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4 Tips to Ace a Phone Interview

By Maurie Backman - Oct 20, 2019 at 11:18AM

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The way you conduct yourself during a phone interview could dictate whether you get the job you're hoping for. Here's how to pull one off.

These days, a growing number of companies are allowing employees to work remotely. As such, they're also allowing them to interview remotely.

It's not common to be asked to participate in a job interview over the phone, whether as an initial candidate screen or even as a more in-depth discussion with an actual hiring manager. And in many regards, phone interviews can work to candidates' advantage -- especially among those who tend to get nervous about in-person meetings.

At the same time, it's important to take a phone interview seriously, as that conversation could dictate whether you ultimately receive a job offer or not. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you nail that phone meeting.

Woman holding pen and talking on phone while sitting at laptop


1. Choose a quiet location

This should really go without saying, but background noise and phone interviews don't tend to mesh well. If you live someplace that tends to be noisy -- say, a ground-floor apartment on a busy street -- make arrangements to find a quieter spot. Also, make sure your home electronics are turned off; your interviewer shouldn't hear music or a TV in the background.

2. Eliminate distractions

When you're not sitting directly across from your interviewer staring that person in the eye, you can easily fall victim to distractions that throw you off course or make you appear unprofessional during a phone interview. And that's not what you want. Instead, create a distraction-free zone. Turn off your cellphone so you're not tempted to look at text messages that appear on screen during your meeting, and if you're going to have your laptop handy, close your email so new messages don't pop up that take your mind away from the conversation at hand.

3. Study your resume beforehand

The benefit of participating in a phone interview is the option to have your resume on hand as a cheat sheet of sorts. At the same time, it's crucial that you study that document thoroughly before that interview and go in prepared to discuss it. Your interviewer may choose to dive into certain aspects of your current job, or former roles, so gear up to explain how you achieved different goals and thrived in different environments.

4. Do your research

The more you know about the company you're interviewing with before that phone meeting, the greater your chances of rocking it. Before that discussion, take some time to read up on the company in question. See if it's been in the news, and definitely comb through its website to understand what it does and what its goals entail. At the same time, check out that company's careers section online. Often, it'll clue you in as to what sort of qualities that employer is seeking from prospective hires.

When it comes to landing a job, phone interviews can carry just as much weight as in-person interviews. If you have one coming up, prepare for it as you would for a traditional interview. You might even choose to enlist the help of a friend and do a trial run beforehand to increase your chances of success.

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