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Tips to Help You Ace a Phone Interview


When you started your job search, you might have assumed that any interviews would be done in-person. But as you have quickly found out, many companies like to do a phone interview, either in place of the traditional face-to-face interview, or as a pre-interview of sorts to tell you more about the job and determine if you are a good fit.

If you are feeling a bit anxious about phone interviews, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to prepare for those important calls that will help you to stand out among the competition. For example, check out these tips:

Record a Professional Voicemail Greeting

This has nothing to do with the actual phone interview, but it can help land you that all-important call. Because you might not be available to pick up the phone when a manager calls to schedule a phone interview, your voicemail should be as professional as possible. For instance, if you love music, avoid playing your fave tunes in the background and avoid using slang like ‘Hey homies, I’m out chillin’ right now.’

Instead, record a simple greeting with your name, the fact that you can’t make it to the phone, a request to leave a name and phone number, and a promise to call the person back ASAP. If it’s been some time since you have recorded a voicemail greeting and you are wondering how to set it up, your cell phone carrier should be able to assist.


Practice the Process

Talking on the phone with your mom or your friends is a piece of cake. When you are trying to make a good impression on a recruiter, it might not seem as natural. To help nail a phone interview, try recording some practice phone interviews with a trusted friend or relative. He or she can conduct a mock interview with you. After it’s over, go back and listen to it so you can hear if you use a lot of ‘uhhhs’ and ‘okays’ when speaking. Listening to your recording can also help you determine which answers need some work. If you don’t have a good old fashioned tape recorder — and most of us do not — no worries. Simply download a free voice recorder app like the Voice Recorder and Audio Editor app from iTunes.

Organize Your Info and Your Space

Prior to the phone interview, print out your resume and read through it to remind yourself of all of your qualifications. Review the job posting and jot down some reasons why you are a great fit for the position. Have paper and a pen handy during the call for easy note taking, or download a note taking app like Evernote. Also, make sure you are in a quiet room, free of people and even your beloved pets. While you might find it comforting to pet your dog during the phone interview, if the doorbell rings during the call, you don’t want the manager to hear frantic barking.

When the Phone Rings…

Answer the call yourself; don’t let your roommate or dad pick it up. Use the person’s title—Mr. or Mrs.—and their last name. Only start calling the manager or recruiter by a first name if asked. Also, smile while you are talking. Even though the person conducting the interview cannot see you, it can actually change the tone of your voice to one that is more upbeat and cheerful. Even though you may be excited or nervous, try not to interrupt the person doing the interview, and listen carefully to what he or she is asking.

You Have What It Takes!

Preparing for a phone interview is similar in some ways to an in-person interview; practicing ahead of time and making sure that your voicemail greeting is friendly and professional are great places to start. By following the aforementioned tips, you will be sure to impress the recruiter and will start your new job in no time.