May 28, 2021

Tips from a recruiter to succeed in your phone interviews

If your phone interview is actually with a recruiter who found you via LinkedIn or another source, that’s awesome!

You’ll want to express enthusiasm for the opportunity and speaking with them, even if you’re not actually all that interested in the role.

But before we dive into the actual tips for phone interviews, why do some employers ask for phone interviews in the first place?

Phone interviews are typically called "phone screens" by the recruiters because they are screening candidates. This process helps to narrow down the pool of talent prior to bringing in potential candidates for face-to-face interviews.

They are also used to reduce the expenses involved in interviewing out-of-town candidates. For remote positions, a phone interview may be the only option.

While you’re not going to land the job from phone interview most likely, you certainly can lose it….Which means, you’re going to have to work even harder to make sure you are coming off as captivating, capable, and above all…the perfect candidate.

Most of the times, calls come out of the blue when you answer your phone, you can take one of two approaches, either accept the call, or ask to reschedule because you are unable to talk at that moment.

The best approach is to ask for a better time when you are in a quiet, safe environment, have your notes in front of you, and are mentally prepared for the interview.

Most recruiters will understand that their timing may not be right and are willing to reschedule. But choose sometime within the next few hours or next day, if possible and not to a date in the distant future.


Here are our tips for making your phone interview a success:

  • Cut out all distractions:

First and foremost, make sure you’re presenting yourself in the most professional way possible, from the very first “Hello,” all the way to the “Goodbye.”

If you’re doing the interview at home and you’re not alone, make sure everyone knows you’re going to be busy for a bit and to give you some privacy.

Don’t lay down, don’t slouch and make sure distractions are not going to be an issue. Find a good spot to sit down and have all your materials nearby for easy access.

  • Smile while on the phone:

Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice. It can also be helpful to stand during the interview, since this typically gives your voice more energy and enthusiasm leaving a positive impression.

This is where your attitude will really show.

  • Listen carefully to the interviewer:

It's important to focus on the interview, and concentrate with the interviewer.

Let him guide the conversation and don't start speaking until the interviewer finishes, be sure to listen his questions, ask for clarification if you're not sure what the interviewer is asking, and speak slowly, carefully, and clearly when you respond.

  • Be ready for common phone interview questions:

Brief "yes" and "no" responses will not move a phone interview forward, but will end it quickly. So, start by practicing your answers to the common interview questions now so that you are ready when the unplanned telephone interview occurs.

After confirming that you meet the basic requirements (education, skills, and experience), these questions are typically asked in phone screen: “Tell me about yourself” and “Why do you want to leave your current job?”

The more you prepare now, the less you will stroll and omit from your answers during the actual interview and will make your responses more targeted.

  • Take notes:

It's hard to remember what you discussed after the interview, so keep a pencil and paper nearby and write down questions and brief notes during the call and save them for the end, maybe they mentioned something that you want to follow up on via email, or a person to reach out to, and write down the name and job title of the person who called.


Good luck!


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