Preparing for a phone interview? Here’s what you should avoid doing

Ace that phone interview with these tips. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Ace that phone interview with these tips.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


When you think of a job interview, it’s likely that you’ll picture a traditional face-to-face process.

However, many employers choose to do a first round of interviews over the phone.

Phone interviews can be intimidating, particularly if your previous interview experience has always involved on-site, in-person meetings. But don’t worry; a little preparation can go a long way! The following list details the primary reasons phone interviews usually go badly.

Not being prepared

This goes without saying, but make sure you understand all the details of the interview. Do your research on the company, read over the job description, and practice sample questions that you think might come up during the interview.

You’ll also want to confirm all of the logistical details: who will be calling, when, and at what number. If the employer is calling you, be ready well in advance.  Double check you have good reception, ensure that you are the one answering the phone, and set up all the resources you need on hand before you pick up (notebook, resume, job description, etc.).

Not acting professional

Remember that every interview is a professional undertaking, even if it isn’t conducted in a formal workplace.

Part of the challenge of phone interviews  is presenting yourself in a professional manner without the ease of in-person interaction. If you haven’t had much experience making business phone calls, try phoning a friend and comparing your interaction to the conversations you’ve had with an employer or in a traditional interview.

Do not eat or drink during your interview, and make sure that you are in a quiet setting with a phone that has a full battery.

To save yourself from embarrassment, make sure to tell everyone else in your household that you are using the phone for an interview, this way you don’t get your parents picking it up in another room, awkwardly interrupting.

Other things that can help put you in the professional mindset: sitting in a professional setting or area (think desk, not bed), dressing for success.

Not closing the interview effectively

Just like you would in an in-person interview, ask questions. Always have a list prepared in advance and pick a few that they might not have answered during your conversation.

This is your chance to get a better idea of the work environment, and whether you could see yourself working there. Don’t forget to close by thanking the interviewer before saying goodbye.


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