How to nail the dreaded phone interview and get the job you want.


Often the first hurdle in the job recruitment process is the dreaded phone interview.

While a phone interview might take some of the pressure away – you won’t have to worry about what you’re wearing, or how to get to the interview in time for example – it’ll also introduce you to a whole bunch of new challenges.

In traditional face-to-face interviews non-verbal communication such as eye contact, facial expressions, body language etc, plays a huge role. Employers will often base a lot of their first impressions of a potential employee off their non-verbal communication.

During a phone interview, however, without the visual cues of face-to-face communication, you’ll have to work a lot harder to sell yourself by just using your words.

Follow these steps to nail your phone interview and get the job you want:

Do your prep work.

Paul Bailo, the author of The Essential Phone Interview Book, says you should be preparing for a phone interview days beforehand.

He says you should start by doing your research and finding out everything you possibly can about the company and the role. Then you should spend some time writing down a list of questions you can ask the interviewer, such as ‘How do you see this position contributing to the continued success of the organisation?’ and ‘What does your ideal candidate look like?’

Nail your opening line.

Writing for Fast CompanyKate Finley says the beginning of the conversation sets the tone for the entire interview. She recommends having your opening lines ready on autopilot so you can confirm the interview and keep the conversation moving forward.

“Picking up the phone with a simple “Hello?” is often the worst way to go,” she writes. “The interviewer has to ascertain whether you’re really you, and then figure out how to segue into the interview, which can quickly turn awkward.”


Instead you should answer the phone like this: “Hello, this is *insert name here*. Once the interviewee replies, thank them for taking the time to speak with you.

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Have everything you need in front of you.

The best thing about a phone interview is that the interviewers can’t see what you’re doing. That means you can have all your research, your pre-prepped questions, and any other prompts you need, laid out in front of you so you can refer to them throughout the interview.

Follow up.

Within two days of the initial phone interview send a thank you email through to the interviewers – thanking them for their time and reinforcing your interest in the role. This will put you at the forefront of their minds while they’re deciding who to put through to the next round of interviews.

Do you have any other phone interview tips? Tell us about them in the comments below. 

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