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Tips for Absolutely Nailing that Phone Interview

Interviews are scary, like, on every level. They have a way of surfacing nerves you didn’t even realize you had. One moment you’re thriving, living your best life, then the next you’re prepping for an interview and suddenly you’re sweating, wondering if you’ve always had an increased heart rate like, “should I get that checked out?”

Next, you start questioning yourself like, what’s my professional history again? What’s my degree? How old am I? What’s my name? Am I actually even a human?

But, what about over-the-phone interviews? We’re taught how to have a firm handshake and what to wear, but how do you make yourself standout through the limitations of a phone?

So, here’s what you need to know.

Have your cheat sheets This is your strongest advantage. Sometimes during traditional interviews, you can blank on important points simply due to your nervousness, but this is your chance to have a compilation of lists in front of you to jog your memory and keep you on track. Here are a few lists to keep in front of you.

A list of your strengths and weaknesses, because they will most likely ask you. Also, have a list of your answers to typical phone interview questions. Don’t write out long-winded answers, just enough to jog your memory. You should be speaking genuinely and truthfully. These should only be prompts to remind you, not dictate your response. Lastly, make sure you have a list of questions that you want to ask them. If you have any questions about the responsibilities of the position, what they’re looking for, health benefits or retirement packages. Remember the goal of the phone interview is to schedule an in-person interview and close the conversation by asking them if they have any further questions about your experience or qualifications.

Get in yo zone Find a quiet place to complete the interview. Make sure you are clear of distractions and that you are sitting up, ready to pay attention. You’re likely going to have to pay extra attention because you are only listening to a voice, rather than having an interpersonal communication, so it’s easy to trail off into thought when you don’t have your visible facial expressions holding you accountable.

Have your resume in front of you in case they ask you something in reference to it, and also have a pen in hand and a piece of paper for note-taking. You have the freedom to jot down answers to your questions and information they give you without them realizing it, and that is a game changer. Sometimes in the whirlwind of an interview, you might not retain all the information given to you, so make sure you use this to your advantage.

Do’s and Don’t’s

  • Do address the person by their title. They will let you know if they want you to call them by their first name.
  • Don’t chew gum or put anything in your mouth at all, drinks, food, a vape.
  • Do smile and sound upbeat! They will know you’re smiling and excited by the tone you set, so smile and don’t be afraid to laugh and be conversational.
  • Don’t interrupt.
  • Do take your time. Don’t feel rushed by the interviewer.
  • Do speak clearly.
  • Do dress the part. Now, before you laugh, know that this can be absolutely beneficial. Have you ever heard the saying, “look good, feel good”? The right clothing will put you in the right mindset.
  • Don’t forget that the goal is to set up a face-to-face or follow up interview
  • Do your regular interview preparation! 
    • Do your research
    • Stay conversational
    • Follow up with a thank you letter

Channel your inner girl boss and remember, you’re valuable and you’ve got this!

Michaelyn is a senior journalism student with a minor in English at Murray State University and along with being a writer for Her Campus, she is a content creator for The Odyssey! She loves Jesus, musicals, makeup, writing and laughing. Michaelyn is also bilingual--as she is fluent in memes and GIFs. On campus, she works as a student public relations writer, is a member of the Murray State Social Media Team and is involved in her sorority. When Michaelyn isn't busy at school, work or being the "GIF Queen," she can be found cuddled up with her puppy and a cup of coffee. 
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