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Tips for Phone Interviews

  • Dress for success: Dress for the interview. Some even suggest dressing just as you would in a face-to-face interview as it will improve your confidence and poise and help remind you to maintain a professional demeanor.
  • Utilize notes: One advantage to a phone interview is that you can have notes and documents handy such as: a copy of your resume, a short list of information that you want to be sure to convey during the interview (e.g. why you are an excellent match for the position), a list of questions for the employer, and information about the organization. 
  • Create the proper environment: Take the call in a place where you will not be interrupted. Clear the room. Turn off any other electronic equipment in the room. Close the door.
  • Set up a strong connection. Avoid using a cell phone for the call. If you must use a cell phone, make sure that you are some place where you have good cell reception - the last thing you want is a “dropped call” during an important interview; make sure your cell phone is fully charged (it’s always smart to have a charger with you just in case).
  • Present your best self: Stand up. It gets your blood flowing, improves your posture, and improves your response time. Some people also feel like they think better on their feet. Print the word “SMILE” on a sticky or piece of paper and set it in front of you next to your resume - it will remind you to smile and a smile comes through in your voice; smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice. Do not smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink. However, you should keep a glass of water handy, in case you need to discretely wet your mouth.
  • Listen and be heard: Listen carefully. Do not interrupt the interviewer. When it is your turn to speak, speak slowly and enunciate clearly. It may help to open your mouth a bit wider while you are speaking.
  • Multiple interviewers: If there are multiple interviewers, try to keep track of who is asking the question. When one interviewer asks you a question, clarify who asked the question so you can direct your response to that person.
  • Practice and preparation are key: Practice with a friend to assess how your voice comes across on the phone. Are you a low-talker? Do you talk too fast? Is it easy to understand you? Do you tend to ramble on? In addition, just as you would in any other interview, research the employer thoroughly and have questions prepared for the interviewer(s).
  • Get the name and contact information of your interviewer: It makes it easier to follow up after the interview and when you go in for an in-person interview — it will be useful to have their name at your disposal.
  • Take notes: Have a pen and paper ready to jot down some main points — then when you go in for your in-person interview, you will be able to demonstrate that you were listening.
  • Take your time: It is perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to collect your thoughts.

Additional Resources: