10 Telephone Interview Tips

Explore the best phone interview tips for all types of job seekers.

Photo: Thinkstock

By Adam Jazairi

Many job seekers prepare exclusively for the in-person interview, but phone interview tips can be just as important in your job search process. These days, several employers use phone interviews for a wide range of purposes. In some cases, it can be part of a pre-screening process to determine which candidates are worthy of an in-person interview.

A phone interview can be just as in-depth as a traditional interview.

Increasingly, however, the phone interview can be just as in-depth as a traditional interview. More and more, companies use phone interviews to gain substantial insight into job candidates before making a decision.

For this reason, if you’re involved in the job search process, you should always be ready for a phone interview. To help get you ready, we’ve put together a list of phone interview tips. Follow these, and you won’t be caught off guard when you get that unexpected call.

Telephone Interview Tips

1. Keep your resume on hand. Have a copy on your desk, in your bag, or wherever you’re likely to be when you get the call. That way, you’ll have something to review during the phone interview.

2. Have a glass of water nearby. Once you get the call, make sure to grab something to keep you hydrated. Dry mouth during a phone interview can be disastrous.

3. Speak clearly and slowly. Not TOO slowly, of course. You don’t want to sound comatose, but you don’t want to sound nervous, either. A calm, even cadence will make you appear relaxed and confident, even if you’re ready to freak out!

4. Breathe deeply. Not only will this help you calm down physically, it will also help you vocally. High, shallow breaths result in vocal tension, while low, deep breaths relax your voice.

5. Don’t interrupt. Since your adrenal glands are likely to be pumping, this is an especially critical phone interview tip. Potential employers value good listening skills, so wait for your interviewer to finish talking before you respond.

6. Stay poised. You might overlook this step since it’s not an in-person interview, but bad posture can negatively affect your speech. Sit (or stand) up straight and you’ll sound more alert and present.

7. Smile. Similar to step 6, this is one of those important phone interview tips that you might overlook. They might not see you smile, but they’ll definitely hear it.

8. Be direct. The more focused and succinct your answers are, the better. If you catch yourself rambling, wrap your answer up as quickly as possible.

9. Ask questions. If given the opportunity, ask thoughtful, pertinent questions about the job or company. Have a list of interview questions you should ask on hand so the telephone airwaves aren’t filled with silence as you think. This will show that you’re interested in the job.

10. Have fun! No, really! Interviews may seem stressful, especially on the phone, but it’s important to keep things in perspective. Keep your stress level low and your enjoyment level high, and your potential employer is sure to notice!


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