The Dos and Don'ts of Nailing Your Phone Interview

The principles of acing a phone interview are roughly the same as acing an in-person interview. So why do phone interviews feel so much more uncomfortable?

To help you navigate this often nerve-racking interaction, here are some dos and don'ts:


1. Do treat the phone interview like an in-person interview. It is important that, as an interviewee, you see the value in the phone interview step. Don't treat the interviewer as a recruiter you have to "get through" to make it to the "real" interview. Prepare for a phone interview the same way you would prepare for an in-person interview.

2. Do answer the phone by stating your name. This simple action makes you sound more professional. In addition, if you have a hard-to-pronounce name, you will eliminate a potentially awkward interaction between you and your interviewer.

3. Do stand up if you can. Standing helps you stay more focused. You should also try to smile like you would in a face-to-face interview. Your interviewer can hear your smile through the phone.

4. Do preemptively acknowledge any background noises that might arise. Interviewers realize that when you're at home, your kids and pets might be there, too. When you inform your interviewer ahead of time that there may be background noise, you won't be embarrassed if noise does in fact occur. Your interviewer will be less likely to get distracted from your conversation as well.

5. Do let your interviewer know if you have bad reception. Explain that you will call them back if need be. This helps you determine exactly what your next steps should be if your call gets dropped.

6. Do have your resume in front of you and refer to it as necessary.

7. Do have one or two thoughtful questions prepared to ask your interviewer just like you would in an in-person interview. No need for a long list.

8. Do follow up with a thank-you email. It is important to acknowledge that your interviewer took time out of their day to speak with you.

9. Do make sure to answer the phone. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised just how often interviewees neglect to answer the phone at their scheduled interview time.


Believe it or not, these are all things I have actually experienced as an interviewer. I would like to save you from making these same mistakes.

1. Don't be asleep.

2. Don't have someone else answer your phone.

3. Don't be driving.

4. Don't be eating a meal.

5. Don't be smoking.

6. Don't have the radio or television on.

8. Don't have conversations with other people in the room while on the phone. A caveat to this is if you have children at home. Again, remember to inform your interviewer that your kids might pop into the room.

Aside from following the above advice, remember to sprinkle in your own personality during the conversation. That is a good way to impress your interviewer and put yourself one step closer to landing the job you are after.

Meghann Isgan is the team success manager at