How to prepare for a phone interview

The phone interview can make or break your chance of landing an in-person interview-or, eventually, a job offer-so use our tips.

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In this article, we provide the phone interview tips you need to land the job offer you want. And yes, many of the tips differ from in-person interview tips.

Before the tips though, there’s one thing we want to point out: Phone interviews should be taken just as seriously as traditional interviews.

Time and again, we’ve witnessed job candidates approach phone interviews way too informally. Remember, just because interviewers can’t see you (unless it’s over Skype… but then it’s not really a phone interview), doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take them seriously. You can obviously dress casually, but you shouldn’t have a casual attitude. Your focus should still be sharp. Your conversation should still be polished. Your questions should still be pointed. And your setting should still be appropriate (as in quiet).

OK, having said that, let’s get to the tips:

  • Use a high quality phone in a quiet spot with good reception and no potential interruptions.
  • Don't drive and interview at the same time!
  • Don’t eat and interview at the same time!
  • Turn off anything that may be a distraction, including TVs, tablets, etc.
  • Be on time. Work with your recruiter to set up a specific time for the call.
  • If you have a bad connection, offer to call them back with a better spot.
  • NEVER interrupt your interview call for another call that's "beeping in." Ever.
  • Well, let’s just say NEVER interrupt. Ever. Even if you’re excited to answer the question, wait for the interviewer to finish the question before you start.
  • Don’t ramble/be concise. (Yes, nowadays, we tend to talk more—and faster—on phones than we do in person, especially since we can’t see visual cues.)
  • Be confident and organized with notes about the company, the position and yourself.
  • If your phone interview goes well, ask to set up an in-person interview before hanging up. Even if they don't schedule one on the spot, they'll appreciate you being proactive.

  • Last but not least, send a thank you note or email after the interview, highlighting your strengths and reiterating your interest in the position.

Now, we obviously can’t predict whether your experience, skills and personality align with the job you’re applying for, but if you use these phone interview tips, you’ll at least have a positive experience. And who knows, it might be the first of a few steps that take your career to greener pastures!

Want a more in-depth look at preparing for an interview? Well, we’ve got you covered. Check out our series on commonly asked interview questions.


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