Career Advice >> Browse Articles >> Job Profiles


5 Interview Types and How to Ace Them

Tania Khadder | WomenCo.

August 06, 2009

5. The Phone Interview

What Is It?

For some, there is nothing more terrifying than an over-the-phone job interview. Unfortunately, they’re used more and more as a way to screen a large pool of candidates before deciding who to invite for an in-person meeting.

Phone interviews can be set up in advance, but they can also be completely spontaneous. At any point while you are job searching, a recruiter can call you up for a quick chat. But be forewarned – this quick chat is anything but. It may feel informal, but it’s still an interview.

How to Ace It

First thing’s first — always be prepared! Since the phone interview can come at any time, have your desk set up accordingly. Tape up your resume and some bullet points of your accomplishments for quick reference. Have a pen and paper handy at all times. And if, as it turns out, the timing is bad or your location less than ideal, don’t be afraid to say so and reschedule. The last thing you want is to try and talk over a crying baby or while navigating through traffic.

If you’re lucky enough to have fair warning, it’s a good idea to get dressed for the interview – nothing will make you feel less professional than taking questions in your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pajamas.

And remember, unlike an in-person interview, you can’t rely on body language to help carry your message or express enthusiasm. One way to overcome this is to stand up while you’re on the phone. Everyone speaks more confidently and clearly when they are standing. And smile. It sounds crazy, but people on the other end canhear you smiling.

Finally, don’t let a pause or awkward silence throw you off. They’re a natural part of conversation, albeit more noticeable over the phone. Your interviewer is probably just taking notes or preparing their next question. Don’t feel the need to fill the silence with a nervous giggle or pointless comment. If you are finished with your answer, wait patiently for the interviewer to pick up the conversation.

Don’t miss these related reads!
15 Toughest Interview Questions (and Answers!)
5 Job Hunting Mistakes that Scream “I’m Unprofessional”