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How to Ace Your Phone Interview!

Waking up on a Friday morning, I was sick as a dog and not wanting to move from my bed or my sweatpants. I certainly did not want to have to drive 7 hours to the IBM campus for my internship interview either… and I didn’t have to.

Interviewing over the phone has become increasingly more popular over the past few years, making it way easier on students who live or go to school far away from where they intend on working during the summer. While face-to-face certainly has its obvious advantages of the interviewer being able to read your expressions and body language and you, the interviewee, being able to show your body language, hand gestures and your clean, presentable look (and probably new blazer, pants and statement shoes), there’s definitely a lot to be said for the phone interview as well.
Go to school in Florida but need to interview in Manhattan!? Interviewing over the phone makes this completely possible and still personal. When your interview is a phone call, you are showing them still that you are timely because usually it’s your responsibility to call the company at a certain time, and you are also able to show how punctual you can be during a conversation.

So how are we going to ace this interview? Five easy things to remember before starting and during your phone interview...

Know the company and the job!
No one is going to want to hire someone who doesn’t know what he or she is interviewing for. Of course you’re not going to know every aspect of the job, and that’s their responsibility to inform you about during the interview, but basic background knowledge of what the company deals with on a daily basis is important to understanding the terminology or stories your interviewer might tell you during the phone call. You don’t want to be on the other end with nothing to contribute.

Have your resume, accomplishments and questions on hand
Before you call, pull up your resume and cover letter on your desktop, jot down some important accomplishments in your life and any questions you might have about what the job entails or about the company itself. Some things you might want to know would be how many hours you will be working per week; will you be working primarily independently or in a group of interns? What does the pay look like if it is a paid internship? There will be different questions depending on the position.

Speak at a calm pace and speak clearly
No one likes talking to someone on the phone that they can’t understand! If you’ve ever been told that you’re hard to understand on the phone, practice, practice, practice! You may be very nervous at the time, so try to consciously remember to speak slowly and clearly. Articulating yourself well is impressive to any interviewer. As a side note, make sure you’re in a good cell reception area so that doesn’t hinder how you sound.

Make sure you’re in a quiet setting
If you’re on the phone in your room and your roommates run in screaming about a “huge frat party tonight with kegs on kegs on kegs,” you probably won’t be able to recover. Before your interview, let your friends know when it is so that you can’t be distracted. Lock yourself in your room just in case. This way you are in a quiet, comfortable and familiar setting and you won’t have to worry about your interviewer knowing how many beers you can chug in one sitting.


This is definitely a very important thing to do! Before your interview, Google search some potential phone interview questions and practice what you would say to them. Many of the ones I found online were used in my phone interviews and I was happy to have given it some thought beforehand so that my interviewer and I weren’t sitting in awkward silence while I scrambled to come up with response.

Phone interviews can definitely work to your advantage and are way more convenient than trying to plan out getting to the company. Use these tips correctly and you’ll rock any phone interview my fellow collegiettes! 

I'm currently a Senior WRTC major and Human Resource Development minor at James Madison University. I'm an executive member of Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority and also an executive member of the Human Resource Development Club. I've been involved in HerCampus JMU since my freshman year and am from New Fairfield, CT!
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