Skip to Main Content

Phone Interview Tips

  • Make sure your cover letter includes accurate and complete contact information (including e-mail address), so that an employer can easily reach you. Your voicemail greeting should be clear and professional; check phone messages and e-mail frequently when you are in a job search.
  • If possible, schedule phone interviews when you have plenty of time -- don't squeeze the call into a busy work day or lunch hour because the call may start late, or go longer than you expect.  
  • Have your resume, the job description and some basic information about the company handy for when the Recruiter calls you. It’s important to sound prepared and confident; you won’t make a good impression if you sound flustered or if you need to ask the caller too many questions at the onset of the conversation.
  • Be ready at least 5 minutes earlier than the schedule start of the call.

During the Interview:
  • Conduct the interview in a quiet place. If you have roommates, put a note on the door so that you will not be disturbed during the course of the interview. Move pets to another room. If something unexpected happens despite all your preparations and you get distracted, it's best to be honest about what's happening.
  • If possible, use a land line phone. If this is not possible, make sure that your cell phone is completely charged and that you have adequate service. Disable call waiting or other accessories on your phone that make noise that can distract you or your interviewer during the call.
  • Answer the call with your first and last name. Know how you're going to greet the person.  
  • It is okay to have notes in front of you; however, be sure to not read from your notes.
  • Wear business clothing for the interview; professional dress makes you act and sound more professional.
  • Stand up during the phone interview. When you are sitting, your voice on the phone can often be breathy and hard to understand; therefore you will sound better if standing.
  • Smile throughout the interview; it will help you sound clear and pleasant.
  • Relax and remember your purpose: to get invited for an in-person interview. Do your best to show interest in the position and the company, and to describe your most relevant skills and experiences.
  • Plan how you will close the interview. Restate thanks and major points to end on a confident, positive note.

Immediately after the phone interview, write a short thank-you note. An appropriate sentiment to convey would be something like: “Thank you for taking the time to speak with me this afternoon about your Summer Research Internship. I enjoyed our conversation, and feel that I have a better understanding of the job. I remain interested in this position, and would welcome the opportunity to further discuss my candidacy during an on-site interview. Thank you again for your time; please don’t hesitate to contact me at (978) 123-4567.” Making an effort to also reinforce a couple of “selling points” in your note may help you stand out!