Five Tips for a Phone Interview

In an increasingly technological world, phone interviews are common for college students trying to score a coveted summer internship. In order to score my dream internship in New York this summer I had to go through two rounds of phone interviews, here are some tips I learned to help you prepare!

1. ) Do lots of research on the organization you’re applying to

Sometimes college students apply to dozens of organizations for internships, in all of your research and desperate resume sending, it can be easy to confuse two non-profits, hospitals, offices, etc. Nothing sends the president for a bad interview like mispronouncing or saying the wrong name of the institution or person who's interviewing. Make sure you know the basics about the place you're applying to, such as their mission statement and the internship responsibilities. This will help you impress your interviewer with answers tailored to the place you're applying to

2.) Try and find a place where you can be alone

Doing a phone interview in the cafeteria at rush hour… bad idea. This may sound self-explanatory, but I’ve overheard countless interviews in the library when it's crowded and cell reception is at an all-time low. Not only can background noise be distracting and hinder communication but having other people listening in on your interview is intimidating and can throw you off your game. Try and find a place where you’re alone and comfortable, maybe ask your roommate to go out for coffee, just for a little while.

3.) Don’t do it in your PJs

As easy as it is to think “phone interviews are great because you don't have to look nice” conducting an interview in your bed while you’re still in last nights makeup is a bad idea. You'll feel more confident and therefore come across better if you feel fresh and professional. Take a shower. Sit at a desk. Don't wear your PJs. It can make a world of difference, trust me.

4.) Always have a list of your strengths and weaknesses on hand and memorized

The most annoying question “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” also happens to be the most common. While it may seem easy to do a quick self-assessment and pull the perfect answer out of thin air, more often than not this type of self-reflective question can catch you majorly off guard and your answer will end up coming off babbly. Take some time one day to write down a list of three strength and three weaknesses and how you’d elaborate on them. Even if you don't have a phone interview scheduled, at some point or another in your life, you’ll have to answer that dreaded question.

5.) Ask Questions!

At the end of an interviewer, virtually all students will be asked if you have any questions for the interviewer. The people that sick out in employers minds are the ones who have already done research on the organization and are eager to learn more with insightful and intelligent questions. Furthermore asking questions shows a demonstrated interest in the position and employers will be more likely to hire you if they believe you will accept the position over other offers.


Good luck and let those phones rings!