My Account

You control your data

We and our partners use cookies to provide you with our services and, depending on your settings, gather analytics and marketing data. Find more information on our Cookie Policy. Tap "Settings” to set preferences. To accept all cookies, click “Accept”.

Settings Accept

Cookie settings

Click on the types of cookies below to learn more about them and customize your experience on our Site. You may freely give, refuse or withdraw your consent. Keep in mind that disabling cookies may affect your experience on the Site. For more information, please visit our Cookies Policy and Privacy Policy.

Choose type of cookies to accept


These cookies allow us to analyze our performance to offer you a better experience of creating resumes and cover letters. Analytics related cookies used on our Site are not used by Us for the purpose of identifying who you are or to send you targeted advertising. For example, we may use cookies/tracking technologies for analytics related purposes to determine the number of visitors to our Site, identify how visitors move around the Site and, in particular, which pages they visit. This allows us to improve our Site and our services.

Performance and Personalization

These cookies give you access to a customized experience of our products. Personalization cookies are also used to deliver content, including ads, relevant to your interests on our Site and third-party sites based on how you interact with our advertisements or content as well as track the content you access (including video viewing). We may also collect password information from you when you log in, as well as computer and/or connection information. During some visits, we may use software tools to measure and collect session information, including page response times, download errors, time spent on certain pages and page interaction information.


These cookies are placed by third-party companies to deliver targeted content based on relevant topics that are of interest to you. And allow you to better interact with social media platforms such as Facebook.


These cookies are essential for the Site's performance and for you to be able to use its features. For example, essential cookies include: cookies dropped to provide the service, maintain your account, provide builder access, payment pages, create IDs for your documents and store your consents.

To see a detailed list of cookies, click here.

Save preferences

10+ Phone Interview Tips to Help You Prepare for the Call

Create Your Resume Now

Our customers have been hired by:

Hello! I represent the XYZ company and would like to invite you for a phone interview...”

Hell yeah! 

You’ve been waiting for that call.

So why a heartbeat ba-booming like a boom box? It’s your loud mind playing tricks.

Turn it down with our phone interview tips guide. Follow along and get invited to the second round.

This guide will give you:

  • Twelve tips and tricks on how to prepare for a phone interview.
  • Common over-the-phone interview questions and answers examples.
  • Best phone call interview questions to ask the recruiter.
  • Ways to ace the initial phone interview.

Congrats for being at this stage! You must’ve done a great job tailoring your resume.

Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.

Create your resume now

sample resume example
sample resume example

Sample resume made with our builder—See more resume examples here.

Check out more interview tips in our guides:

And here are even more interview tips for specific roles:


Let’s dive in.

13 tips for a phone interview to champion the first interview with HR:

1. Confirm the Phone Interview Details

There’s nothing worse than not showing up for a scheduled meeting with your recruiter.

Whether you received an email or a phone call, confirm the time and date of your interview. And remember to add it to your calendar and set a notification. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

When speaking to your recruiter, ask about the course of the upcoming phone interview:

  • Who will I talk to?
  • How long will the interview take?
  • What areas will I need to touch on, e.g., motivation, current responsibilities?
  • What will be the format of the interview?
  • Is there anything I should prepare for the interview?

That way, you’ll already get ahead of your competitors and show the recruiter you care about your phone screening interview. 

Oh, crap! I double booked!

It happens sometimes. Especially when you speak with recruiters on the phone and there’s time pressure. 

Don’t worry if you do that, though.

Get back to your recruiter as quickly as possible and ask for rescheduling. Do the same when something unexpected comes up.

2. Do Your Research About the Company and Position

OOO, this one’s big.

Make the time for researching the company. Take a closer look at their website, blog, social media, and what news outlets write about them.

You want to work for them for some reason, so— 

You need to know what they do and why, their services and products, and recent developments. If you have a chance, go a little further and test their products out.


You also must know the length and breadth of your role description and prove you understand what the job is all about. 

For real.

Grab a pen (or place your fingers on a keyboard) and make a cheat list. Nobody will be watching you, so take advantage of it. Write a list of things your role will require alongside the company values and refer to them during the discussion.

