How to Ace the Dreaded Phone Interview

6 tips to help you make it to the next round.


What is it about phone interviews that can make any job candidate choke up? It's hard to get a sense for someone's true personality and capabilities over a phone call, yet most interviewing processes start with this step. Since it is inevitable, here are a few tips to make sure you get to the even more important in-person interview.

[See 21 Secrets to Getting the Job Offer Now.]

1. Plan to be in a quiet spot. Make sure it's a place you feel comfortable and can speak freely. If you are worried about being overheard, schedule the interview during a time you can take the call at home or in a quiet place.

2. Stand up. Talking while on your feet makes you feel empowered and your voice will project your confidence.

3. Smile. It's contagious. Since the interviewer won't pick up on body language, it's important to convey your enthusiasm through your voice. Smiling makes you sound energetic, enthusiastic, and positive. These are all traits that any company wants in an employee.

4. Keep your resume with you during the phone call. You may be asked about minor details listed on it. It's easy to forget when you're put on the spot. Keeping your resume in hand will save you from an embarrassing moment if the details slip your mind.

[See 4 Easy Ways to Maintain a Great Resume.]

5. Don't act too informal. A phone interview may seem like an informal screen, but it's not. It's your only chance to make it to the next step.

6. Prepare a brag sheet full of accomplishments. You want to connect the dots between what you have accomplished in your career and how your background will help this company. When I interview candidates on the phone, I make special note of those who can rattle off specific accomplishments (especially with quantifiable results). You're more likely to find opportunities to talk about these results if you have them in front of you.

[See more job advice at U.S. News Careers.]

Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and recruiter with Paradigm Staffing, a national search firm that specializes in placing public relations and communications professionals. She blogs at, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.


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