Phone interviews are often used to screen candidates in order to narrow the pool of applicants who will be
invited for in-person interviews. While you’re actively job searching, it’s important to prepare for a telephone
interview the same as you would an in-person interview. We hope the information helps in your preparation.
Be Prepared for the Interview
- Compile a list of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as a list of answers to typical phone interview
questions. In addition, plan on being prepared for a phone conversation about your background and skills.
- Have your resume with you. The interviewer may ask you specific questions and although you may feel like you
will be able to answer these types of questions “off-the cuff”, having your resume on hand will help you focus in order to answer questions quickly and confidently.
- Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.
- Do some research. Use the job posting as a reference. If there are specific qualifications, be prepared to
discuss them. If you don’t possess some of the specific experience, don’t worry. Prepare to speak about
another similar work experience and explain how those skills are transferable.
- Talking on the phone isn’t as easy as it seems. I’ve always found it’s helpful to practice. Have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview and record it so you can see how you sound over the phone. You’ll be able to hear your “ums”, “uhs”, “likes” and “okays” and you can practice reducing them from your conversational speech.
During the Phone Interview
- Be in a quiet secluded space with good cell phone reception. Background noise and interruptions are a
distraction to the interviewer and may give the impression that you aren’t serious about the position.
- Don’t smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink, but do keep a glass of water handy, in case you need to wet your mouth.
- Smile!!! Smiling will actually change the tone of your voice and project a positive image to the listener.
- Speak slowly, enunciate clearly and take your time. It’s perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to collect
- When discussing your experience, cite specific examples. Telling a brief story of how you accomplished a
relevant task will add color to who you are as a professional and as a potential employee.
- Don’t interrupt the interviewer, use the interviewer’s title (Mr. or Ms. and their last name.) Only use a first
name if they ask you to. These are professional courtesies that will be appreciated.
- Don’t speak about salary or benefits. Remember, your goal is to set up a successful face-to-face interview and
ultimately a job offer. The best way to have a strong negotiating position is after you have already convinced
them that you will be an indispensable addition to their team.