Follow these tips to kill it on your next phone interview.

by Sydney Owen


The coolest thing about being a candidate for a position that you’re relocating for (minus the thrill of a new city, new people, new life) has got to be a phone interview. I have recently gone through a total of six phone interviews for my newest position, and I’m here to tell you, it’s not scary. I used these tips to prepare, and now I have compiled a list of my own. (Thanks, Penelope, for getting me all squared away!)

1. Go somewhere quiet

For me, this was my car, for all six interviews. A lot of important business happens in my car, because it’s a quiet place away from the classroom, work and my apartment. I can’t get a good silent spot on campus unless I’m in my car. If I tried to do an interview at work, I’d have servers yelling about medium-rare steaks, which is not the best background noise.

2. Dress the part, if you want

For me, I’m not comfortable in super-formal business attire. I never have been. So I wore what I am comfortable in: business casual. I wore something that I look great in, I was having a great hair/makeup day, and you could tell. You can hear confidence on the other end.

3. Have water handy

I get wicked dry mouth when I’m talking for a long time, so I had water handy. I also am prone to little cough attacks; the little tickle in my throat comes up at the most inopportune times. (Think finals in a 1,200-seat auditorium. (Are you SERIOUS?).) So I was prepared. But not slurping it. Don’t slurp water, or chew gum, or smoke, etc. when you’re on a phone interview.

4. Smile

If you’re smiling, your voice sounds upbeat. Really. It’s a huge difference. Think about when you call a friend and you know they’re upset. It’s the same thing. You can hear emotions.

5. Don’t be afraid to think about your answers

Yeah, the pause will feel like forever since the person on the other end can’t see you thinking as they would if you were face-to-face, but don’t just jump into an answer because you’re afraid of the pause. Believe me, they’d rather wait for an awesome, well-thought-out answer than to hear you ramble while you try to gather your thoughts.

6. Ask questions

The normal interview rules still apply. Everything you do in an in-person interview needs to be done on the phone, with twice the enthusiasm. Ask questions about the person interviewing you. Make sure your questions are relevant to the conversation. An interview should be about two-way communication, so help facilitate that. Don’t just answer; ask as well.

7. Follow up—Immediately

The best thing about my iPhone is that as soon as I got off the phone with my interviewers, I sent them an email thanking them for the opportunity to learn more about the company and for the experience. Be sure to include something that you found particularly interesting. It shows that you were paying attention.

Do you have any other tips for phone interviews? What is your preferred method of interviewing—in person or on the phone? Do you rock interviews, or do they scare you?


  1. Jazzy Marie

    Thanks for the tips, I am preparing for 2 phone interviews which are my dream jobs! I also have an online portfolio at would love your feedback. Thanks again, for sharing.

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