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10 Tips for phone interviews

Updated on November 19, 2014

Phone interview tips

Phone interview tips

The next time the phone rings, it might just be an HR agent who is ready to interview you for a job for which you might have recently submitted your resume. Welcome to the phone interview. These are more common in this competitive job market and used to screen job applicants, not just those from out of town. So, here are some tips, just in case you may find yourself having to do a phone interview.

To start off

  • Realize that phone interviews are conducted just like in-person interviews.
  • Since the interviewer is taking his/her chances by calling you at home, it isn't unreasonable to book a convenient time to chat so you can prepare.
  • Take some time to collect your thoughts. and some answers to typical interview questions. Be sure to create a list of your strengths, weaknesses, and most importantly of your work related accomplishments.
  • Be prepared especially to answer questions about your background, training, skills and experience. Do some dry runs over the phone with friends and record yourself if you can to ensure your delivery is smooth.
  • During the conversation, keep your resume in clear view so you can flip through it while you are answering questions.
  • Also, have an additional set of notes on your most relevant accomplishments handy.In addition, be sure to have a pen or pencil and some paper at your disposal for note-taking.
  • Dress for the interview (yes even if they can't see you). It will help you FEEL more professional.
  • Be sure that your call waiting is off ( or if it isn't pretend it is and don't answer the other line). Make sure the kids are out of the house or safely tucked away where they can't interrupt. Be sure too any that electronic media devices are turned off.
  • Consider too using a land line number for your phone interview since cell calls are prone to static, reception issues, and unexpected endings.
  • Send a thank-you note to the Interviewer after you are finished

Telephone job interviews: Background questions

Your screener is going to be looking at all the selection criterion for the job as far as qualifications and experience go to see if there is a good reason to liminate you. So be sure you can adequately answer questions in the following areas

  • past employment, job titles, descriptions and employment dates.
  • salaries, starting and finishing levels
  • why you left your previous job
  • challenges on the job and what you did to handle them.

Typical phone interview questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want this job?
  • What can you do for us?
  • What challenges are you looking for in a position?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What experience, skill, and qualities do you bring to the job.
  • Are you overqualified for this job?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • Are you willing to travel?

Some Tricky phone interview questions and answers

Phone Interview Questions About You

  • What is important to you in a job
  • What is your greatest weakness?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • How do you handle stress and pressure?
  • Tell me about your career goals.
  • What type of work environment do you prefer?
  • How do you evaluate success?

To sum up

Think carefully about your answers to these questions. Make sure your response are positive, yet succinct. Keep your focus on the employer and how you will be of benefit to that organization. Avoid whining or complaining about your previous job! Your mastery of this stage of the interview process will help open the door to the final interview!


Submit a Comment
  • kathleenkat profile image


    6 years ago from Bellingham, WA

    I have had several phone interviews, none of which were scheduled ahead of time. Phone rings, and I answer it thinking it's somebody who wants to schedule an interview...Nope, SURPRISE INTERVIEW! These are great tips, however, that I wish I had done beforehand. I only wish more companies would be less erratic with their phone interviews. Perhaps an email ahead of time would be great.

  • InterestCaptured profile image


    6 years ago

    All good advice, voted up

  • point2make profile image


    6 years ago

    Very good hub. Your information and suggestions are spot on. I have had three such interviews in the last year and if you keep yourself will do fine. Having your resume at hand is a great tip and I would add... be yourself, take your time, and try to relax. Voted this hub up!


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