I once had to do a phone interview for a large retail company for an internship position, and I realized that phone interview can actually be scarier and more nerve-racking than face-to-face interviews. But just like the face-to-face interviews, preparation and research are the keys to overcome these fears. Why? Because the employer/recruiter is clearly interested in you, you should treat it as if it were the real “get-down-and-dirty” interview.

  • Voice-mail message

Let’s start with the most basic preparation. If you were an employer, would you really like to hear something like “Hello? Hello? Hello?! Haaaa got ya. I can’t get to the phone cuz I’m chilling in Vegas. Leave a message”? Keep it professional: say your full name and state that you will get back to the caller as soon as possible.

  • Tape your resume on the wall

This is personally my favorite tip for a phone interview. I tape my resume by the mirror and other places in my room and around my apartment that I frequently look at so I have a good knowledge about my resume and memorize the key skills.  This also helps if a recruiter/hiring manager calls and requests to do a phone interview immediately.

  • Smile

Trust me, hiring managers have done numerous interviews and you may think it’s ok not to smile just because you can’t see the other side, but they know if you are smiling or not. If you don’t believe me, record yourself talking while you are smiling and not smiling. I can assure you the two tones will be different.

  • Get to the point.

As much as the phone interviews cut right to the chase and ask tough questions first, the answers should be the same way. Rambling will bore the interviewer who took time to call you while trying to handle gazillions of other projects in their work schedule. A know-how to successfully get to your point is to have a separate sheet of paper with key experiences and your accomplishments ready so you don’t waste an infinite umms and ahhs or keep on rambling to buy time. Don’t save your best stories for last. Impress your interviewer early on and keep the attitude consistent.


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