Another cheat sheet is your resume. Print it out and mark the keywords. It’ll be much easier for you to speak about your job responsibilities while looking at them than trying to come up with something on the spot. 

3. Take Good Care of Yourself Before the Phone Interview

Don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep before the interview. You’ll feel fresh, well-rested, and come up with great answers without effort.

“Shush. Where’s my coffee?”

Skip that espresso. It’ll make you jumpy and stressed more than necessary. (Of course, if you can’t function without it, you do you.)

Coffee may not be your buddy, but a glass of water always is. So if a frog’s coming up your mouth, just take a sip, swallow it, and get back at it.

Finally, suit up. It sounds silly because the recruiter won’t be around you, but it’ll help you get your act together and feel professional. It shouldn’t be a problem to wear a shirt for a couple of minutes, should it?

4. Get Rid of All Distractions

Notification beep. TV on. Your pet demanding attention.

Distractions. Distractions everywhere.

The worst thing is, they can take a job opportunity away from you. To infinity… and beyond!

“Nah. I’m fine with talking anywhere.” Are you, though?

It’s so easy to get fixed on the news ticker or distracted by constant walk-ins and email notifications. Save yourself a shot at the second interview and make sure you:

  • Turn off all screens, background sounds, and the call-waiting function
  • Tell your family members you’ll be unavailable for some time
  • Find a place where nobody can interrupt you
  • Prepare a headset to cut off the background noise in case you can’t reach a quiet space

The next step is to get ready for the call itself. So charge your phone, turn up the ringtone, and check the signal.

5. Show Off Your Phone Etiquette

You, too, ask your friend to call and order pizza?

Well, this time, it has to be you who does the talking. 

Don’t worry. It’s super easy. 

There are just a few rules you need to remember, and you’ll be all good:

  • The chewing gum belongs in the trash.
  • Never speak with your mouth full, and don’t try to sneak in a bite or two. Leave the grilled cheese for after the interview.
  • Start by introducing yourself, saying: This is Jane Doe or Jane Doe speaking! It’s good to reassure the interviewer they called the right person.
  • Get ready for small talk—no matter whether you’re a chatterbox or the Silent Bob. 

Not a convo expert? We’ve got you covered: Amazing Conversation Starters To Save The Day

6. Prepare for Common Phone Interview Questions

Phone call interviews tend to be rather general. Recruiters need to figure out whether your motivation is still there and if you’re a cultural fit. So—

Here’s a list of the top phone interview questions to prepare for:

Build your job interview answers using the STAR method. Start by describing the situation, then add more about the task, action you took, and final result.

When you do that, try to stay calm, speak slowly and open your mouth.

Say what?

Yes, go full-on Magikarp-style to speak clearly and loud enough. 

Rushing with your responses is never a good idea. 

First, your hiring manager won’t understand you. Second, you may get carried away and go off-topic. Third and last, the go-with-the-flow approach is recruiters’ nightmare. 

And smile when you give your answers. Even if recruiters can’t see you, they can hear you smile. It speaks tons about your enthusiasm.

If there’s an awkward pause after your answer, take over. Ask your recruiter whether it was satisfactory or you need to say something more. You’ll make a harmless push to move on or give yourself a chance to reinforce your response.

Creating a resume with our builder is incredibly simple. Follow our step-by-step guide and use content from Certified Professional Resume Writers to have a resume ready in minutes.

When you’re done, our free resume builder will score your resume and our resume checker will tell you exactly how to make it better.

7. Tell the Truth

Don’t lie. 

Be honest.

Whichever you prefer, really, just don’t get caught lying. Not on your resume nor at an interview. You can pack your bags if you do because there’s no way out of this. 

Can you justify a lie? See the Consequences Of A Lie In Your Job Application

8. Think Ahead About Your Salary Expectations

Recruiters may or may not ask you about your salary expectations over the phone. But—

Uncertainty is not a reason to ignore it altogether. 

Start by researching how much other companies pay their employees for similar jobs. You can use Salary, Glassdoor, or Indeed to check that. And to make on-the-money estimates, compare your findings with your company’s numbers.

