Mastering Phone Interviews

So, you’ve applied for a job in another town or better yet another state and you’ve landed that first interview.  That’s the good part.  The bad part is that first round of interviews is on the phone or even more common these days, a Microsoft Teams, Skype or other video service interview.

For the purposes of simplicity, we will deal with the phone interview for now.


Phone interviews may seem quite simple and an easy thing to do – unfortunately that couldn’t be further from the truth and a growing number of people fail phone interview due to lack of preparation.  Hopefully we can resolve that issue today!


Too have a successful traditional face to face interview part of the skill is being able to read the interviewers body language – something you simply can’t do on a phone interview.


So – How DO you make sure that phone interview is successful?


Treat the phone interview seriously, just as you would a face-to-face interview.  A phone interview seems so informal on the surface that it can be easy to fall into the trap of “phoning it in” don’t get caught with you guard down.  This is just as formal a process as a traditional face to face is!   Preparation is the absolute key!  Thanks to the Internet there are large amounts of information available on companies from their own website to public sights such as LinkedIn®, Glassdoor® and others.  Do your research!  Speaking of LinkedIn® – it’s an invaluable tool to review the profile of the person you’re speaking with.  Get to know what they do, where they’ve worked and potentially mutual connections that you may have!

Have your resume and cover letter in front of you…It’s almost a certainty that you will be reviewing your resume – make sure you have it in front of you.  Any other documentation (cover letters, a copy of YOUR LinkedIn® profile, etc.) are also helpful for supporting documentation.

Make a cheat sheet…Write down a few notes about the most critical points you want to make with you interviewer (s). What specific skills do you think are critical for the role.  Do those skills make you different than others – then they need to be discussed during this call.

 Are there certain skills and experiences you want to emphasize?  Do you have certain interests or passions you want your interviewer (s) have in common (learned from your research)?  Make sure these are all part of your cheat sheet and are discussed during the call.

Get a high-quality phone – This isn’t the time to use a cell phone that cuts in and out, or a cheaply made phone that makes if difficult for you and your interview (s) to hear and understand each other.  If you must use a cell phone it’s critical that you’re in a quiet space and have prefect reception!  There is nothing worse than a call with poor sound quality.  That alone can be a deal breaker in the eyes of the interviewer.

Shower, groom and dress up (at least a little) – A bit odd isn’t that?  Remember what was discussed previously, this needs to be treated as a face to face – and hopefully you would groom yourself for that!

Stand up, or at least sit straight at a table or desk.  Again, you must treat this as a face to face interview.  Ever wonder why singers always stand up when they sing (and why you should stand up?).  Your voice projects much better either standing or at least sitting up straight. 

By following these “simple” rules you will greatly enhance your chances of a successful phone interview and will be invited for additional rounds.

Best of luck in your job search – and your upcoming phone interviews!

About the Author:
Chris Connolly is the owner of New England Staffing and has over 25 years in the Information Technology field including almost 10 years in the IT staffing industry and has been involved in thousands of candidate interviews.
All thoughts and opinions are those of the author.  All company copyrights are of their individual organizations.
This document is the sole possession of New England Staffing and may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.