12 Essential Phone Interview Tips

12 Essential Phone Interview Tips To Keep On Speed Dial

These tips will help you crush your next phone interview!


It's internship-hunting season! It's that time of year where college juniors and seniors around the country are looking for summer internship opportunities. That means that the stakes are high and the expectations are even higher. Your resumé was great and you've landed a phone interview.

Now what?!?

Don't sweat it. Luckily, I'm one of those college seniors seeking a summer internship and I've had some experience with a phone interview or two (or five). I've crashed and burned and I've continued to the next round of interviews with flying colors.

So, from one college student to another, here are 12 essential phone interview tips I've picked up along the way.

1. Prepare notes.

The great thing about phone interviews is that you can have a handy cheat sheet next to you and the interviewer will never know (just make sure you don't sound like you're reading your responses).

2. Research the company.

A great thing to include in your notes are some facts about the company. It may be a good idea to write down the company's mission statement so you can make sure that your answers align with their values. I find that recruiters love to ask what you know about the company before sharing their perspective. They want to know if you're someone who plans and prepares.

3. Research your interviewer.

If you know who is going to be interviewing you, it's a good idea to take a look at that person's LinkedIn page or their profile on the company website. I like to do this so I know the person's position with the company and how long they have been working there. This can help you decide what questions to ask the interviewer.

Some people recommend bringing up any commonalities you may have with the interviewer based on what you find. However, if I was the interviewer, I would find this sort of creepy so use your best judgment here.

4. Really read the job listing.

I recommend reading the job listing as much as possible because it should spell out exactly what the company is looking for. It's a good idea to print out the listing and highlight any skills or action verbs. Try to find ways to tie in those skills and verbs when you talk about your previous experience.

5. Do not try to multitask during the interview.

I know this one seems obvious, but I feel like it needs to be said. It's important! You will not seem professional if you do your phone interview while you are driving, walking your dog or heading to class. You might think you're being sneaky, but the interviewer will know if you're trying to multitask. Interviews are stressful enough, why make it harder on yourself? Set aside a block of time for your phone interview, just like you would with an in-person interview.

6. Dress for success.

This one seems kind of odd — let me explain. I'm not saying you should put on heels and a pantsuit for your phone interview. However, I would suggest changing out of your pajamas and into one of your favorite outfits. If you look good, you'll feel good and your interviewer will notice the confidence in your voice.

7. Think about how you will answer the phone.

This is a seemingly minor detail but first impressions are important. I would recommend answering with "Hello, this is (insert name here)." Make sure you say your name clearly or else you will defeat the purpose of saying your name at all. It's nice for the recruiter to know that they've called the correct person and it starts the call off in a professional way.

8. Prepare an elevator speech.

It's important to have an elevator speech (a short spiel about who you are, what you do and what you want to do). Most phone interviews, and interviews, in general, will start off with: "So, tell me a little bit about yourself." This is your time to give your elevator speech and impress the interviewer with your qualifications, skills and well thought-out career goals. It's a good idea to have a generic speech and then mention your skills that match the qualities that the job is looking for. This speech should be rehearsed but should not sound rehearsed.

9. Listen carefully and take notes.

It's usually pretty difficult to take notes while the interviewer is speaking in an in-person interview. However, it's a great idea to take notes during a phone interview. It will keep you from getting distracted by your surroundings and it will also be helpful to have those notes for the future since a phone interview is usually just the first step. This is the only acceptable kind of multitasking during a phone interview!

10. Smile.

The interviewer will obviously not be able to see that you're smiling, but they will be able to hear it. If you smile when you speak, you will automatically seem more upbeat and friendly.

11. Ask thoughtful questions.

A good interview should be like a conversation. The questions that you ask the interviewer are just as important as the questions that they ask you. The questions portion usually comes right at the end of the phone call, so that is what the interviewer will remember most later on. Make your questions count! Ask things that you genuinely want to know about (while avoiding obvious faux pas like asking about salary or time off). Personally, I love to ask what the interviewer likes about their company.

12. Express your appreciation.

Thank your interviewer for their time at the end of the interview! It's also a good idea to send a thank you email or LinkedIn message.

Popular Right Now

11 Super Amazing Benefits Of Working With Kids

Kids always care and it is so adorable how someone so little could figure out you are having a bad day and fix it for you with just their voice.


