Conducting a job interview by phone

Doing a job interview by phone is a little different from a live meeting with an interviewer. Here are a few general tips to consider: 

  • Try to do some preparation reading about the company and the position ahead of their call
  • Make sure you are ready for the call (if scheduled ahead of time)
  • Write down the name of the person calling you from the company (and their job title, if they tell you)
  • If you need to re-schedule the call, let them know as soon as you can (particularly if they call you un-scheduled, which doesn’t happen very often)
  • Make sure you have a good phone connection, if using a cell phone
  • Try to minimize background noises on your end of the call
  • Try to cancel any alarms or other sounds on your phone before the call
  • Have a copy of your resume, and any documents you may have sent them previously (such as your transmittal letter or references) out ready for you to see (or up on your computer screen), while on the call
  • Listen carefully to the questions, and be brief with your initial answers; if they need clarification, they will prompt you
  • Listen very carefully to any follow-up questions, since these will be very important to the person interviewing you
  • If you need them to repeat something, let them know if it was due to sound quality of the call, etc.
  • Try to relax and give yourself time to think before answering each question
  • For any tricky questions, listen very carefully before answering and don’t make any comments about the question being tough or tricky
  • Try not to repeat yourself too often
  • If possible, mention related sections or descriptions on your resume (tell them where this item is located on your resume)
  • If more than one person doing the interview (or they are using a speaker phone), make sure you can hear and answer the questions from all the interviewers
  • At times there may be silence on the call (they may be taking notes, or briefly talking quietly amongst themselves); don’t talk over these quiet times
  • Be patient, and let them end the call, but feel free to ask about the next steps in the process. They may need to discuss the interview offline before they can tell you the next steps
  • If they request any additional files or documentation from you, make a note of it and send it to them soon after the call has ended