Interview by Phone

Organizations conduct phone interviews to screen candidates in order

  • to narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited to interview in person and
  • to minimize expenses for both the organization and the applicant.

Many steps for phone interviews are the same as those for interviewing in person. Start by reviewing interviewing in person. Then consider these these additional tips:

Preparing the room for a phone interview

  • Select a quiet, private room to take the call
  • Turn off the stereo, computer, and the TV
  • Remove the dog, cat or other pets, and close the door
  • Use a landline unless your cell phone service is going to be perfect
  • Dress as you would to interview in person. You will be more focused and confident.
  • Print out the job description and place it in front of you.  Highlight key phrases.
  • Print out your resume, cover letter, and notes.  Place them in front of you to help you respond.

Speaking during a phone interview

  • Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.  Organizations often use a speakerphone, which can make it hard for them to hear you
  • Stand up while talking.  You will feel more focused, alert and confident
  • Convey enthusiasm through your tone of voice. The organization can’t read your body language, but they can hear a smile!
  • Ask the organization to repeat a question if you aren’t sure you heard it correctly
  • Pause (a) after the organization asks you a question and (b) after you finish speaking so that you don’t interrupt anyone

Interviewers: who will interview you, and what do they want?