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Phone interviews can be intimidating, especially if you haven’t had experience with one before. I know I was extremely nervous and worried before my first phone interview, but once I went through the experience I realized it wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be. Over time, from experience and the help of my mentors, I have gained insight on what to do and what not to do during a phone interview. Below you’ll find a few tips I have collected that will help you ace your next phone interview!

  1. Schedule the interview during a time that best suits you!

This seems pretty obvious, however, I have talked to several people who have accidentally schedule phone interviews during a small time frame and then felt rushed during the process. So, remember to check your schedule before selecting a time and date. If you plan on scheduling an interview between classes I recommend giving yourself at least a two hour time gap. This will allow you sufficient time to prepare for the interview.

  1. Have a professional voicemail.

In case you aren’t able to answer your phone when it rings make sure you have a voicemail set up so the interviewer can leave a message. Also, make sure your voicemail is professional—you want your voicemail to leave a good impression on your interviewer, not a bad one!

  1. Pick the right location

Before the phone interview occurs decide where you will be when you answer it. Pick a location where there aren’t too many distractions or loud noises. Also, make sure to pick a place where you are comfortable. This will help set the right tone and environment for your interview.

  1. Keep a copy of your application materials in front of you.

Resumes, cover letters, job descriptions, etc. Keeping this material in front of you is a good way to be prepared for the interview—odds are the interviewer will have this same material in front them!

  1. Dress up or dress down?

The response you get for “how to dress for a phone interview” can vary from person to person. Personally, I think it’s always best to dress up rather than dress down. The way you’re dressed can affect your attitude and your mood. Dressing to impress can help you put your best foot forward and ace the interview!

  1. Keep water nearby.

In case you get thirsty it’s good to have water nearby to take a quick sip! (However, limit it to water—just because they can’t see you doesn’t mean they can’t hear you! So, trying to squeeze in a quick snack or lunch during the interview is probably not a good idea.)

  1. Keep paper and pencil nearby

If you need to write down a quick note during the interview you don’t want to spend a long time looking for something to write on! This can come off as unprofessional and unprepared to the interviewer.

  1. Standing up vs. Sitting down

There isn’t a right or wrong choice when it comes to choosing to stand up or sit down while having a phone interview. If you choose to sit during the interview make sure you’re sitting up straight and not slouching. If you choose to stand during your interview, make sure to stand up straight. This may same seem silly, but your posture can affect your attitude and your overall performance!

  1. And lastly, remember to smile!

Smiling during the interview can come across in the sound of your voice. Your tone will be positive and your excitement for the company and the position will shine through!


Keep these tips in mind and I’m sure you’ll ace your next phone interview!


Payal Patel

UNC Chapel Hill Class of 2017

B.S. in Information Science


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