The dos and don’ts of phone interviews

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Scrolling through the details of your interview, your heart begins to drop. The confidence you once possessed suddenly disappears because your interview is... over the phone. The nauseating sense of dread that a phone interview prompts is uncomfortable, to say the least. 


We all know it: phone calls are the worst. Even the most confident of us get phone anxiety. 

Yet, in an age where social distancing and masking up are the norm, it isn’t any wonder why more companies are leaning towards conducting phone interviews. These interviews are an opportunity for recruiters to efficiently narrow down their pool of candidates. 

Our KP Staffing call center representatives apply their expertise daily to weed through hundreds of applicants; so what's the best way for you to stand out over the phone? Below are a few dos and don'ts to kill it and eliminate the panic over the dreaded phone interview. 

Consider your schedule and plan accordingly.


Don’t reschedule the interview last minute or agree to an interview time that doesn’t best fit your schedule. 

While it’s necessary to appear accommodating, settling for an interview time that clearly won’t work is potentially setting you up for failure.

Consider your daily routine and variables that might affect the quality of your interview, instead of committing to a time that feels like a stretch. 

Do give the recruiter a variety of times and dates that fit your availability (if given the chance). 

Something as simple as providing a few options for interview times expresses your ability to be flexible and your willingness to set aside the necessary time to potentially land the job. After agreeing to a time, mark your calendar and check it twice – even though the interview is conducted over the phone, it’s still crucial to be prompt. 

Meaningfully engage in the conversation.

Don’t multi-task during the phone interview. 

It might be tempting to pick up around the house or gather yourself while on a phone interview, but your central focus should be on making the best impression possible.

 Even though it's over the phone, a lack of attention is still apparent and will translate into your overall performance. Background noises like music, the television, or your dog barking are distracting and appear chaotic to the interviewer. 


Do be an active listener by consistently interacting and engaging in stimulating conversation. 

It’s always best to prepare your space before an interview – consider staying away from noisy areas in your home or public places like coffee shops. By eliminating outside distractions and retreating to a quiet-controlled environment, you can concentrate on blowing the recruiter away! 

Since they can't see your face to determine if you're listening, affirm what they said by adding basic statements like:

  • "So what you're saying is..."
  • "That makes sense. I agree because..."
  • "It sounds like this company really values..."

Take the time to prepare and research.

Don’t read off keynotes or stick to a pre-formulated script.

The goal of a phone interview is to allow the recruiter to get a feel for who you are as a person. Often reading prepared answers sounds robotic and rehearsed. Most of the questions will be about a topic that you should be the number one expert on: yourself. 


Do have a cheat sheet with bullet points you can follow, simply as a point of reference. 

We’ve all been there; our nerves get the best of us and we forget questions we could normally answer with our eyes closed and hands behind our back.

As a resource, pull up your LinkedIn or resume to skim through. The beauty of a phone interview is the ability to prepare beforehand and glance over notes during high anxiety moments.

So ease the stress by doing your research on possible interview questions, information about the company itself, and what qualities make you the best fit for the position. 

Genuinely assess your options.

Don’t waste both your and the recruiter's time by continuing in the interview process if the position doesn’t seem like a good fit. 

After completing the interview, you should be able to discern whether or not the job suits you. Preparing for an interview is time-consuming on both ends and shouldn’t be wasted on a career that definitely doesn’t align with your future endeavors.


Do be honest about what you're looking for in a career. 

Instead of compromising, let them know another position you might be open to; who knows, maybe your desired position will be available in the future. Recruiters are in search of applicants that genuinely want to work, so don’t settle, because there is a job out there specifically for you.

If anything, use the experience as an opportunity to hone your phone-interviewing skills. 

In-person interviews are nerve-wracking enough – throw in the fact that it's over the phone, and the level of anxiety goes through the roof. Here at KP, we want to provide the most valuable resources possible to help you combat the stress caused from a phone interview. Before you know it, you'll be dazzlingly recruiters over the phone with composure. 

Fill out our online application, or reach out to the KP branch nearest to you with questions!

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