4 Strategies for Acing your Phone Interview

You’ve sent in your resume, now what? Chances are, the company is going to want to conduct a phone interview with strong candidates they feel could be a fit for their company. Generally phone interviews are used to verify information on the resume, gauge communication skills, learn about individual personality, and decide whether or not the candidate should advance in the interview process.

If you don’t put your best foot forward during the phone interview stage, you’ll have a slim chance of scoring an actual in-office interview. In the day of text messaging and Snapchat, sometimes talking on the phone can seem like a chore, however it’s imperative in the job search and interview processes. Pascoe Workforce Solutions, a full service staffing agency serving New England and beyond, is here to help you make a great impression on your phone interview. Here are 4 Strategies for Acing your Phone Interview.

Be Prepared For the Call

As soon as you send in your resume, you should be prepared for contact from the potential employer – same day contact is not unheard of, especially if the organization has an imperative need. Most of the time, you will schedule a phone interview via e-mail or an initial call from a chosen company representative, you may be taken by surprise with an unscheduled interview. There’s also a chance you may not be able to accept the phone call, and the interviewer could be sent to your voice-mail.

Be sure your voice-mail message is professional, and if you do choose to record a message yourself, ensure that the audio is clear and easily understood. If you are left a voice-mail, be sure to call back in a reasonable time-frame or you could miss the opportunity. In a situation where you happen to pick up the phone and the recruiter attempts an unscheduled interview (and even worse, you’re in a situation where you can’t give the call your full attention), instead of muddling your way through the conversation, ask if there’s a chance you can call back at a time when you’ll have fewer distractions.

Bonus tip: Even though you may think it’s best to use your cell phone number, if you don’t get excellent reception and have many dropped calls, it would be better to use your landline phone number. Do everything you can to avoid missing important information and to avoid making the interviewer repeat themselves too often.

Do Your Research

It’s best to know about the company you have applied to work for. Ideally you should know at least basic background information at the time of application. By the time you speak with a representative you should be familiar with the role you’re applying for, the company’s industry and background, and the general goals the company has set in place. Chances are you will be asked what you know about the organization, and why you feel as though you’d be a good fit for the role and the company.

A recruiter will notice if you’re struggling to answer basic questions about the company or even the role you have applied for. This could be a red flag and the interviewer may feel you are disinterested, un-prepared, or even arrogant. Most employers are not looking for employees with these traits, so doing your research beforehand will paint you in the best light possible when you’re inevitably asked “What can you tell me about ABC Company and why do you think you’d be a good fit?”

If the job description is very short, or something is unclear, this is your time to get clarification. Which brings us to our next tip…

Have Questions (and Answers) Ready

Even if the interview is seemingly less formal than an in-person interview, you should still treat it as if you were in front of the interviewer. In order to learn more about your experience, you will be asked questions in relation to your past work history, and why you will be the best fit for the position. Here are 10 common phone interview questions. The questions you may be asked could be more industry specific than these, or could be more generic. Sit down and think about questions you could be asked and jot down how you’d like to answer them – especially if you’ve encountered a tough question before. Have that paper ready for your interview to use as a guide. Don’t read off of the paper, but use it for reference if you get stuck. It’s better to have it if you need it, rather than feeling as though you were caught off guard.

Like in a face-to-face interview, asking your own questions at the end of a phone interview will show the interviewer that you are interested in the position. If you’re stumped for possible questions to ask your interviewer, here are 4 Questions You Should Ask in an HR Interview – which can help you decide whether or not the company would be a good culture fit for you.

Asking what the next step in the process is, or even when you can expect to hear from them is a good idea. Not only will it show initiative, but you can also begin to create a timeline for following up. And definitely…

Don’t Forget to Follow Up

As you would with an in person interview, follow up a telephone interview with a thank you note. Send an e-mail to the individual(s) you spoke with; it could make the difference between getting a call back, or being dropped before you can literally get your foot in the door. It would be best to send out the note on the same day of the call.

Reiterate what you spoke about on the call and why you feel as though you’d be a great fit for the position and the company. While you may not get a response, chances are the e-mail was read over. If you still haven’t heard back a week later, send out a follow-up e-mail, again stating that you enjoyed the conversation and you’re interested in the position. Don’t bombard the interviewer with e-mails, and sending out one a week is generally a good rule of thumb. However, if you haven’t heard back by the third week, it’s likely the company chose to go in another direction.

Even if you have decided the position is not a good fit, based upon the answers you were given to your questions, always show professionalism by still thanking the interviewer for taking their time to speak with you. Putting your best foot forward could open the doors to future possibilities. Consider connecting with the individual on LinkedIn, as it’s also possible that they could connect you with someone in their network with an opportunity that would be a better fit.


Phone interviews are a very important step in the interview process as both companies and candidates can better understand each other and determine whether the match would be successful before either party becomes too invested in the process. Pascoe Workforce Solutions, a staffing agency serving Hartford, CT and beyond, aims to find the best possible fit for each candidate. Contact us today so we can help you find the job of your dreams.