Then, set your low, mid, and high points. Write them down. And during salary negotiations, use the salary range between the middle and high points. 

Don’t underestimate yourself.

Know your worth. And let the recruiters know it, too. See How To Negotiate Your Salary During An Interview

9. Focus and Actively Listen

Remember when we asked to get rid of all distractions? 

Great! You paid attention.

A quiet setting for your phone interview will help you focus on what the recruiter says and prove active listening skills.

“What do you mean?”

Well—give enough space for the recruiter to speak without interruption, react quickly and decisively to what they ask of you, and pay attention to the discussion. Jot down all uncertainties, build questions around them, and ask them away at the end of the interview.

Recruiters appreciate it when a candidate shows genuine interest in the conversation.

Practice your active listening skills with our guide: Active Listening Skills And Techniques

10. Write Down Notes

Take notes as if attending a lecture, with no access to the professor’s presentation afterward.

You got to be the Flash of Making-Notes-At-A-Speed-Of-Light City one more time.

Get a pen and piece of paper to write down questions that come to your mind during the call (and remember to ask them at the end of the interview!). Also, make sure you take note of all the details about the job and the recruitment process.

If you don’t catch something, ask for a come-again. There’s nothing wrong with that. 

11. Interview the Interviewer

The phone job interview is for both sides to get to know each other. So don’t pick up the phone feeling like you’re the only one who should answer questions. 

Recruiters are the very first people you meet on your way to a new job, and they’d better make a good first impression on you, too. 

Alright! So how to get the conversation going?

Have a list of the questions that you want to ask your recruiter. You won’t need to worry about forgetting anything if you write them down.

Here’s a handy list of questions you should ask your interviewer: 65+ Interview Questions To Ask Your Recruiter

12. Send a Thank-You Note

It’s the first time you hear about a thank-you note?

Oh, dear. 

You’ve probably missed great job opportunities over this. Let’s not repeat that mistake.

Write a personalized thank-you email to your interviewer 24 hours after your conversation. 

Appreciate their time and effort in your interview, restate your motivation to join the company, and finish with a personal sign-off.

Find all the nitty-gritty about writing a thank-you note in our guide: Thank-You Letter Samples After An Interview

13. Wait With a Follow-Up Email

Now’s the tricky part.

“How long do I have to wait to send a follow-up email?”

Hopefully, you don’t have to wait at all.Your recruiter should tell you when you can expect to hear back, but—

Life can happen to them, too. So, when their deadline’s up, tell them you’re still interested in the position and ask if they need more information from you.

There are different situations where you might consider writing a follow-up email after a job interview. Find all of them here: How To Follow Up After An Interview

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

Key Takeaway

To sum things up, here’s what you need to take home about phone interviews: 

  • Prepare. Know your way around phone etiquette and find a quiet place to take the call.
  • Practice. Don’t wing it. Read up on common interview questions, and don’t get surprised.
  • Pay attention. Focus on what you two are talking about and take notes.
  • Phrase your questions. Out loud. Don’t leave them unanswered in your notebook.
  • Part on a positive note. Write a thank-you email and once the deadline’s passed, follow up on their decision.

Hands down, you’re ready to win an invitation for the second interview. So go and seize the opportunity!

And hey! Please tell us—

Do you have questions about how to prepare for phone interviews? Did we miss any phone interview tips? Perhaps you’d like to add one yourself? 

Give us a shout in the comments! Let’s get the conversation rolling.

About Zety’s Editorial Process

This article has been reviewed by our editorial team to make sure it follows Zety's editorial guidelines. We’re committed to sharing our expertise and giving you trustworthy career advice tailored to your needs. High-quality content is what brings over 40 million readers to our site every year. But we don't stop there. Our team conducts original research to understand the job market better, and we pride ourselves on being quoted by top universities and prime media outlets from around the world.


Rate my article: phone interview tips
Average: 4.94 (49 votes)
Thank you for voting
Katarzyna Furman
Katarzyna is a career expert dedicated to encouraging growth in job hunters through building perfect resumes, CVs, and cover letters. She'll help you realize you have a successful track record that only needs to see the daylight.

Similar articles