Questions Recruiters Ask During an Interview On the Phone

Women Talking on the phone while looking at her computer

Interviews can be tough, especially when they occur over the phone and you can’t see someone’s facial expressions. Quite often recruiters will want to interview you over the phone in order to save on time.

The best way to prepare for an interview is to be familiar with frequently asked interview questions. In anticipation for your next interview, read through this post, and practice as much as you can! You got this!

Frequently Asked Easy Questions

A recruiter’s job is to find the right candidates that can fulfill a role of a company. Therefore, the questions recruiters ask during a phone interview are aimed to ensure that you meet the minimum requirements. Most likely, the recruiter is looking at the roles and responsibilities of the job and is checking them off based on your experience.

So, if the job posting stated that they are looking for someone with 2 years of clinical experience in geriatrics, then your recruiter might ask “do you have 2 years of clinical experience in geriatrics?”

Simple, right? In order to prepare for these basic questions, look through the job post’s requirements and go through each one.

For every requirement listed, write out exactly how you meet that requirement and practice stating the answer out loud. If you don’t meet the requirement directly, think about how you might meet the requirement indirectly.

Using the example above, perhaps you don’t have 2 years of clinical experience working in geriatrics. However, you have clinical experience in pediatrics and have non-clinical experience in geriatrics. You might say something like “my clinical experience so far has been in pediatrics, however, before becoming a clinician I volunteered at a nursing home where I assisted the geriatric patients directly. With the education and clinical experience I have now, I am confident that I could excel in working with this population.”

Frequently Asked Semi-Difficult Questions

Some of the hardest questions a recruiter can ask are the ones that are helpful in understanding your personality. The following are common questions recruiters ask during a phone interview:

  • Can you elaborate on what makes you a team player?
  • What skills do you have that makes you effective with organization and time management?
  • How would your co-workers describe you?

Do you want to know what the trick is to answering these questions? The best way to answer these questions is to understand the company’s work culture. When you understand the company’s work culture, then you are able to tell what kind of employee they are looking for.

For example, if a company expresses in their mission statement that they care about being compassionate, then they are going to want to hire people that are compassionate! In preparation for your interview, complete the following tasks:

  1. Look at the company’s “About Us” section and its mission statement. Jot down any descriptive words that relate to who you are.
  2. Review the Linkedin accounts for employees who work there and take note of any commonly used descriptive word.
  3. Practice describing who you are as an employee by using the descriptive words you noted. Start off by using these statements:
    • As a team player I am (insert descriptive word). I demonstrate this by __________________
    • My co-workers would describe me as (insert descriptive word) because I ____________
    • I consider myself to be (insert descriptive word) and (insert descriptive word). These qualities would help me excel in this role because ______________

Frequently Asked Difficult Questions

The most difficult questions recruiters ask during a phone interview are the ones that require you to demonstrate your ability. These questions look like:

  • Explain how you would handle a patient who is demonstrating aggressive behaviors
  • What would be the first thing you do if you see a co-worker is talking negatively about the supervisor?
  • Let’s say it was almost time for you to clock out, but a co-worker asks you for help. What would you do in this situation?

When answering these questions, the first thing that you need to think about is whether or not there is a safety risk involved. This could involve another person or the company (ex: stealing from the company). If there is a safety risk involved, then your answer should reflect that you understand the rules and regulations surrounding that risk.

For example, if a recruiter asks “how would you respond if you see a co-worker leave the computer screen on while walking away?” Your response should reflect that you’re familiar with how to protect the patient’s safety. An example response would be “Leaving the computer screen open is a safety risk to patients whose information might be available for others to see. I would inform the employee about this risk and suggest they close their screen.”

Remember those descriptive words you jotted down when answering semi-difficult questions? Well, you’re going to use them again to answer difficult questions, too. This is where you get to elaborate even further how those descriptive words impact your decision making.

For example, if the recruiter asks “how would you manage to speak with an unhappy caregiver?” Your response might be “I would first validate their feelings because I am an understanding person. As a responsible employee, the next thing I would do is figure out what my role would be in helping solve any of their concerns or relaying the information to someone who can.” The two descriptive words used are understanding and responsible.

Now What?

You can’t demonstrate your confidence physically during a phone interview. However, you can demonstrate confidence by answering questions with ease and thoughtfulness.

Even if the recruiter doesn’t ask any of the questions listed here, there is a high possibility that the answers you went over can be used for other questions. Regardless of what happens, acing phone interviews takes time, so try to relax, be yourself, and learn from the experience!

Some other articles that might help you during this time is this article on how to be successful in your first job, this quick read on who is hiring right now and how to quit your old job.

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About the author

Kristie Cabrera

Kristie is an occupational therapist, mental health advocate, and amateur urban farmer. Her experience with taking care of others in the healthcare setting and taking care of the land are both important pieces that make up who she is. As a life-long learner and creative, she hopes to create content that is centered around wellness and healing.

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