Tips for Phone Interviews

Tips for a phone interview

I consider myself an outgoing person and -weirdly enough- I enjoy interviews. I think it’s fun to answer questions and dress professionally and all that jazz. (Not so weirdly enough) most people do not. However, back in 2013 when I had my first phone interview, I had no idea what to expect. My non-verbal cues couldn’t be expressed (or so I had thought) and for all the employer knew I could have been in my pajamas- how would they know if they liked me? I was a nervous wreck.

Since then, I’ve had many phone interviews (and have gotten the job/client 94% of the time) and have many tips to pass down to those of you that might have your first phone interview coming up or hell, maybe your third and really need to nail it. Whatever number you’re on, I gotchu.

Here are tips for landing the job during your next phone interview:

1. Still Use Non-Verbal Cues

When you use the non-verbal cues (smiling, nodding, etc.) that you would use during an in-person setting it helps your tone come off in the way you hope it would. You sound more interested, polite and eager.

Note: Smiling is particularly huge for me- the employer will be able to hear the excitement in your voice and they’ll be pleased that you sound so enthusiastic about the position. I like to overdo it a little bit in my interviews as enthusiasm can be harder to convey over the phone.

2. Change-Up the Way You Answer the Phone

Always answer the phone with, “Hello, this is ____.” If you don’t, it creates an awkward feel for the rest of the call– using this tactic, you set the tone for the rest of the interview, let it be a good one.

3. Take the Call at Home

You want to be in a setting free of noise and distractions + you also want to make sure you have a stellar phone connection. Be prepared and make sure your phone is fully charged (since really, who still uses landlines these days?) and you’re sitting in a room that’s tidy and that you feel your best in.

4. Dress the Dress

Yes, I know I said that the employer would never know if I was in my pajamas or not, but really, dressing professionally when taking an important phone call sets you up for success. It allows you to get into the proper mindset and when you feel confident, you’ll come off as such. When you’re in your boyfriend’s old frat t-shirt and a pair of norts? Not so much.

 5. Print Your CV and Resume

During phone interviews employers frequently reference your cover letter or resume, make sure that they’re printed out in front of you for a quick read– I suggest having a computer open nearby as well (especially if you’re speaking with a potential client that works primarily online and it’s not necessarily a traditional job) but it gets annoying when employers can hear clicks in the background or your tech fails you.

6. Still Prepare

This one is huge. I know so many people who didn’t prepare for their phone interview because they were under the impression that it was going to be easier or different from a traditional one– think again! Prepare, prepare, prepare like you normally would and use the non face-to-face thing to your advantage by creating a cheat-sheet that you can have in front of you for quick reference.

7. Speak Slowly + Clearly

I’m a super fast speaker (when I get excited there’s no slowing me down) so this one I’ve really had to practice. The employer can’t read your lips over the phone so you have to make sure to slow down and speak extra clearly to assure they can understand you.

My suggestion? Practice this before the interview!

Have you had a phone interview? What tips would you add to the list? 

Yes, fill me in!



  • Natalie V.

    These are all great tips! I, too, kind of like interviews–they’re just a chance to talk with someone about yourself. And if you find that you’re a good fit for a job, that’s a great byproduct! :) I work from home, so I tend to do a lot of these when I’m talking to people on the phone on a semi-regular basis even if it’s not for an interview. I also retreat to my closet since it’s quiet and I can block out any noise that my toddler is creating. I also write down major accomplishments and collaborations on a piece of paper to remind myself since I tend to forget stuff like that in the moment!

    • Kayli Schattner

      I totally agree, Natalie! I love that you write down major accomplishments and collabs as well…I’ll have to start keeping a list!

  • Lauren

    I don’t mind the phone interviews, it’s the Skype interviews that throw me off. I have to shut myself off into my office and pray that the dog doesn’t start barking. Thank you for these great tips!!

    • Kayli Schattner

      No problem, Lauren! I’ll have to write a Skype Interview post next :) Thanks for the idea!

  • Kendra Williams

    Great tips! Non-verbal cues are so important because you can hear smiles! = – )

  • Sara Kanwal

    Love the post, Kayli. I am the one to go for dressing up, looking great and with my website at ready to flip through my package details. I like to feel all set to even meet the person if I were asked right away!

  • imperfctconcept

    These are great tips. Most people get caught up in phone emails. Non verbal cues are extremely important.

  • Z K

    Bleh, as someone who is in the trenches with job applications these days, these are def going in my bookmarks!!! Hopefully I’ll actually get an interview soon…