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How to Crush Your Next Phone Interview

Lionseye insights from AC Lion


Many first round interviews are still taking place on the phone. It’s a fast and effective way for an employer to weed out the weak links, so you have to make a great first impression. Here are some tips to make sure that phone interview gets you through to that next round, the in-person meeting. 

  1. Take it seriously: Sounds obvious, but candidates often assume that a phone interview is somehow less important than a “real” interview, so they tend to take it less seriously. Big mistake! The only way you’ll get to the next step of the application process is to do well in the phone screen — so make sure you’re on your A-game .Prepare and practice just as much as you would for an in-person interview.
  2. Let your personality—and job skills– shine: Having a phone interview means that you won’t be able to make eye contact or read the interviewer’s body language. So, it is vital that you put extra effort into projecting your personality through the phone. Many candidates act stiff and aloof during a phone interview, which naturally puts off the interviewer. Have a winning story on tap to start the call— tell a story that will engage the listener, showcase your skills, and give your personality a boost. Also, take cues from the tone of your interviewer, and try to modulate your own tone and word choice to make a positive impression.
  3. Phone interviews can be short, so make the most of it: You probably only have 15-20 minutes to present yourself. Have your resume and the job description handy, but definitely don’t make it sound like you’re reading off of a paper. Keep it natural, and make an effort to have short and sweet answers. Brevity is the soul of wit, as they say.
  4. Stand up and smile: People on the other end of the phone line are very perceptive. So, stand up during your phone interview (your voice will be more dynamic), and smile into the phone throughout the entire conversation (you’ll sound warm and friendly).
  5. Just because the interviewer can’t see you, doesn’t mean you can be doing something else: This means no multi-tasking or distractions while on the interview; no eating, driving, checking your email, typing, etc. Basic rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t do it in a face-to-face interview, don’t try it on the phone screen.
  6. Choose a quiet setting, and ideally a landline: A noisy Starbucks is probably not a good choice, for one. If you’re at home, clear the room of kids and pets— turn the TV and music off. Some people say to never use a cell phone for an interview, but nowadays that probably isn’t realistic. So, just make sure that you have good service and there isn’t a chance for your phone to cut off during the conversation.
  7. Ending the Interview: like in a face-to-face interview, thank the interviewer and ask about next steps. Your goal is to land the in-person interview. And ALWAYS send a thank you note, even for phone conversations! Try to include relevant examples from your conversation, and reiterate your interest.


How do you prepare for a phone interview? Share your tips and tricks!