How to Prepare for Phone Interview

So you have an interview lined up – but it’s going to be over the phone. Do you know how to prepare for a phone interview in English?

You won’t have the chance to make a good impression based on your clothing choices or your handshake. Instead, your voice and what you say is really all you have.

A phone interview might seem daunting, especially if English isn’t your first language. However, anyone can nail this kind of interview. In this guide, we’ve put together the top phone interview tips you need to succeed. Keep reading to get prepared!

How to Prepare for a Phone Interview in English

Having a phone interview in English can be nerve racking, but these tips can help!
Having a phone interview in English can be nerve racking, but these tips can help!

You might be wondering why you need to get ready for a phone interview in the first place. Isn’t it more likely that a company will just review your resume and then have you come into their office to speak face-to-face?

However, the reality is that in today’s competitive job market, more and more companies are using the phone interview as a way to screen candidates. This helps them save time by narrowing down the pool of applicants before in-person interviews begin.

If you’re an out-of-town applicant, the phone interview is even more likely. Since more jobs exist on a remote basis now, sometimes a phone interview is actually the only option. But even if you live in the same city as the company, it’s important to know how to ace a phone interview.

Now, let’s take a look at how to get ready for every step of the interview process.

What to Do Before the Interview

A prospective employer might schedule a phone interview with you. If so – great! You can start planning accordingly. However, keep in mind that unscheduled phone interviews can happen, too.

Once you start applying for jobs, you need to start reading phone interview tips, even if you don’t have one scheduled. Make sure you’re the only one answering your phone and set up a professional message on your voicemail so you’ll be prepared.

If an unscheduled call comes in, you can also feel free to let the caller know that you’re busy at the moment. This allows you to reschedule the call for a time when you’re relaxed and focused, which can give you an advantage. Interviewers can’t expect you to be free at the moment they call, so always set up a later time to talk, if you can.

Now, here’s how to prepare before that scheduled (or rescheduled) call.

1. Do Your Research

Make sure to take plenty of time to research not just the company, but also the person who will be interviewing you. If you’re not sure who you’ll be speaking with, you can call the company and ask.

One of the most common phone interview questions is “What do you know about us?” Make sure you’re prepared with the interesting details you found out about the company.

One great thing about a phone interview is that you can have your notes right in front of you, so jot down anything you might like to mention. Make sure to be prepared with your own questions, too. This will show that you’re really invested in the position.

2. Get Comfortable

Phone interviews can be very stressful. Make up for your worry by creating a comfortable environment before the interview actually happens.

Get rid of any distractions and background noise before the call. Get a glass of water to sip from, and have a copy of your resume in front of you. Note the parts of your resume that you’d like to highlight during the conversation.

Don’t forget your notes about the company and your phone interview questions to ask. Get ready about 10 minutes early, just in case something holds you up. Make sure your phone is charged. If you plan to take notes, do it with a pen and paper – otherwise, the interviewer might hear the distracting clicks of your typing.

How to Ace a Phone Interview

Now, you know how to prepare for a phone interview. But what should you do during the interview itself? Let’s take a look.

1. Be a Good Listener

The interviewer will usually start out by setting the tone. They’ll probably talk about the job’s expectations and responsibilities, and what you’ll need to succeed in the position.

Make sure to take notes while they talk so you can prepare the best responses. If you can find things in common, this will help you. Without being too casual, look for ways to connect with the interviewer so they’ll remember you.

One good way to connect is to find similar situations or responsibilities from your last job. This will help you prove that you’re a good fit, and give you something to talk about.

2. Be a Great Speaker

If English isn’t your first language or you have an accent, don’t worry. What matters is the content of what you say.

There are some ways to make yourself sound better on the phone, though. Drink plenty of water so your voice is clear. Do a few voice exercises to warm up before the call. Stand or sit up straight – good posture will make you sound better.

You should also smile while you talk – it really does affect the way your voice sounds.

3. End Positively

One of our favorite phone interview tips is to find a way to end on a positive note. Express your excitement and confidence in your ability to fill the role, and ask an appropriate question, such as “What is the next step?” This will the interviewer thinking about you in the best possible light.

Get a Phone Interview and Get the Job

Now that you know how to prepare for a phone interview, you can look forward to these interviews. When you get a phone interview right, you’re well on your way to getting the job you really want.

Want to improve your English pronunciation to get prepared for the interview? We can help – contact us today to find out how.


English Pronunciation & Fluency Expert
Annie Ruden M.S.CCC-SLP
CEO | Accent Reduction Trainer
[email protected]

Be Understood. Be Confident.