Dos & Don'ts of A Phone Interview

Congratulations! You are one step closer the position of your dreams; you’ve made it to the phone interview. Phone interviews are typically used by companies to narrow down the list of candidates to the ones they want to bring in for an in-person interview.

Although you aren’t going to be meeting your interviewer in person, you should still treat this phone interview they way you would an in-person interview. The following are tips to help you ace your phone interview:


  • Prepare – You should treat this interview as you would an in-person interview. That means you need to prepare. Research the position and the organization before the phone call. Find the best place for you to have the call free of background distractions, and somewhere that has reliable phone signal.
  • Make a cheat sheet – The great thing about a phone interview is that the interviewer can’t see you. Make a cheat sheet with all of the information you should know during the phone call - anything from the research you learned about the company to your resume and cover letter. In addition, make a list of questions you anticipate having about the position and company
  • Speak Up – Speak clearly and at a reasonable pace while talking so you can be understood. Don’t be afraid to let your interviewer know if you can’t hear him/her. Speaking up is better than missing questions during the interview. Also, refrain from making jokes during a phone interview.
  • Take Notes – Take notes during your interview. Write down things you need to follow up on such as sending your interviewer a link to your LinkedIn Profile. Also, if you think of a question or something you want to mention during an inappropriate time in the conversation, write it down so you will remember to talk about it later in the interview.
  • Follow up – Be sure to get your interviewer’s contact information, and send a thank you note or email after the phone interview like you would during a regular interview.


  • Take the Call in a Public Place - Make sure you find an appropriate place to have your phone interview. That does not include your car going down the road, or in a public place with many noises. In addition, don’t take the call on speakerphone. Don’t risk the chance of being misunderstood because you don’t want to hold the phone.
  • Wait Around – If you are calling the interviewer be sure to get to your calling location at least 30 minutes early. By arriving early, you will be able to go over your information and ensure that you have what you need to call in. Don’t wait until the exact interview time to call in either. Go ahead and start dialing a minute or two early so your call comes in on time.
  • Multitask – Eliminate all of the things that will distract you. Don’t try to multitask by talking on the phone while making your coffee, doing your laundry, or anything else that would distract you from your conversation. Staying focused on the call will ensure that you are acting as professional as possible.
  • Wear your Pajamas – Getting dressed and ready in professional attire will help you get in the right mindset for an interview just as if you were going in for a face-to-face interview.

For more information about phone interviews check out these articles: Monster, CommonGood Careers, & The Balance.