Phone Interview Questions

30 Questions and Answers by

Rachelle Enns is an interview coach and job search expert. She works with candidates to perform their best in employment, medical, and post-secondary admission interviews.

Phone was updated on August 9th, 2018. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 30

Briefly walk me through your work history. Please include why you left each position listed on your resume.

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Phone Interview Questions & Answers

  1. 1.

    Briefly walk me through your work history. Please include why you left each position listed on your resume.

      How to Answer

      Briefly describe your work history, starting at the least recent position. Be brief and decisive, outlining one or two main achievements in each role. Be sure to include why you left each job while maintaining a positive tone. Avoid complaining about any past jobs or previous employers.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I began my career, right out of university, with ABC Company. Spending four years there, I was able to triple my portfolio and quickly promoted to sales manager. I left that company in 2009 after being headhunted into a more lucrative role with XYZ Company. I have been with XYZ ever since!"

      Rachelle's Answer for an Admin Interview

      "I am a recent graduate of the Business Administration program with ABC University. I completed my practicum in an administration role within an Accounts Payable department. This experience was a wonderful one for me and a big reason why I was prompted to apply for your A/P clerk position. I come with some solid references and the eagerness to start a great career."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Manager Interview

      "I have held progressive roles in management following my education at Brown University, ranging from Coordinator to Generalist to Sr. Manager. Each career move I made was in the interest of developing professionally and becoming more advanced in my field of expertise. My current company has been acquired by a competitor which is why I am proactively seeking a new opportunity."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Marketing Interview

      "After graduating with a degree in economics, I went into sales. I worked my way up through that company and earned President's Club the last two years in my role. During my last year, I started working doing freelance marketing work during my spare time and ultimately was hired on by my current company, who was one of my first clients. I started as an inbound marketing coordinator, and after a year in that position, I moved into my current role as a content manager. The marketing bug bit me, and I am so happy that it did!"

      Rachelle's Answer for a Retail Interview

      "I began at ABC company in high school as a part-time sales associate, then moved to full time after graduating. I worked as an assistant department manager while finishing my associates in fashion merchandising. When I went away to get my B.A., I found a seasonal position at a boutique women's store. I continued to work seasonally there during school breaks, and upon graduation, I returned full time as an assistant department manager at ABC company. My tenure has been strong, despite my moving away for school. I am now looking for an employer who can offer me work that relates closer to my education in fashion merchandising."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Sales Interview

      "I've earned quick promotions across organizations, starting with my first job out of college. Upon graduation, I began with CBA Company as a carrier sales rep. Later, I was promoted to account manager within only a few months. I grew my book of business by over 252% from the baseline that I inherited. I left that position to start as a sales rep at a startup and gained promotion faster than anyone to date in the organization. As an account executive, I closed a deal within 48 hours of promotion, which was also record-setting. I was then headhunted for a strategic sales role at my current business to help get the markets launched across the country. Now, I seek a greater opportunity with less travel. I currently travel overnight 65% of the time."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Teacher Interview

      "I have been a teacher for fifteen strong years, earning many awards and accolades along the way including Teacher of the Year, and Coach of the Year three years in a row. I have a desire for my students to learn in a variety of ways while incorporating the latest technology. I am now seeking a new role in a school closer to my home."

      Krista's Answer for a Psychiatric Aides Interview

      "The only experience I have in this field is from talking with a person I have befriended who has schizophrenia. He is a homeless man who I pass every day on my way to work. I started bringing him small gifts like food, water, candy, and toiletry items I thought he might need. At first, he would only give a quick thank you, but he started talking more over time. One day I asked if I could buy him a cup of coffee so we could talk more, and he said sure. When we were having coffee, he told me about his schizophrenia. The more I talked to him, the more intrigued I became. He is the reason I decided to become a Psychiatric Aide. I hope to have the opportunity to work for this agency so I can gain clinical experience in the field."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Real Estate Receptionist Interview

      "I pursued a Bachelor's degree in X at (X university) and upon graduation I worked as an Intern for [X company] where I was responsible for [X real estate related duties ]. Since this internship, I have also gained considerable reception experience working for [X company] where I managed [X reception related duties] and for [X company] where I was responsible for [X reception related duties]. These are some of the reasons I believe I am a perfect fit for your position."

      Ryan's Answer for an University Administrator Interview

      "I have worked in an office environment since leaving school 5 years ago. During that time, I have also had the opportunity to work in a commercial environment and education setting. These where important as it gave an insight into the differences of the environments. I feel that this is transferrable to the University environment as the customer service being number one priority is across the board, the efficiency of that customer service is another number one priority and also supporting the University in achieving its objectives by pulling together as a team."

      Rachelle's Answer for a Bailiff Interview

      "I pursued a Bachelor's degree in X at UCLA and upon graduation I worked as an Intern for [X company] where I was responsible for [X relevant duties as per the job posting]. Since this internship, I have gained considerable experience working for [X company] where I managed [X relevant duties, as per the job posting] and for [X company] where I was responsible for [X relevant duties, as per the job posting]. These are some of the reasons I believe I am a perfect fit for your position."

      Krista's Answer for an Orthopedic Technician Interview

      "I have one year of volunteer experience helping at orthopedic clinics. I also have experience from the one-year orthopedic technician course I recently completed, along with the externship that accompanied that course. This is the first job I have applied to since graduating, and I look forward to the opportunity of gaining experience with your company."

      5 Community Answers

      Anonymous Answer

      "I began my career in 2013 as a freelance PHP developer for some clients in the USA, and Egypt, then I joined ______ as a junior PHP developer, and I learned a lot in this company, but it was a startup, and they decided to close the company after one year, so I left it, and I joined _______ technologies and climbed the ladder in this company starting from mid-senior PHP developer up to the technical leader and scrum master all of that happen from 2015 up to March 2019, and I felt that I reached my highest limit in ______ and I felt that I need to leave my comfort zone and move to another company, and this company was _____ and I joined it as a senior PHP developer, and I left after 9 months because I wanted to re-locate from Egypt to another country and I got an offer from ______ in Denmark, and I joined it in January 2020."

      Cindy's Answer

      Good! The way you're portraying your experience shows a focus on reaching the next level of career development. Good work!

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      Anonymous Answer

      "I have 17 years of experiences in the financial and management accounting area. Ranging from assistant accountant to accountant and analyst. Each move was in the interest of career development. Now I nearly complete my CPA. I am looking for a new opportunity for career development."

      Marcie's Answer

      Great! So it sounds like you're progressing up the career ladder and that each of your moves was to advance and grow. This is great, but make sure that you don't overlook any job departures that might look confusing to an interviewer, especially if you were at that company for a short period of time. You want to make sure to eliminate any potential red flags in the interviewer's mind. Good job!

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