How to Prepare for Your Next Phone Interview

By Christine Ascher on May 30, 2018

While phone interviews have some undeniable advantages over a typical in-person interview—you don’t have to dress to impress, for one thing, and you also don’t have to worry about finding the right location—that doesn’t mean that you should slack off in your preparation. In addition to researching the company that you’ll be interviewing with and practicing some answers to likely questions, you’ll also need to do some extra preparation to make sure you’re ready to interview over the phone. To help set yourself up for a successful interview, make sure you keep in mind the following tips.

Woman, Phone, Phone call

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Find the Right Space

Whenever you have a phone interview, it’s important to give some thought ahead of time to where you want to conduct it. You’ll want to find a quiet space, both so that you don’t get distracted while you’re talking and to ensure that there’s no background noise that will make it hard for your interviewer to hear you. If your apartment tends to be quiet during the day, that can be a good choice. Otherwise, you could try reserving a private room at your school’s library, or find a quiet spot on campus where you’re unlikely to be disturbed. Make sure that, wherever you choose, you have decent service in that spot; the last thing you’ll want is for your interview to end early because your phone dropped the call. It’s also a good idea to get to your chosen location early so that you don’t feel rushed or flustered when you answer the phone.

Double-Check the Details

Before your interview, make sure that you double-check all of the details of the arrangement. If your interviewer is calling you, make sure that they have the right number on hand to prevent any mishaps. If you’ll be calling them, repeat back their number when you’re setting up the interview to be sure that you have it right. In addition, if you’re interviewing with a company in a different area, check to make sure that you and your interviewer are referring to the same time zone when setting up the interview. As well as preventing awkward miscommunications, double-checking these details will also show your interviewer that you’re professional and conscientious.

Have Your Resume Ready

One benefit of having an interview over the phone is that you’ll be able to keep your resume and any other useful documents in front of you while you talk. It’s a good idea to print out a copy of your resume or to have it pulled up on your computer for the interview, as it will give you a point of reference while you’re talking. Even if you never need to look at it, just having it in front of you will be an added reassurance—if you’re worried about blanking on some of your responsibilities for a past job, for instance, you know that you can easily check.

Have the Job Description in Front of You

In addition to your resume, it’s also a good idea to pull up the job description on your computer or print it out so you can reference it occasionally during the phone interview. In addition to giving you some guidance when telling the interviewer why you would be a good fit for the position, you’ll also be able to reference some of the specifics of the job posting during your conversation, which will show your interviewer that you’ve given some thought to the position.

Make a List of Questions

As with any interview, make sure that you go into it with a list of questions to ask your interviewer. Do some research on the company and the position ahead of time to help you come up with informed, thoughtful questions—and to ensure that you don’t ask any obvious questions that are already answered on the company’s website. For a phone interview, you may want to write out your questions and have them out in front of you to ensure that you don’t forget anything. This will help relieve some of the pressure of interviewing, as you’ll have everything you want to ask sitting right in front of you.

Be Ready to Take Notes

As you’re preparing for your phone interview, make sure that you have a plan for jotting down notes during the conversation. While you can use your laptop for this, it may be better to use a pen and notepad, to avoid having your interviewer become distracted by the sound of your typing. Have everything set up a few minutes beforehand so you don’t get distracted by looking for a clean sheet of paper once your interview is already underway.

Even if you’re not a big fan of phone interviews, with a little preparation they can become far less intimidating. If you feel ready for your phone interview, you’ll be more likely to sound professional and prepared over the phone—and you’ll have an even better chance of snagging that job.

By Christine Ascher

Uloop Writer
Hi! I'm Christine and I'm currently a senior at the University of Southern California, where I study English Literature, Economics, and French.

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