How to Nail a Phone Interview

With the increasing number of phone interviews in the modern workforce, it is important to understand how to answer questions well and leave a lasting impression on the interviewer even if they cannot see you. Here are some tips to help you nail that phone interview.

Have a professional voicemail

Having a professional voicemail is key to leaving a good first impression if you did not manage to pick up the phone. Having an inappropriate or no voicemail may suggest that you are not professional enough for the business.

Don’t answer if you’re in an inappropriate place or time

One of the characteristics of phone interviews is that you can have the interview wherever you are, which is both a blessing and a curse. While it is more efficient and convenient to have the interview wherever, you will still be judged on where you choose to have this interview. Do not pick up the phone if you are somewhere with lots of noise or visual distractions as your answer may become muddled and unclear. Additionally, having an interview in a place with plenty of audible noise may affect the quality of the interview and suggest to the interviewer that you are not professional and well prepared enough to find a time and place to hold a quiet, respectful interview.

Prepare your answers

Like any other interview, it is highly recommended to prepare key strengths and accomplishments that you want to highlight in your interview, along with some answers to typical interview questions. It is also advised to have your resume and cover letter in front of you when you have your interview to help guide your answers.

Constantly practice

It is recommended to practice saying your answers out aloud. Since this is a phone interview, you would want the interviewer to clearly understand what you are always saying to ensure no misunderstandings will occur. So, by practicing your answer out aloud, you may discover words that you find harder to enunciate, whether you speak too fast or too slow, or if you say “um” and “uh” too frequently. A good interviewee would be able to speak slowly, with the right number of pauses, and be able to enunciate well. 

Listen first

Listening is always a great skill to have, but it is more important when it comes to a phone interview. Don’t start speaking until you are sure that the interviewer has finished speaking. Also, if you have something to say while the interviewer is speaking, you should jot points down on your laptop or paper to refer to when it is your time to talk.


Smiling changes, the tone of your voice, and typically people can pick up on your smile when listening to you through the phone. So, try to smile while you answer your questions as your interviewer will be able to pick up on it, and it would give off the impression that you have brighter energy and enthusiasm.