How to Nail a Phone Interview

By Georgia Warrington| June 14, 2016

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Preparing for an in-person interview can be nerve-wracking: you have to find the perfect outfit, make sure there are no wrinkles in your clothes, make sure you brought several copies of your resume, and also plan ahead so you don’t get lost finding the office (and that’s just the start…).

Phone interviews, on the other hand, are more laid-back, and technically, you can do them in your PJs. However, it’s wise not to slack for any interview—in person or not—if you want to get that next interview. Here are some tips on how to hang up from your phone interview knowing you nailed it.

Get into a quiet place

Take the call where it’s quiet. Do not call from the street! If you have to step outside on a busy city street, it’ll be hard for the hiring manager to hear you. It will be distracting—and really annoying. Secondly, are you in an area that has good service? It’s best to give yourself about 10 minutes leeway to make sure you are already in the perfect, quiet environment for that phone call. It’s also best to sound calm on the line, and that you didn’t just run up a hill just to get somewhere quiet. In short – plan ahead!

Phone Interview Tips

Stay Present

Although the interviewer can’t see you physically, do NOT multitask. That includes texting or typing on your computer or chasing after your dog. They can hear it. It’ll also be apparent in your voice, and you may miss a vital question. Even though a phone line separates you and the hiring manager, act as if you are in the same room together. No doodling, staring off into space, or reading. Giving them your full attention is key.

Make a Cheat Sheet

A major advantage of an over-the-phone interview is that you can have a cheat sheet with you. Make notes about questions you want to bring up or insight you have about the company prior to the interview. Sometimes if you get nervous, it’s easy to forget little details like this, so having a one-pager prepared will help you stay on track.

Research the company. With LinkedIn and social sites, you can learn a lot about the company culture and the person you are talking to. Look at their personal interests and prepare some smart questions to ask. This goes a loooooong way to showing you care.


Phone Interview Tips

People can actually hear you smile over the phone! Again, just as if you were in the same room, it’s good to smile. Because you won’t have eye contact, it’s important that the other person knows you are attentive, interested and happy. Believe it or not, smiling and laughing when appropriate will speak volumes about the kind of person you are—even over the phone.

Use Verbal Cues

When responding to a question with a lengthy answer, it can be hard for the interviewer to know when you’re finished. Instead of an awkward pause, or saying, ‘So, yeah…’ end the thought with a definitive remark: “That’s how I resolved problem X,” or “and that is my five-year career goal.”

And of course, in-person interview rules still apply, such as: asking questions, thanking the interviewer for his or her time, and expressing genuine interest in the position. Read more about preparing for difficult interview questions

Go so far as wearing a nice shirt, put on makeup, and sit up straight (don’t be laying down or slouched) when speaking. It sets your mind to business. Do all that and you’ll have this one nailed!


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