July 31

How to Set Up a Phone Interview


Did you know that you have more control than you probably realize over your phone interview? Many job seekers don’t. It’s easier than you think to exercise a little power over your phone interview, and when you do, you’ll have a much better outcome. Here’s how to set up a phone interview.

Control the Time and Day of Your Interview

In the best-case scenario, you’ll get a call or email to schedule your phone interview. Choose a day and time that works best for you. If you’re a morning person, schedule it as early as possible. If not, see if you can schedule it for later in the afternoon. Set an appointment that works for you.

If the company calls to talk right then, it’s OK to say, “I’m happy that you called. I’d love to talk now, but I really can’t give this the attention it deserves right now. Can we talk [insert a good time for you]?” In most cases, they’ll be fine with that. (If not, just do your best.)

Research the Company and the Interviewer

Finding out as much as you can about the company and the interviewer will make you significantly more impressive in your phone interview. You’ll deliver stronger answers and ask better questions based on what you learn.

Where should you research? Start with the corporate website, do a Google search for news or articles, find them on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter), and ask your network for anything they can tell you.

Prepare and Practice Answers to Common Interview Questions

Before every interview (not just phone interviews), you should think about how you’ll answer common interview questions and then practice saying your answers out loud. You can work with an interview coach or even just record yourself to see how you sound to others.

Being able to deliver strong answers easily will make you sound more confident to your interviewer. Don’t read your answers word for word, though. Practice them ahead of time and you’ll sound smooth and natural.

Set Up Cheat Sheets

The great thing about phone interviews is that you can set up as many papers and notes as you want to. My advice is to lay out paper copies in front of you on your desk or table. Lay them out so you don’t have to shuffle them and make noise. Plus, printed copies are better than clacking away at your computer (noise) and maybe even having your computer decide to update or conk out on you.

What should you use for Cheat Sheets? A copy of your resume, a list of questions to ask, a list of points you want to make about yourself, written out answers to typical interview questions, and blank paper (with a pen) so you can take notes.

Be in a Good Spot for a Phone Conversation

The best place for any phone interview is in a quiet room in your home. At home, you get to control the noise level and who can enter the room (no one). Public places are too risky for noise and interruptions. Pick a quiet spot with no distractions.

BTW – If you’re using a cell phone, make absolutely sure your phone is charged and that you have good reception. It’s even a good idea to make a call to a friend a few minutes before to make sure everything’s good to go.

Read more phone interview tips here.


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