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How to Ace a Phone Interview

Performing well in a phone interview can help you land the job you want. As unemployment grows, more companies are using phone interviews to screen large pools of qualified candidates.

Man acing a phone interview and enjoying the conversation

When you are faced with a phone interview, know that it is not just your voice and language skills on display. Your tone of yours should be conversational to show off how well-versed conversation topics will make for an interesting discussion during the call itself (and avoid making any boring answers). These tips may help land jobs faster!


Here are some tips to make a good impression throughout the entire process.

Before the Phone Interview:

1. Be strategic with your contact information.

Let potential employers know the easiest way to contact you. Suggest that you can best be reached at home if it's awkward for you to take calls at work. More and more companies do phone interviews without any advance notice so do what you can to establish the best conditions.

Notebook with a fountain pen with the word notes written

2. Keep a contact log.

If you're sending out multiple applications, keep a contact log so you can keep them straight. You'll be better prepared for impromptu phone interviews or any return calls if you know which company and position they're calling about.

3. Do your research.

A phone interview requires just as much preparation as the face-to-face version. Learn all you can about the company, position, and people you're going to interview with.

4. Prepare talking points and questions.

Write down talking points and follow-up questions that you can refer to. It will help you sound prepared and make it easier to remember everything you need to address.

5. Warm up your voice.

Your voice matters, even more, when your body language and facial expressions aren't visible. Hum or read to yourself for a few minutes to get it into condition.

6. Clear away distractions.

Let other calls go to voicemail. Ask your kids not to interrupt you. Give the call your full attention.

During the Phone Interview:

1. Be friendly and enthusiastic.

Two people being friendly during an interview

Make a strong first impression. Smile and hold your head up. Focus on the positive aspects of the position so you'll sound excited to discuss it.

2. Record everyone's name.

If you're interviewing with more than one person, write down everyone's name at the outset. It'll come in handy if you meet them for an in-person interview.

3. Adapt to the interviewer's approach.

Be yourself but be sensitive to the style of your interviewer. Adjust to their level of formality and the degree of detail they're seeking. Some employers may just ask a few preliminary questions while others will go into great depth.

4. Deliver your summary statement.

Have a brief summary statement prepared about why you think you're the right candidate. It should be about 20-30 seconds long.

5. Avoid interrupting.

It can be difficult to judge when someone is done speaking when you can't see them. Pause for a second before replying to avoid any awkward interruptions.

6. Request feedback.

If you sense any weak areas during the phone interview, try to revisit them. Ask the interviewer to clarify their needs so you can offer more information to strengthen your case.

7. Ask questions that show you're a good fit for the position.

Ask questions that demonstrate that you've done your research. It will show that you're really interested in the job and give you another chance to talk about why you'd be an asset.

8. Clarify the next steps.

Ask about their hiring process. They may want to schedule an in-person interview immediately or let you know when they'll decide on the remaining finalists.

After the Phone Interview:

1. Send a thank you note.

Send a brief note of thanks by email or regular mail. It's good etiquette and yet another chance to show you'd make a good employee.

2. Make follow-up plans.

Job seeker making follow up plans with hiring manager

Hiring decisions often take longer than expected. Follow up as needed with tactful persistence.

The phone interview is a crucial step in the hiring process. By following these tips, you can make a great impression and increase your chances of getting the job you want. If you need help preparing for a phone interview, reach out to us today. We are happy to provide guidance and support throughout this process.


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