Top 15 Phone Interview Questions and How to Answer Them
by Amanda Griffin
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Summary: Phone interviews can be a challenge, but preparing early to know what questions to expect will make sure you are ready to face the hardest questions.
Phone interviews come with a unique set of challenges. It is likely the first time you have talked with someone in the law firm in-person, so you don’t have the chance to re-think and re-word your thoughts like you do with an email. You also don’t have body language to rely on to get you through the interview. Below are the top 15 phone most often asked interview questions, along with the recommended answers:
Questions on your background:
1. What were your starting and ending compensations? Don’t exaggerate or inflate your earnings, because the law firm may check your references to confirm your salary history. What you tell the interviewer needs to match up with what you put on your application. You don’t want any discrepancies to pop up between what you claim and your employer says.
2. What were your responsibilities? Describe your job responsibilities in detail and connect them with the job you are interviewing for. Keep any mentions of previous jobs positive and stay away from complaining about past coworkers, supervisors, and job responsibilities. Place an emphasis on the tasks of the job you are applying for and demonstrating how you have covered those responsibilities in past jobs.
3. What major challenges and problems did you encounter? How did you handle them? Take this opportunity to highlight your problem-solving and critical thinking skills while under stress. Be able to define how you came out of the challenge or challenges successfully by describing what you did and how you did it. Finish your explanation by emphasizing the outcome and what you learned.
4. Why are you leaving your current job? If you left of your own accord, explain in a positive way why you left your job. If you had to leave the job under less than ideal circumstances, then focus on the future in a direct manner. Perhaps you were looking for more responsibilities and challenges that your current/past job was not able to fulfill. Other reasons for leaving a job may be for relocation, new educational prerequisites, or a career change.
5. What are your salary expectations? Before beginning the interview, do your research to find out what the job is worth. Take a look at sites like Glass door to discover what similar positions in your area are receiving. Take into consideration your qualifications. If you already have an advanced degree that will greatly help the company and the position, bump up what you think you should be paid. That being said, it is best to refrain from discussing salary if there is no job offer. Reply that your salary requirements are open for discussion once an offer is received and the overall compensation package is a factor. You can also spin away from the question by stating that you want to hear more about the responsibilities and challenges of the job before getting into salary discussions. If they continue to press, give them a range based upon what you find in your research of the average salary range for the position in your area.
Questions about you:
6. What are you looking for in a job? The interviewer is trying to see if your goals and expectations will fit with their position and law firm. Review the requirements of the job, making a list of your interests and goals that match with the requirements. For example, if teamwork is listed as a requirement of the job then emphasize that you thrive in a team environment and are looking for a company that encourages teamwork and team projects.
7. What is your greatest weakness? Although you are discussing your weakness, it should be discussed in a positive way. Try pinpointing one of the key skills for the position that you are interviewing for that is one of your shortcomings. Take this shortcoming and explain how you have been working to improve on it.
8. What is your greatest strength? The interviewer wants to see that your strengths align with the law firm and the job you are interviewing for. Pick a skill that directly correlates with the job that you highly excel at. Give an example of how you have used your strength in the past year at a past job or project.
9. Tell me about yourself. This is a great opportunity to brag about yourself in an appropriate manner. Be careful not to share too much or too little information. Start by sharing some of your interests such as rock climbing or playing chess. The things you share will represent your personality and work ethic.
10. What motivates you? Many people are motivated by money, status, vacation time, etc., but these might not be the best answers to represent your abilities as a strong employee. Choose to highlight things like building strong team relationships, finishing a high quality project, or learning a new skill.
11. What type of work environment do you enjoy? Being able to fit into the law firm and their culture will be important to your success with the firm as an employee. Do some research into the firm to learn about what kind of law firm culture they have. Don’t lie about what you prefer just to make the interviewer happy. You want to be a good fit for with law firm in order to be happy in the position.
Questions about the new job:
12. Why are interested in this job? Look at the qualifications for the job and connect a few of them to your current skills. For example, if the job includes the recruiting and training of new employees and you have experience doing this is your current job, then explain that you are interested in these things and that is why you wish to continue developing your abilities in that area.
13. How will you benefit the law firm? Give specific examples of things you have accomplished in the past that will benefit the firm. Know the firm’s mission so that what you can provide will align with what they are looking for.
14. What do you know about this law firm? Research the firm in and out before the interview. Go to their website and read the “About Us” page, read social profile pages, read current events concerning the firm, and anything else that might relate to them. One bonus to phone interviews is that you can take notes on these things and keep them next to you during the interview.
15. Why do you want to work here? Use examples from the firm’s website about their culture and mission in your answer. If you have a connection at the firm, turn to them to get advice on the type of employee the firm is looking for. If community involvement is an important aspect to the firm, highlight that as part of your desire to work there.
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