9 Phone Interview Hacks (Tips) To Get You Employed

phone interview tips

Phone interviews can really make interviewees sweat. Not only do you not get to see the facial cues of your hiring manager, but you have to maintain the same level of poise you would in a face-to-face interview.

Phone interviews don’t have to be so hard to get through. We found some fantastic hacks you can use to make sure your phone interview goes smoothly— and lands you that dream job!

9 Phone Interview Hacks To Get You Onto The Second Round Of Interviews

1. Focus on sounding more friendly.

Your resume, cover letter, or CV showed your potential employer that you have the qualifications. You’ll still need to sell yourself, but during your interview, do everything possible to come off as warm and inviting.

Once you’ve been deemed competent enough to be interviewed, it’s your job to show you are more than a piece of paper on their desk. Use a non-threatening tone of voice in your interview and maintain an air of confidence in what you say. Consider telling a (relevant) story and always remember your interviewer’s name. When you talk about colleagues or your previous job, always speak kindly about other people.

You’re the only one who can prove you have a likable personality. Without the visual interaction, it can be hard to make this obvious to the interviewer, so focus a lot on your tone and what you say.

2. Keep the conversation light.

Hiring managers aren't exclusively looking for the perfect candidate with the perfect skills and perfect credentials. Hiring managers want to find a new employee that they will enjoy working with and being around too. They want someone they can talk to by the water cooler and someone who won’t cause drama.

Don’t bombard your interviewer with repetitious skills and traits that you think they want to know. You’re not a robot. Keep the conversation light and pleasurable, as if you’re having a phone call with a friend. Still, make sure it’s still professional too. No excess joking around and don’t deviate too far from the subjects at hand. A surefire way to lose an interview is to act like the hiring manager is questioning you at gunpoint.

3. Speak with volume and clarity.

Use your words clearly and with attention. Make sure you are not in a loud public space for the interview and make sure your internal volume is cranked up so you can properly hear the interviewer. It would also be wise to keep water around in case you get dry mouth.

4. Be enthusiastic in your questions and answers.

Ask about different elements and requirements of the job. Express real interest and act exciting about the job opportunity and your possible future with the company. If you do this now rather than in the future for a face-to-face interview, you’re showing that you are very much ready to jump on board.

Also take the time to question your interviewer for more details about the job itself, especially in the job posting was somewhat vague in detailed. This shows confidence and a genuine desire to work for them, and it benefits you as well.

5. Be mindful about what to bring up on the first date.

You wouldn’t bring up marriage on the first date. If you would call chatting on the phone a “date.” Similarly, you don’t want to start poking around about your salary and benefits five minutes into your first phone interview.

Still, this is about the initiative and being over-eager. If the hiring manager brings salary and benefits up, take that as a cue that they are fine with discussing it early.

6. Practice your answers ahead of time.

In a lot of ways, you will want to treat this phone interview as you would a face-to-face interview. All your interviewer has to go off of is your voice, not your additional body language. Consider, draft, and practice your answers to the more common industry-specific interview questions before you pick up the phone. These usually involve your best and worst qualities, occasions in which you faced a coworker conflict, where you plan on seeing yourself in three years, etc.

7. Dress up, even though your hiring manager can’t see you.

Even though you won’t be going to an interview, you should still dress for one. This will keep your head in the game and help you get into the proper mindset for the interview. Your hiring manager may be able to pick up a lack of confidence in your voice, so dressing up for the interview will help you feel more prepared for the actual interview and influence the way you talk.

8. Keep your paperwork and references directly in front of you.

Always keep your resume, cover letter, CV, reference list with contacts, and the job description or listing on hand during the interview.

9. Smile, even though your hiring manager can’t see you.

Your hiring manager will be able to pick up on your tone of voice. People can absolutely hear each other smile without looking at them. Staying positive and keeping a smile on your face will definitely help you come off as more approachable and excited.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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