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Phone Interviews In College: Success Guide

Phone Interviews In College: Success Guide

Writ­ten by: John Lemp

Phone Inter­views In Col­lege — How To Make The Cut

Con­grat­u­la­tions!  You have applied to a job or intern­ship and are now being con­tacted by an employer to sched­ule a phone inter­view.  Phone inter­views are a cru­cial com­po­nent of the recruit­ment and hir­ing processes and gen­er­ally serve as the first round inter­view for a job or intern­ship posi­tion.  Employ­ers use phone inter­views to gauge your oral com­mu­ni­ca­tion abil­i­ties and your lev­els of inter­est in the firm and the role to which you applied.  Although text mes­sag­ing and email have curbed the influ­ence of phone skills and oral com­mu­ni­ca­tion to an extent, one’s abil­i­ties to com­mu­ni­cate ver­bally are nonethe­less crit­i­cal in the 21st Cen­tury workplace.

The fol­low­ing are some tips about how to suc­cess­fully inter­view via phone:

Businessman On Phone Resize 300x205 Phone Interviews In College: Success Guide

Quiet Place, Strong Ser­vice Con­nec­tion:  Ask your col­lege or university’s career ser­vices office if you can reserve and use an inter­view room on cam­pus.  If you are unable to, find a quiet space where you will have good cell phone ser­vice.  Let your room­mates and / or house­mates know that you will be hav­ing an inter­view dur­ing a cer­tain time frame so you will be able to speak with the employer with­out inter­rup­tions.  If your cell phone ser­vice tends to be spotty and incon­sis­tent, I would rec­om­mend using a land­line phone.  If using a cell­phone, turn off sounds and noti­fi­ca­tions to elim­i­nate alerts for texts, social media, etc.

Be Pre­pared: The great thing about a phone inter­view is that the per­son with whom you are speak­ing can’t phys­i­cally see you.  With that being said, you will be able to have your resume out, take notes, look up infor­ma­tion about the firm and the job descrip­tion, etc.  I rec­om­mend hav­ing your com­puter up and run­ning with the employer’s web­site open, the web­page that con­tains the job descrip­tion open, and another tab open if you need to search some­thing quickly.  But, if you are using your com­puter, keep typ­ing at a min­i­mum and make sure you are not typ­ing too loudly — you do not want the per­son with whom you are speak­ing lis­ten­ing to you typ­ing away.  Also, DO NOT be on social media sites, check­ing email, sports scores, etc.  These will dis­tract you and the employer will likely be able to tell that you are not giv­ing them your 100% undi­vided attention.

Phone Eti­quette: First and fore­most, DO NOT use speaker phone!  In the speaker set­ting, there may be an echo and other clar­ity issues.  Fur­ther, hav­ing the phone on speaker allows the per­son with whom you are inter­view­ing the abil­ity to hear all back­ground noise, shuf­fling papers, mouse clicks, etc.  While inter­view­ing, use ver­bal active lis­ten­ing skills so that the inter­viewer knows you’re still on the phone.  Use words like, “okay,” “right,” “sounds inter­est­ing.”  When answer­ing the phone, kindly intro­duce your­self and if the inter­viewer asks “Is this (your name)?” politely respond “Yes, this is me” or “Yes, this is (your name).”  Try to engage in small talk at the begin­ning of the con­ver­sa­tion — this really enables you to show your inter­per­sonal skills and demon­strates that you are a friendly person.

Know Your Responses, Prac­tice Before­hand: Almost all career ser­vices offices have prac­tice inter­views sched­uled so you can refine your phone and in-person inter­view­ing skills.  Take advan­tage of these resources — they are there for you to use!  Also, pre­pare some responses ahead of time.  Ques­tions that WILL be asked include: “Tell me a bit about your­self” and “Walk me through your resume.”  Have your resume in clear view and a short list of your accom­plish­ments avail­able for you to review and dis­cuss.  How­ever, try not to sound too cal­cu­lated — allow the con­ver­sa­tion to flow naturally.

These are “Can’t Miss” tips on how to suc­cess­fully com­plete a phone inter­view and advance you to that final round, in-person inter­view where you can land a job or intern­ship like a legend:

Phone Resize 300x150 Phone Interviews In College: Success Guide

  1. Research the com­pany and the posi­tion to which you have applied.
  2. Pre­pare ques­tions to ask the interviewer.
  3. Be on time.
  4. Be hon­est, pos­i­tive, and polite in your responses.
  5. Have your resume avail­able and the company’s web­site open.
  6. DO NOT use speakerphone.
  7. Inter­view in a quiet space.
  8. Keep a glass of water within reach.
  9. Speak slowly and artic­u­late clearly.
  10. NEVER inter­rupt the interviewer.
  11. Take notes.
  12. LISTEN!
  13. Ask for the interviewer’s con­tact information.
  14. Send a thank you note and follow-up!

By fol­low­ing these steps, you will be in great shape to suc­cess­fully advance to the final round of inter­views for that dream job or intern­ship in your sights.

Good luck col­le­gians and keep net­work­ing like legends!



What has your phone inter­view expe­ri­ence been like? Do you have any tips we missed? We would love to hear about it in the com­ments below!

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