How to impress on a phone interview

Many companies now treat phone interviews as the official first round of the hiring process. That means candidates are expected to go into them prepared with as much information about the company, position, and their own skills and strengths as possible.

It’s quite easy to mess up your phone interview. But it’s also not hard to come across well if you keep some key things in mind:

1. Never take the interview somewhere noisy

It might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised what interviewers say they can hear in the background of their phone interviews—everything from barking dogs to screaming children.

2. Don’t talk about your personal life

The point of a phone interview is to focus on getting to know a candidate’s professional experience and goals. They are trying to qualify you to see if you are the best fit for a role. Learning about your personal life doesn’t help.

3. Resist the urge to multitask

It might be tempting to cross something off your to-do list while on a phone interview, but recruiters and hiring managers can easily tell if your attention is elsewhere.

4. Skip the money conversation

It’s simply too early in the process for you to be the one who brings up salary expectations.

5. Never put your interviewer on hold

Phone interviews don’t take that long, and there probably isn’t anything else going on that is really truly so urgent that you need to pause your interview.

6. Never skip the Q&A

“After wrapping up a phone interview, it is typical that the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. ALWAYS ask questions! It shows you are interested in the role.

7. Don’t be late

It seems basic, but surprisingly, a lot of people are late to phone interviews.

8. Don’t assume reception is good

Make sure you test your headset and connection before dialling in. There is nothing more frustrating for a recruiter who has a structured interview guide in place having to repeatedly ask the same question over and over because they could not understand your answer due to static or dropped signals.

9. Never talk over the interviewer

You might be eager to get your point across or talk about your experience, but interrupting the interviewer is awkward and rude when you’re speaking on the phone, even more so than in dace to face interviews!

10. Skip filler words

It’s tough not to say things like “um,” “uh,” and “like” in everyday speech, but these verbal habits become much more pronounced when speaking on the phone.

11. Don’t go in blind

Not knowing anything about the company or job you’re interviewing for is a sure way to fail.

12. Long-winded answers

The key to success during a phone interview is clear and concise answers. People’s attention spans tend to be shorter over the phone. You don’t want your future employer to lose interest in the conversation. Practice answers to questions you know will be asked ahead of time in order to be clear on what you’re going to say. That way, you can prevent rambling before it starts.


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Mike Johnson

Founder at JOHNSON BIM