Working with kids can sound tough and exhausting. Do not get me wrong, it totally is but there are so many other things that make you not even realize the best parts of all. Kids come up with the funniest things and they act so goofily that working with them does not even feel like a job. It honestly makes me feel like a little kid again and I love it.

1. They have the funniest stories

I once had a kid tell me for 15 minutes straight that he still drinks from his moms boobs, and he was 6. It was the funniest thing in the entire world and stories like that can turn my day upside down. Also, when I go home I have a reason to talk about my day!

2. They can pick you up when you are down

Just by hearing, "Miss Kayla, are you okay?" in a little kid voice I can turn my mood totally around. Kids always care and it is so adorable how someone so little could figure out you are having a bad day and fix it for you with just their voice. Dropped your coffee coming into work? Don't worry because you work with kids.

3. They give AMAZING hugs

Even though they are so little, their hugs are far better than any hug from another adult. Sometimes they just want to hug you for no reason and those are the best!

4. They have amazing imaginations

This is something that us adults should take into consideration. As adults we really do not have great imaginations with the fear of being judged. If a 4 year old said they saw a purple octopus in the corner of the room and it was her friend we would think it was cute, but if an adult said that we would call 911. Kids make up the best things and it is so fun listening to them.

5. You may be able to witness a lot of their "firsts"

If you work with young kids, you may experience their first words, crawling or even steps! This is amazing because it is literally mind blowing knowing that they are doing this for the first time and that is beautiful to witness. Helping them perfect that first is even more rewarding!

6. Smiles

Despite the few tantrums that they have (and sometimes us), there are ALWAYS smiles somewhere. They are always so happy and smiley and I believe that the world needs more of that.

7. It can help you for future parenthood

I know as a young adult who does not have kids, working with kids has prepared me for motherhood as much as it can and I am forever grateful for it.

8. It is easy to make them happy

Making adults happy can be quite difficult but kids on the other hand can be so simple. Giving a toddler a stick can open their imagination and they could be busy with it for hours and happy as can be it is insane but beautiful.

9. They look up to you

I remember being in a day care and looking up to my teacher or care giver and thinking they were SO cool. It is so awesome that we have little kids who look up to us in that way.

10. We are capable of sculpting their future

Kind of tied in with reason number 9 above, since the kids look up to us we have a strong influence on their future which is scary but also rewarding in a lot of ways! We can teach them so many positive things and knowing that they learn when they are with us is so nice.

11. You have a mini best friend

They are the best listeners so being able to go to work and have a little mini-me and talk to them is amazing. They will be your best friend and listen to you all day! Their advice could be pretty funny too.

Working with children is so rewarding in so many ways and I would recommend working with children at least once in your life. They are the kindest, funniest and cutest people on the planet and you won't regret it. I promise!

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Gen Z Can And Will Change The World, Just Look At The Enactus Campus Expo

Making a difference is easier than you think, and it starts right on your college campus.


Most of you reading this are likely in Generation Z. We get mocked for being addicted to technology, being lazy and for just being young in general.

I think that's entirely false, and so do thousands of students across the world.

I'm a member of my school's Enactus chapter, one of the thousands around the world. Enactus is an international organization composed of students using their skills for social entrepreneurship, bringing their classroom schools to real-world problems and creating real solutions.

Earlier this month, Enactus teams from the United States met in Kansas City for the National Exposition to present what they've been working on this school year.

While my small team focuses largely on issues in our local community due to our minimal resources, many schools around the country are bringing change to those in need worldwide. The top four teams were working in countries like Kenya and the Philippines to help entrepreneurs there get businesses up and running and make life better for them and their communities.

I was blown away by the work students my age are doing. It made me think about how bad of a reputation Gen Z gets and how people don't realize just how much work we are doing to improve our world.

Enactus is committed to furthering the United Nations' Global Goals initiative, which works to eliminate what the UN lists as the number one problem in the world: poverty. Enactus teams do this through community and worldwide projects that help to give others the opportunities they need to succeed.

Oh, and did I mention we work these projects on less than a shoestring budget? College kids are basically professionals at working with little funds.

The National Expo really opens eyes to how much young people are capable of. We are ending poverty, reducing pollution, bringing education to children, and basically saving the world - with or without an Enactus team behind us.

If there's an Enactus team on your campus, I urge you to check it out! If there's not, check out their website for resources to get one started on your campus!

I know that Gen Z will change the world - because we're already saving it. Everyone should stop sleeping on us, we have a lot to say if you would all just listen.

Related Content

Facebook Comments