Phone interviews – the basics

phoneWhen you have a phone interview what you say matters a lot but so does everything else.  I have had my share of bad phone interviews and they are easy to avoid.  Here are some tips to follow before your next phone interview.

Find a quiet place where you don’t have to be quiet.  If you are taking a break at work to do your phone interview your car might be the best place.

Be sure you have a good cell signal.  It is totally understandable it the call gets cut off but if it happens more than twice it becomes irritating quickly.

If the recruiter is calling you ask for their number in case you get cut off.  This is not only a good idea in case it does happen, it shows that you think ahead.

If you are at home and you have pets, put them up.  Barking dogs are aggravating!

Schedule a day and time when you can be distraction free.  You won’t be at your best if you are also watching the kids.

It will be tempting but try not to use speakerphone.  I would call someone ahead of time and ask them for feedback on how you sound, especially if you want to use speakerphone or a headset.

Have a copy of your resume with you.  It is irritating when I ask someone to go over their work history and they don’t even have the information in front of them.

Have your questions for the interviewer written down.  You WILL forget them.

ALWAYS ask what the next step is.  If you don’t talk about a second date while you are on the first date that is a bad sign.

DO NOT eat while on the phone.  You would think this goes without saying.

DO NOT multi-task.  Your focus should be on the phone interview.

Answer the phone with your name: “Hello, this is Al.”  This is especially true if you have a difficult to pronounce name.

Have a pen and paper to take notes.  It is good to jot some things down that you can use in your thank you email.

Smile.  Yes, it matters.

Stand up.  Yep, it matters too.


Science must not impose any philosophy, any more than the telephone must tell us what to say.

G.K. Chesterton

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