position?

If you have a candidate who is currently working full-time elsewhere, there's no harm in asking why they want to leave. Are they applying for your vacancy because they want to have more responsibilities? Have they been waiting to apply for a job in your company because they respect your brand?

Finding out their intention can also help you determine whether they're going to be staying at your company long-term or move on again in the near future.


4. What do you know about the company?

Candidates who do research about the company before a telephone interview show a real interest in the job. There are many candidates who don't make much of an effort for a phone interview. By asking the candidate to tell you what they know about your company, you can determine whether they've prepared for the phone call by getting to know the brand better.

5. Where are you based? Are you willing to locate?

As you sift through the CVs, don't be surprised if you get one or two candidates who live miles away. During the phone interview, make sure you ask them if they're willing to relocate. You don't want to invite them to a face-to-face interview, offer them the job and they decide they're not really interested in moving over. It's a waste of your time and resources.

6. What salary are you looking for?

This can seem like an awkward question but it's an important one to ask. The purpose of a telephone interview is to help screen through potential candidates before you invite them to your office. You don't want to waste time with a candidate who is adamant they want to be paid 5-10k more than what your company are happy to offer.

7. What is your notice period?

This is very important. Some people have to work one month or provide a longer notice period and if you were hoping for them to start in 2 weeks it's going to cause a problem. Having a job role vacant costs a company so you will have to consider how long your company is willing to wait for the right person to fulfil the position.

8. If you were invited to an interview, what is your availability?

In some cases where you're trying to find new staff quickly, you may end up conducting phone interviews and face-to-face interviews in the same week. Check what days and times candidates can come for an interview.



Telephone interviews don't have to be long, provided you ask the right questions, it can be an effective way of determining who you want to invite to an interview.


Are you looking for ways on how to reduce the time to hire?

Above, are the 8 telephone interview questions you really need to ask to help speed up the interview process. But there are more ways you can reduce the time it takes to find and hire your next candidates. Don’t get it wrong, check out our blog on what not to ask here!