Posted by Denise on 06 25th, 2010 | 110 responses

Six Tips for a Successful Phone Interview

A good first impression on the phone is the first step to a personal meeting that can lead to a job (or a sale!). Here are some tips.

#1. Conduct the call from a quiet place
Pick a place where the caller won’t hear leaf blowers, barking dogs, screaming kids, or kitchen or bathroom noises. (Hey, I’m seeing more and more women talking on cell phones in the ladies room, so I gotta mention it here.)  If you receive an incoming call from a VIP at a bad or noisy time, politely ask to reschedule the call.  My favorite excuse is “We seem to have a bad connection.  Can I call you right back?”

#2. Use a land line
Despite phone company claims to the contrary, cell phone service can still be unreliable and noisy and calls can be dropped. . Be very careful with internet based phone services or VOIP services. Although inexpensive, they can also cause drop outs on important calls.

#3. Give the caller your undivided attention
Multitasking while on the phone has become a bad habit and even a compulsion with many people. If you are focusing on documents on your computer screen or desk while you are on the phone, you’ll get a distracted tone in your voice which the person you are speaking with can hear.

#4. Prepare for the call
If the call is the prelude to a job interview, review the company website. Make notes and have questions ready for the interviewer. Have your resume close at hand and email work samples in advance if requested. Have a glass of water by the phone. Avoid dairy, fried or oily foods before an important call. These foods cause annoying phlegm that can temporarily cause you to clear your throat a lot during the call.

#5. Speak enthusiastically
According to the Wall Street Journal, interviewers listen for vocal cues indicating qualities such as passion, professionalism and enthusiasm. Don’t be guarded. Allow them to get a sense of your personality and who you really are. But don’t be too casual. Unpolished speech habits like calling the interviewer ‘dude’ or ‘brother’ are instant turn offs.  (Don’t laugh. It happens!)

#6. Follow up
After a phone interview, follow up with a thank you note or email that summarizes the conversation and reinforces your best selling points. I prefer hand written thank you notes that really stand out.

Written by Susan Berkley

I have subscribed to Susan’s Voice Program for many years.  She has great information to help give you develop the confidence to speak anywhere.  I hope this helps the next time you speak.

From The VoiceCoach Newsletter by Susan Berkley. Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2010. All Rights reserved.  Susan Berkley is the author of “Speak To Influence:How To Unlock The Hidden Power of Your Voice.” Available from your favorite bookseller. For a free subscription to The Voice Coach newsletter visit

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