phone interview tips small

Many companies and recruitment agencies use phone interviews to screen candidates before inviting them to meet in person.

They do it in order to reduce the candidate pool and invite only those who impressed via phone interview. It’s also simpler, faster and minimizes company expenses.

Phone interviews plays an important role on getting a new job and if you want to improve your chances to reach the next stage of recruitment, you should consider following some simple phone interview tips which I am going to cover below and that should help you shine on any phone interview.

Prepare and Plan

  • Take some time to research about the company.
  • Note down your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Prepare answers to the most common interview questions like salary expectations, why you wish to join the company, …
  • Don’t write those answers in huge paragraphs (you aren’t supposed to remember word by word) but just key points that allow you to expand your answers.
  • Prepare the phone interview as if it was a face-to-face interview.
  • Ensure you know what’s written in your CV and print out a copy to have next to you.
  • Make sure you know all interview details, such as:
  • Who is going to Interview you?
  • What time is the interview?
  • Will they call / Do you need to call them?
  • Think about some questions for you to ask the interviewer.
  • Have a pen and paper ready for your interview.
  • If you are using a mobile phone, make sure that it’s fully charged and with network or consider using a stable landline. The last thing you want is your phone to turn off or to lose the call in the middle of the interview.
  • Have a glass of water next to you in case your mouth gets dry from talking.
  • Overall, remember that only practice makes perfection.
  • Review your answers a couple of times. Try asking a friend or family member to ask you some questions as if you were in an interview.
  • You might want to record your answers to see how you sound over the phone. This will help you to improve your speech and cut on using unnecessary “ums”.
  • Also ensure that you practice speaking both slow and clear so you are easy to understand.

Find a Silent Place

  • You won’t be able to fully concentrate on your answers if your family or friends keep speaking in the background during an interview.
  • Find a silent place where you won’t be disturbed.
  • Turn off radio, TV and everything that might distract you. Also ask your family/friends to leave the room and to not disturb you.
  • If you have a dog or a cat get it out of the room as he/she start making noise or distracting you.

Stay Calm

  • A few minutes before your phone interview, take a deep breath and relax.
  • That will help you calm down. Your interviewer will easily notice if you are nervous, so you want to try and be as calm as possible.
  • During the interview, if you are unsure about an answer, don’t stress over it and give yourself a few seconds to think about the answer. Small pauses are perfectly fine, just as you would have in your face to face interview.
  • In case you don’t understand a question, don’t answer it randomly. Ask to repeat and answer the correct question.

Act Professional

  • Ensure you answer the call correctly.
  • If the job you are applying to involves handling phone calls, you should already be showing that you know how to answer a call properly.
  • A greeting line such as “Good Afternoon, Tom speaking” is a perfect example of how you should pick up the call.
  • Address the interviewer with tittle (Mr, Mrs, Miss …) and their last name, unless asked otherwise.
  • Always be polite and never interrupt the interviewer.
  • Smile, sound engaged and enthusiastic. This can easily show that you are excited about the job position.
  • However, ensure you control your tone. You don’t want to be shouting on your interviewer ears.


  • Focus 100% on your interview and listen carefully, as it might be harder to understand questions than on a face-to-face interview.
  • If you are comfortable, take some notes. Chances are that you will have other phone interviews and/or the notes will help you prepare to extra recruitment stages.

Ask Questions

  • You should always ask one or two questions as this will show that you are interested in the job position.
  • However, keep in mind that this is only the initial screening interview. You should avoid questions such as salary or starting date. Those should only be asked on the face-to-face interview.

Send a “Thank You” Note

  • After your interview is completed, make sure to always send a “thank you” note to your interviewer.
  • This will demonstrate that you area really interested in the job and might increase your chances of being accepted to the next stage.

Things to Avoid During the Phone Interview

  • Do not eat or chew.
  • Don’t drink too much (only the essential – to refresh mouth).
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Avoid background noise (no public places).
  • Turn off any other phones you might have.
  • Don’t multitask. No cooking, no browsing, nothing. Concentrate on the interview.
  • Don’t lay down. Sit properly so your voice sounds clear.
  • Don’t speak negatively about anyone.
  • Don’t answer with just yes or no.