This is your first chance to impress an interviewer.  Although it may be a bit more difficult to portray your true self when you’re not meeting in person, there are guidelines to an impressive phone interview.  Here are some key hints:

Track your applications

If you are applying for numerous jobs at once, keep the job descriptions for each position organized and close to the phone.  You’ll need them for easy reference when the company calls.

Unexpected Calls

If someone calls when you least expect it, stop whatever you’re doing and take the call.  If you are on your cell phone, ask the interviewer to call you back on a landline phone (the cell phone may cut out).  If you are in the middle of something that you must finish, ask the interviewer if they could possibly call you back at a specific time so that you will be able to give them your full attention.

Answering machine messages

Use your name and a professional message on your answering machine, instead of a funny message or a song.  This will ensure that the interviewer leaves a message, or calls you back to schedule an interview.  And don’t forget to check your machine regularly so that it doesn’t fill up.

Background sound

The last thing you need is a distraction while you’re trying to talk on the phone, or to take the interviewer’s attention away from what you are saying.  So, turn off the TV or radio and ask anyone else that’s with you to please remain quiet until the interview is over.  It’s also a good idea to refrain from drinking, eating or chewing while on the phone.

Silence is not a bad thing

The interviewer may pause for what seems like long periods of time.  This just means they are taking notes throughout the interview.  This is a good thing – it means they are interested in what you have to say.

Technical jargon

The interviewer may ask you various technical questions to determine whether your skills match the position.  Make sure you answer the question in detail – don’t worry that they may not understand the technical jargon.  If the interviewer doesn’t understand what you’re saying, they will ask for an explanation.  Take the opportunity to show off your knowledge and skills.


Ask the interviewer questions to show that you are interested and hoping to move forward.  For example:  “Is there anything else you would like to know about me?” and “What is the next step?” and “When can I expect to hear back from you?”