Top tips for successful phone interviews

Niall Harris 23.02.2018

Phone interviews are frequently used to save time by pre-qualifying both your interest and expertise. Here's some recommendations to ensure your next phone interview is successful.

Isolate yourself

Phone interviews place you at a disadvantage because you only have one tool of communication, your voice. The interviewer's impression of you is shaped by all the sounds coming through the phone.
Insulate yourself from distractions and background noises. Do not have your phone interview when you are surrounded by a lot of noise like an outdoor café at a busy intersection.
If the call is on your cell phone make sure the caller can hear you clearly.  When the phone interviewer first contacts you, make sure it is comfortable for you to talk on the phone for at least 20 minutes. If it's not convenient, recommend scheduling another time for the call. 

Stand up

During the call stand-up, walk around and smile. All these things make a big difference in the projection and quality of your voice. 

What's next

At the conclusion, ask the interviewer about next steps and timing of their hiring process. 

Get face-to-face

If you are interested, ask for a face-to-face interview. Remember that your objective (during the phone interview) is to secure a face-to-face interview. You will be most effective discussing your background and assessing the company in a face-to-face meeting. 

Prepare your responses

Phone interviews follow a similar pattern of questioning with the purpose of screening you out of consideration. Below is a list of questions most phone interviewers ask. Write down and practice your responses. 

Questions you ask

Questions are your primary tool of influence with an interviewer. Questions help you direct the conversation and assess if the company is right for you. Here are some questions to ask during a phone interview. 

1. Opening Questions: Questions you ask at the beginning of the phone interview

  • What is your position with this company? 
  • How much time would you like to speak on the phone? 
  • What position are you considering me for? 
  • What are the key things you'd like to learn about my background? 


2. More Questions: Questions you could ask in the middle of the interview 

  • What business imperatives are driving the need for this position? 
  • Describe the three top challenges that I'll face in this job? 
  • What are the characteristics of people who are most successful in your company? 
  • What are the key deliverables and outcomes that this position must achieve? 


3. Closing Questions: Questions you ask at the end of the phone interview

  • What additional information would you like me to provide? 
  • What concerns do you have at this point? 
  • When is the best time to follow up with you? 
Best of luck on your next interview, it is the most important moment in your search for a better position.
Niall Harris's picture
Associate Director