Published on December 9, 2014

Best ways to succeed at a phone interview


When it comes to job interviews, many people detest interviewing by phone, as they feel it limits their ability to demonstrate enthusiasm in their desired position or to express their personality. Additionally, phone interviews don’t enable job candidates to assess the nonverbal cues of their recruiters, thus likely leaving them in the dark as to the likelihood that they will be offered a follow-up interview or ultimately given the role. Since companies and organizations do not typically have the resources to fly all job candidates in for the first round of interviews, phone interviews are extremely common-- so, one must learn to master them! Below, I have listed some tips to help you succeed at your phone interview, move on to the next round of interviews, and ultimately snag the internship or job of your dreams!

1.Arrive early!

Even though it isn’t a meeting in person, punctuality still counts! Fifteen minutes before your interview starts, be ready and waiting-- spending those last few minutes to review important points on your resume and consider your response to why you would be best for the role. Having a few minutes to spare beforehand will ensure that you are in your best state of mind to rock the interview.

2.Dress for success.

Obviously, when you are on a phone interview, your interviewer can’t see what you’re wearing. However, studies have shown that being well-dressed can actually cause you to perform better on exams or in interviews! So, take advantage of this opportunity to put on your best suit. Knowing that you look the part will make you feel more confident-- and sound more confident too!

3.Be aware of the time.

As previously mentioned, interviewing by phone means that you won’t be receiving any nonverbal cues from your interviewer. In a face-to-face interview, you would pick up on the glazed look in your interviewer’s eyes that signifies that you are rambling, for example, but this won’t be possible when speaking by phone. When asked a question by the interviewer, just make sure to be aware of the length of your response!

4.Tell them how you feel!

While normally you may express your enthusiasm by your body language (by using your hands for emphasis, for example), in a phone interview you will need to verbally communicate your interest in the role. You can do this through your tone of voice, but also through simply telling the interviewer how well you believe you are suited for the position and how eager you are to join the company or organization.

5.Follow up.

Something that is absolutely essential-- not only for phone interviews, but also for face-to-face interviews-- is sending a thank you note to follow up with your interviewer. Before the day ends, take a few minutes to write an email to the interviewer, letting them know your gratitude for speaking with you about the position and reiterating your eagerness for the role and your key qualifications. This is your chance to let them know any key points that you forgot to mention in the phone interview and to really “seal the deal” on why they should choose you for the role-- so make sure to sell it!

Phone interviews don’t have to be something you dread. By using these tips, you can ensure that you give the interview 100% and better your chances of a follow-up interview or job offer! Apply now to schedule an interview with our admissions team for the opportunity to intern with our top partner firms!


Photo 1. by Alejandro Escamilla, CC0

The author
John Monahan
Before joining The Intern Group in 2014, John held senior positions in the investment operations field, including Senior Manager for Investment Application Services at Liberty Mutual (one of the USA’s largest insurance companies), and AVP at Bank of New York-Mellon. John holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from Harvard University with a field of study in Economics, which he earned while working full-time. A travel enthusiast, John has visited over 30 countries, and believes deeply in the value of international experiences as a lever for educational, professional, and personal growth.

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