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Telephone Interviews

Phone interviews are often conducted:

  • When it is not convenient for the employer and candidate to meet in person.
  • When there is a large applicant pool and the employer wants to narrow the field before on-site interviews.

The employer typically arranges the time with the candidate and places the call.

Prepare for the phone interview as you would for an in-person screening interview but follow these additional tips for success.

Tips for phone interviews:

  • Conduct the interview in a private location where you will not be interrupted or distracted.
  • It is preferable to conduct the interview over a land line rather than a cell phone to ensure the best connection.
  • Sit up straight, in a chair, at a desk or table. Do not lounge on the couch or in a bed. Do not conduct the interview “to go” while you are on the move.
  • Have a copy of your resume, cover letter, application, and job description accessible.
  • Prepare some notes highlighting your top skills and strength. Your notes should be in outline
  • Form not an essay. Keep them organized so you can refer to these during the interview.
  • However, avoid shuffling the papers or sounding like you are reading from your notes.
  • Smile as you would in a face-to-face interview. A smile can be sensed over the phone and communicates enthusiasm and friendliness.
  • Speck slowly and annunciate clearly.
  • If there are multiple interviewers on the call, write down names as introductions are made and take notes so that you can address individuals by name.
  • Since you will not have non-verbal cues, verbally clarify information or points of possible confusion. Ask, “ Have I given enough information?” “ Do you need more detail?” or “ Did I answer your question satisfactorily?”
  • If you do not think that you heard a question correctly or clearly, politely ask the interviewer to repeat the question.
  • Write down a list of questions for the interviewer.
  • Ask for the spelling of the interviewers name, title, and email address so that you can send a thank you note.

Telephone Etiquette

  • Put a smile on your face!
  • Answer promptly and identify yourself
  • Be polite and use good speech
  • Respect other’s time and be prepared
  • Leave a message when necessary
  • Record a professional voicemail message(leave extended absence greeting when applicable)
  • Return calls promptly.
  • Silence cell phones during meetings and do not answer calls during meetings ( if urgent, excuse
  • Yourself to a private area)


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