10 Phone Interview Tips: How to Survive a Call with a Prospective Employer

Does the idea of a phone interview make you nervous? If you’re a part of the millennial generation, you are definitely not alone. According to the BankMyCell company’s survey on millennial phone call statistics, this age group should be dubbed generation mute;  with research revealing that, out of 1,200 participants, 81% struggle to find the courage to call others.1

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However, it’s not just dialing that causes distress; receiving calls can also be daunting. So, If you are worrying about how to survive a call from your prospective employer, just breathe and keep reading. Here are 10 tips that will get you through your next phone interview.

Phone Interview Tip #1

Confirm the Details of the Call

Before you even begin to worry about the phone interview, you need to get clear on the details. Make sure you know what to expect and what time to be near your phone. Here’s a shortlist of details you might want to confirm before your call:

  • The company representative you will be interviewing with
  • The exact time of your phone interview including the time zone
  • The telephone number or area code the call will come from
  • A secondary point of contact in case you need to reschedule or the connection fails while you’re conversing

Phone Interview Tip #2

Create a Cheat Sheet

If you want to remember all of the achievements and awards that made you shine in your last role, make a cheat sheet to refer to while you speak. Having notes or your resume handy can make all the difference in your confidence; which can help you sell yourself as the best candidate for the role.

Phone Interview Tip #3

Research the Company Thoroughly

It’s not enough to know the name of the representative you’ll be speaking with, you need to know about the company too. Do your due diligence by researching the company and reading the job description prior to your phone call. If you find yourself needing more information than you can find online, jot down questions so the interviewer can elaborate on anything that is unclear.

Phone Interview Tip #4

Gather Tools to Streamline the Process

Even though phone interviews are not conducted in person, you still need to come prepared to keep the conversation flowing. Those tools could include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A cup of coffee to stay alert or bottle of water to stay hydrated
  • A phone charger in case your battery dies
  • A pair headphones (with microphone) to focus
  • A fidget toy if it helps your nerves and isn’t too distracting
  • A note-taking device such as an electronic tablet, laptop, or traditional pen and paper

Phone Interview Tip #5

Find a Quiet Place for the Call

During a phone interview, nothing is more distracting than an unexpected sound. Before you hop on a call with your soon-to-be boss, make sure your surroundings are quiet and will remain so for the duration of the conversation. If it’s impossible to create a silent space in your house, consider taking the call somewhere else. Renting a co-working space, or stopping by a local coffee shop, can provide a cozy atmosphere for you to focus on your interview. 

Phone Interview Tip #6

Be Prompt to Make a Good Impression

Start your call off on a good note by being prompt, professional, and polite. Being punctual shows that you are a serious candidate. Likewise, answering your phone with an optimistic voice can set the tone of your conversation. 

Phone Interview Tip #7

Breathe & Speak at a Reasonable Speed

If interviewers are constantly asking you to repeat yourself, try slowing down a bit. Being aware of the speed at which you are speaking, will help you communicate effectively. So if you catch yourself rambling or mincing words at a mile a minute, take a deep breath and talk slowly.  

Phone Interview Tip #8

Be an Active Listener

Want to ace a phone interview? Be an active listener. Watch out for auditory clues to avoid interrupting others and listen closely to the questions being asked, so you can answer appropriately and without hesitation.

Phone Interview Tip #9

Express Gratitude

At the end of your call, remember to say ‘thank you’ to the interviewer for taking time out of their day to speak with you. A little gratitude can go a long way. Take this tip even further by sending an e-card or physical thank you note following the interview. In addition to letting your prospective employer know that you are appreciative of the opportunity, your note can mention skills or qualifications that you forgot to touch on earlier. 

Phone Interview Tip #10

 Try to Be Patient After the Call

Unfortunately, you may not be the only applicant. Set realistic expectations when waiting for a response, so you don’t feel over-stressed. While sending a thank you note is perfectly fine, you should avoid bombarding the interviewer with lots of questions following your initial call. Try to be patient. Instead of worrying about when you’ll hear back, review your notes so you are prepared for your next opportunity. 

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  1. Turner, A., Author: Ash Turner. (2021, June 8). Generation mute: Why do millennials hate phone calls (2021). BankMyCell. Retrieved December 10, 2021, from https://www.bankmycell.com/blog/why-millennials-ignore-calls