The Basics

7 Phone Interview Tips That Will Land You A Second Interview

A phone interview is usually the first step in the interview process for an internship or entry-level job. Employers conduct phone interviews to screen potential candidates and narrow down the pool of applicants before deciding who they will interview in person. Although these interviews are conducted off site, it’s important to note that a phone interview is just as important as an in-person interview and requires the same level of preparation.

Here are 7 phone interview tips for snagging that second interview.

1. Make a cheat sheet.

Since many interviewers rely on the same kinds of questions, you can probably anticipate at least some of the ones your interviewer will ask you. Look up common interview questions like “What are your strengths?” and “Tell me about yourself,” and practice your response. Think of your answer, practice it, fine-tune it and make simple notes that you can decipher at a glance when you’re on the phone for the real thing. Having your potential answers already planned will take a lot of the pressure off of the interview. It doesn’t mean all of your work is done and that you should breeze through the interview like it isn’t important. It does mean that you’ve been smart to plan ahead and will be confident in your answers because you’ve already given them ample thought.

Pro Tip: Have some questions prepared and write them down so that that you don’t forget them. This is a great way to ensure that you ask relevant questions at an opportune moment.

2. Have your resume and a notepad in front of you.

Chances are that your resume is what attracted the interviewer to you in the first place. Print out a copy to look over or have the file open on your computer during your interview. Even though you should already know your work and school history and what you’ve accomplished, it’s easy to get a little nervous during an interview and draw a blank. With your resume in front of you, that won’t be a problem.

Be sure to also keep a notepad nearby in case you want to jot down notes as you talk. Just make sure you let the other person know so that they’re not confused by any moments of silence.

3. Ensure that your phone has good sound and signal.

During a phone interview, sound is the only medium you have. To make the most of it, you’ll want to be in a quiet location with good phone reception. Test the location in advance by having a friend or family member call you. If your phone doesn’t work well in that area, find a new location. Avoid busy coffee shops or airports, and most important, don’t speakerphone.

4. Sit up straight and make sure you’re comfortable.

You’ll want to be as comfortable as possible during your phone interview. The location that you chose in advance should have a nice, quiet place for you to sit and put your laptop, a notebook and a bottle of water. If you are physically uncomfortable during your interview, your interviewer will likely hear it in your voice and possibly find it distracting. You want the interviewer to focus on you and the content of what you’re saying.

5. Have web access.

The location you choose should have Internet service. You should also have your laptop or tablet available. It’s becoming increasingly common for interviewers to ask you to pull up a website or documents to reference during a conversation and not being able to access will make you look unprepared.

6. Keep pets, roommates and other noisy elements at bay.

If you have pets, put them in another room. This is not the time to babysit, either. Your dog or little cousin could interrupt an otherwise successful interview. Make sure you aren’t expecting a delivery or that your roommate doesn’t have friends over. You want to give the interviewer your full attention and not have noise in the background of your call.

7. Monitor your voice.

You should sound professional and enthusiastic throughout your interview. Show your college education by using appropriate vocabulary and concise language. Display your interest in the opportunity by sounding excited (within reason).

By following these steps, you’re likely to impress the interview and get one step closer to landing your dream job. Remember that even if you don’t get this particular opportunity, you will be better prepared for the next interview. Completing an interview is in and of itself an accomplishment.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Negotiate a Job Offer and find answers to common interview questions such as What Motivates You?

Find your dream job or internship.