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How to nail a phone interview

Telephone interviews can be tricky as you don’t have the benefit of building rapport in person. Use our tips to make sure you succeed in your phone interview!

How to nail a phone interview

Employers often use phone interviews as the stage before a face-to-face interview. It’s a great way to screen candidates and get a feel for their experience without going into too much detail. Phone interviews will contain questions about your experience. But often these questions will be less in-depth than your typical interview questions.

Sometimes a telephone interview can be trickier. That’s because you don’t have the benefit of building rapport in the same way as an in-person or video interview. So you have to work a little harder!

Here are some ways to make sure you shine in your phone interview:

  • Don’t wing it
  • Practice your answers
  • Do your research
  • Prepare questions
  • Cut out all distractions
  • Charge your phone
  • Have your CV handy
  • Answer with your name
  • Walk around as you talk
  • Smile
  • Don’t use loudspeaker
  • Make notes
  • Build rapport

13 tips to absolutely ACE your phone interview

Don’t wing it

Sometimes people make the mistake of treating a telephone interview with less importance than a face-to-face interview. But you should take it just as seriously and put in some prep work to make sure you shine. 

Practice your answers

As part of your prep work, you should be practising your answers to basic screening interview questions. Get used to saying these answers out loud. Also, be sure to include as many examples as possible when giving your answers.

Do your research

Make sure you research the company before the interview. It’s common for hiring managers to test your company knowledge ask during the phone interview. This is to make sure you’ve done the most basic prep work to find out exactly what the company does.

Prepare questions

Always prepare questions to ask the hiring manager. Towards the end of the call, they’ll usually give you the opportunity to ask some of your own questions. This is often a test in itself. If candidates don’t ask any questions, it shows a lack of preparation and enthusiasm.

Cut out all distractions

You want to make sure you find a quiet spot to take your call. Find a quiet setting indoors where you won’t be disturbed. If there are others in the house/building, make sure they know not to disturb you. Also ensure your phone is on silent throughout the call and that no pets will come and disturb you either.

Charge your phone

There’s nothing like a dead battery to ruin your telephone interview. As part of your preparation, you should make sure you’ve charged your phone.

Have your CV handy

Always have your CV or job application form handy during the call. The hiring manager might make reference to it. So it’s good if you can follow along and know exactly what they’re referring to.

Answer with your name

When the phone rings, don’t just say ‘hello?’. You know it’s going to be the interviewer. So why not make their life easier and answer professionally with your name? For example, ‘Hello, James speaking.’. Chances are you may have to take calls in the job so it’s good to show you can put on a professional telephone manner.

Walk around as you talk

Since you’re not in person, you need to do everything possible to engage the hiring manager. If you stay seated during the call, your voice may sound a little flat and your nerves may get the better of you. But if you pace up and down during the call, you’re able to project your voice more and channel your nerves.


Smile! Even though the hiring manager can’t see your smile, they can hear your smile. This helps to create a more lighthearted tone and creates more engagement. You’ll also find that smiling as you speak helps to relax your nerves!

Don’t use loudspeaker

The person on the other end of the phone can tell if you’ve put the phone on loud speaker. This often affects the quality of the call. Keep the phone to your ear to make sure your call quality is the best it can be.

Make notes

The hiring manager will likely give you more details about the job during the phone call. This may come in handy during the next stage of the interview. Have a notepad and pen handy. This way, you can make note of any important details or anything you’re unsure of. Refer to these questions at the end of the call.

Build rapport

Last but by no means least, make an effort to build rapport with the hiring manager. This is so important during a phone interview since you’re making up for not being there in person. Try to bring a little humour into the conversation. Or have a brief conversation about something you have in common like football, the weather, or children.

Time to get hired

Whether you’re still in a job or you’re currently unemployed, SonicJobs can make your job hunt easy. With our app, you can manage all your applications in one place and apply with just one tap.

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