Phone Screening

Phone interviews are often a preliminary screening tool to determine whether you will land an in-person interview. Prepare as seriously as you would for any other. 

Strategies for Phone Interview Success

Plan ahead.

Agree upon a date and time when you will have access to a quiet location and can minimize distractions. Turn off call-waiting features to avoid annoying beeps or interruptions. You don’t want to put the interviewer on hold for any reason. 

Prepare your materials.

  • Know who you're talking with. Phone interviews may be with HR representatives or department managers. 
  • Understand their goal. Their goal is to expand on resume details while probing your skills and career goals (and sometimes salary expectations). 
  • Be ready. Have a copy of your resume, calendar, a pen and notepad in front of you. Write short notes in advance on how you match the job description to use if you lose focus.

Project confidence.

  • Dress in your interview attire. Stand up or walk around the room to project your voice and enthusiasm.
  • Take a deep breath. Do this before picking up the phone so that you don’t hyperventilate or quicken the pace of your answers.
  • Avoid up-talk. This is where you answer questions with an upward inflection so that answers sound like questions.

Listen carefully.

Try to avoid interrupting the interviewer. Be patient and wait until the interviewer has fully asked a question or provided a comment before you respond.