Phone Interview Tips

Be prepared

Prepare for a phone interview just as you would for a regular interview. Compile a list of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as a list of answers to typical phone interview questions. Plan for a conversation about your background and skills.

  • Keep your resume in clear view, on the top of your desk, or tape it to the wall near the phone so it’s at your fingertips.
  • Have a short list of your accomplishments available.
  • Have two pens (just in case one decides to stop working!) and paper handy for note taking.
  • Clear the room – evict roommates, family, and pets. Turn off the stereo and the TV. Close the door. You can even put a note on the door that says DO NOT DISTURB!
  • Unless you’re sure your cell phone service is going to be perfect, consider using a land line rather than your cell phone to avoid a dropped call or static.
  • If you are interviewing with a certain company, look them up on Glassdoor to see if their company is listed. You will see reviews from candidates and key information about their experience with the interview process.

Practice interviewing

Talking on the phone isn’t as easy as it seems, and it is helpful to practice. The Career Center can conduct a phone interview with you to keep your “ums,” “uhs,” and “ahs” in check. You should also rehearse answers to typical questions.

During the phone interview

  • Don’t smoke, chew gum, eat or drink.
  • Do keep a glass of water handy.
  • Smile. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice.
  • Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
  • Use the person’s title (Mr. or Ms. and their last name.) Only use a first name if they ask you to.
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
  • Take your time – it’s perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to collect your thoughts.
  • Give short answers.
  • Remember your goal is to set up a face-to-face interview. Have questions prepared! I recommend having five questions prepared and, if there is time, ask two of your choice and this one: “What are the next steps in this process and when should I expect to hear from you?”
  • Be sure to thank the interviewer for their time.

After the interview:

  • Take notes about what you were asked and how you answered.
  • Follow with a thank you note that reiterates your interest in the job.
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