Make yourself shine in a phone interview

These days, it’s common for employers to screen and interview jobseekers over the phone.  In this case, your voice, tone, and attitude impact how interviewers judge your qualifications for the position. Based on their impressions, they usually compile a short list. To make sure you make the cut, there are crucial preparation steps you should take.

Timing matters

Usually, there is a set time for your interview. But sometimes, a call can come out of the blue. If you don’t feel comfortable taking an impromptu interview, ask if you can reschedule. You don’t want to blow your chance at landing the job right out of the gate. Either way, it’s essential to think ahead so you can effectively pitch your skills and experiences.

How to impress for success

  • Do some research on the company. Know their history, mission, and values. Sniff out what they boast about. Read their latest news releases.  LinkedIn is an excellent source for discovering information that the company wants everyone to know about them.  Facebook and Twitter can give you clues about their culture.  You can impress the employer by dropping in your knowledge of the company at appropriate points during the interview
  • As with any interview, convey how your skills and accomplishments can match and enhance their business and departmental operations. And because you are on the phone, you can refer to notes. But be careful. Sounding like you are reading your responses could turn off the interviewer
  • Steer clear of answering questions with “yes” or “no” answers. Include all the details needed to provide a vivid picture of your capabilities and accomplishments
  • Because the employer doesn’t have you in the room, the person-to-person chemistry and visual cues present in standard interviews are missing. That means the “real you” has to come through in your voice. Ahead of time, formulate possible questions, primarily based on the job posting. Then find a way to record your answers and listen to see if you sound friendly, capable, knowledgeable, and assured. And smile as you speak.  It really helps!
  • Set a professional tone for your telephone interview by blocking background noise from children, pets, televisions, and other phones. As you speak, stop to take a breath now and then. Be careful not to rush the interview by saying you have a time limit

[Five of the Toughest Telephone Interviews Questions and How to Handle Them:]

The closing

  • Make sure all questions have been asked and answered—including your own. If you’ve uncovered anything in your research that deserves further investigation before moving forward, take some time to inquire about it. If red flags have come up during the interview, don’t be afraid to ask about them
  • As the interview is winding down, use brief, pre-prepared comments that express the ways you are a stellar prospect for the job. Find out what the next steps might be, and if you don’t already have it, get the interviewer’s contact information
  • Finally, send a thank you note. Most experts say this message should be in writing. If you want to follow up after a reasonable time, it would probably be acceptable to send a brief email reinforcing your continued interest and main qualifications for the position

[Send the Perfect Post-Interview Thank You Note]

Let us advocate on your behalf

We’re here to listen, consult, and make sure you find the right position in marketing, digital, retail, and more. Click here to see our current job listings in top companies in Minneapolis and St. Paul:

For more inspiration on telephone interviews see:  

How to Impress Your Future Employer From the Insider’s Point of View]

Sometimes a phone interview is with the company’s HR department.  Acing the Phone Interview:  Preparation is Key.]

Phone Interview Etiquette can Propel You to the Next Step in the Hiring Process


Watch for our next blog that will help you prepare for increasingly popular behavioral interviews.