Phone Interview Tips Series

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You might not think about the quality of your voice before your phone interview—but you should.  Interviewers concentrate very hard on your voice in that conversation:  Do you sound alert?  Confident?  Enthusiastic?  Are there any red flags they need to be worrying about?  They just don’t have that much to judge you on when you’re on the phone, so they focus on what they can—the words you say, how you say them, and the sound of your voice.

Warm Up Your Voice Before the Interview

An hour or so before your interview, talk to someone else to warm up your voice.  It’s sort of like warming up before you work out.  You want to hit your speaking stride for that conversation, not sound scratchy or worse—sleepy, when you talk.

If you like to sing, you can even do that.  Choose a song that pumps you up and makes you feel fantastic so it not only warms up your voice, but ramps up your energy level before the call.

Get a Glass of Water

Bring a glass of water with you to have close-by during your interview.  Every so often you can take a quick drink to keep your voice smooth.  Just remember—do NOT put ice in your water.  The clinking of ice in your glass will sound very loud to the person you’re speaking with and might even make them think you’re drinking Scotch on the rocks instead of plain water.

Watch Your Tone

In phone interviews, they only have your voice to make judgments about your personality.  Use the time before the interview to either do a practice phone call with someone or record yourself answering some interview questions so you can see how you sound.  Aim for positive, upbeat, energetic, and enthusiastic.  You don’t have to be Perky Pamela if that’s not your natural personality, but remember that this interview could be the beginning of a beautiful new job.  That’s a good thing, and you should act like it.

Speak Smoothly

phone interview tips

Before the interview, practice your answers to common interview questions so you don’t stammer.  Uncertainty in your voice really stands out on the phone when that’s all they’re paying attention to.  Even simply taking too much time to think before your answer can sound like uncertainty.  Sometimes you will have to stop and put your thoughts together before you answer, and that’s OK, but don’t do it every time.  Have a few answers ready to roll off your tongue.  And make sure you’re not using irritating speech fillers like “um” and “uh.”  Even silence is better than those.

Don’t Shoot Yourself in the Foot

Don’t make obvious mistakes during your telephone interview that will interfere with your speaking.  That means: don’t smoke, don’t eat, don’t chew gum, and don’t slurp coffee.  Any sounds of slurping, smacking, or breathing heavy will give them a very bad impression of you.

Got a big phone interview coming up? Let’s make sure you’re ready with a half-hour of coaching!


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