3 Tips to Ace a Phone Interview

You may think that phone interviews are easier to coast through because you don’t have to shake hands, dress up, or think about nonverbal communication. But, phone interviews can be tricky if you don’t prepare, are easily distracted, or pick the wrong place to answer your phone. Here are three tips to help you get through your next phone interview.

Be prepared – Just like with a face-to-face interview, you should take your preparation seriously. Familiarize yourself with the company, and find out who you’re interviewing with. Also, prepare questions to ask the interviewer, and practice answering commonly asked interviews questions. For a phone interview, make sure your phone is fully charged and has a good signal if you’re using your cell phone. If you can, use a land line instead. You want to be able to clearly hear the interviewers and have them hear you as well.

Stay focused – Schedule your phone at a time of day that will allow you to prepare, and pick an appropriate location to answer the call. Place yourself in a room or a corner away from distractions where you can fully concentrate on your interview. Put your résumé and cover letter in front of you so you can reference them if the interviewer asks you a specific question regarding either one. Have a pen and notepad ready so you’ll be better suited to take notes. Write down questions you think of during the interview so you can remember to ask them when it’s time. 

Limit background noise – Creating a distraction-free area will help you sound professional and stay focused. Phones can pick up background noises very easily, so be sure to limit what you can. For example, avoid chewing gum, drinking, or eating during the interview. It’s okay to have a glass of water available, but don’t gulp it loudly. Turn off the radio or television, and stay away from children and pets because they’ll only create unwanted noise and distractions.

Just like a face-to-face interview, a phone interview can lead you to a job offer, or keep you from landing a job. So, make sure to treat a phone interview with the same preparation and professionalism you would for an in-person meeting.


  1. Laura Paris

    That is an excellent point, Keith. For lots of people it’s hard to really “listen” to what’s being asked so that the question can be directly answered. Then and only then is it a good idea to broaden the conversation!

  2. Pingback: Dial me This: Questions to Ask in a Phone Interview | Movin' On Up

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