The Five Toughest Telephone Interview QuestionsAnd How To Handle Them


Telephone interviews are usually short, just long enough to rule you in or out, and so an interviewer’s focus will be on questions that help evaluate you as quickly as possible. Your goal is to turn this telephone screening into a face-to-face meeting.

First things first. Don’t ramble: think through your answers to each of these five opportunity-killing questions before you give them. This will make your responses intelligent and concise. As a rule of thumb, keep your answers to less than two minutes: if an interviewer wants to know more she will ask.

  1. “How much do you want?” If the interviewer asks about money, say that at this point you don’t know enough about the company or the job to answer accurately. If you are pressed give a range, say, “I have no real understanding of your needs yet, or of the different benefits that could come from joining your team. However, I would probably be looking at something in the range of $X-$Y.”

The telephone interview comes to an end when you are asked whether you have any questions. If you have not already been invited to a face-to-face interview, now is the time to take the initiative, “The most pressing question I have is: When can we meet?”

In closing your conversation, take care to ascertain the correct spelling and pronunciation of the interviewer’s name: you’ll want to send a thank you email.

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