Treat a Phone Interview With Respect

Nancy Anderson
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A phone interview isn't face-to-face, but you should still treat this aspect of your job search with respect because employers use this type of interview as a screening process to get to the next phase of hiring. Identify these four potential areas to work on before you talk to a hiring manager on the phone.

Know the Qualifications

A hiring manager reaches out through a phone interview to gauge if you understand the qualifications of the position. You must convey why you're perfect for the job by talking about provable results from previous jobs. Explain how your sales acumen increased company revenue by 10 percent or how you managed a project under budget and beat your deadline by two weeks.

You should be able to say your top-level achievements in fairly quick order, and they should match what’s listed on your resume. A phone interview gives you a chance to expand upon these accomplishments for a few minutes.

Relate Why You Left Your Last Company

It may be difficult to talk about, but your prospective employer might want to know why you left your previous job. Remain positive about the experience no matter how you feel about your former boss or colleagues. Keep the answer brief because you don’t want to dwell on this issue too much. If you talk about your reasoning too much, it's a red flag, and the hiring manager may do more digging.

Chances are good your reason for leaving your most recent job comes down to a layoff, quitting or termination. Remain factual, such as "There was a merger, and the company chose to retain someone with the same qualifications as mine."

Showcase Your Attitude

Your references build you up as someone who’s cheerful, outgoing, motivated and well-liked. All of these things should come across in the phone interview with your tone of voice. Practice interviewing skills with a friend to perfect having a friendly tone on the phone. Smile when you talk, because that comes across in your voice.

You've also done your homework as to why you're a perfect fit for this company. Discuss what drew you to this particular employer, pointing out key concepts in the company's mission statement, core values and corporate culture. This proves you understand what it takes to fit in with your co-workers.

Discuss Salary

The hiring manager may want to discuss salary during a phone interview. Do your research ahead of time and have your salary needs in mind. Negotiate to find a range of numbers both sides can agree with to move forward. What you don't want to do is blurt out what you made at your last position as HR may think you’ll settle for the same amount. Try not to make this mistake, and instead, show your value and worth to your future boss. Do this with hard numbers and your experience.

Treat a phone interview with respect and you should have no problem getting to the next phase of the hiring process. It all starts with understanding that every step of your job search, even a remote interview, makes a difference when competing for a coveted position.

Photo courtesy of Michael Pollak at


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  • Birty H.
    Birty H.

    great info thanks I needed that!

  • Melva V.
    Melva V.

    Thanks Donitt for being so helpful

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Kenya S thanks for your comment. Any time a recruiter or a hiring manager reaches out to you either over the phone or via email, always treat it like an interview. It can be hard sometimes I know. Especially when they call you when you are elbow deep in doing dishes or something else and you have to try to remember the position they are referencing, etc. But, if that should happen, you could ask to call them back in 10 minutes. That will give you time to finish and to find the job posting so that, when you call them back, you will be ready for that interview. When you are job searching, you are always on the clock so to speak.

  • Kenya S.
    Kenya S.

    I agree I didn't know that was the interview cus was on spot I'm glad I was serious don't take them for granted

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