Professional Development

Phone Interview Tips & Tricks


Even though we can’t all be Michael Scott, we can still “wow” our interviewers! You’ve completed your applications, sent them in, either received confirmation or are awaiting contact with the organization you’ve applied to! Completing all those steps and getting to the point you’re at now is a huge accomplishment!

Next step: interviews! It can be a nerve-racking experience because we want this so badly.  I think our nerves are a good thing because it just helps motivate us even more! Try to always look on the positive side of things 🙂

You might be wondering how phone interviews are even different than in person interviews.  They’re different in a few ways.  Specifically because their purpose differs from that of in-person interviews.  Phone interviews are still largely based around getting to know each other better and an elimination round, whereas in-person interviews are somewhat still an elimination round, but also are geared around if you are the best fit for their organization.  Phone interviews are also an economical option for the both the interviewer and interviewee.

With this in mind, I want to share 10 tips and tricks that helped me tremendously in becoming comfortable with the interview process.

  1. Take a few deep breaths while the phone is ringing, and try to get a handle on those nerves!
  2. If you can’t quite think of an answer to the questions they asked, then respond by saying, “That’s a great question, do you mind if I take a moment to think about that?”
    • For example, I was asked about my top 3 positive skills/attributes, then asked a follow-up question about a time I had used one of these skills.  I didn’t want there to be an awkward silence while I worked through my memory bank of work experiences, so I asked if she would mind if I took a minute to think about her question which made that silence feel as comfortable as possible for the both of us!
  3. Have a glass of water available, or bring a water bottle with you (try to pick one that is quiet when you take a sip though!).  I found that I needed a little sip here and there because my throat was a little dry at times, and I didn’t want to be clearing my throat.
  4. Dress professionally! It really does subliminally make you feel more professional, which can also help you talk more professional as well.
  5. Practice speaking slowly with a friend. It really is super helpful!
    • My boyfriend talked with me on the phone for a couple hours asking me questions and giving me feedback on how my voice sounded and what I was missing from my answers/how I could make my answers better.
  6. When they ask a question that seems like you could answer it with a few words or one sentence, bring it to the next level by working in some experiences that provide a basis/proof for your answer.
  7. Don’t be too comfortable with your interviewers.  You want to connect with them, but you also want to exude a sense of professionalism as well. They take these interviews just as seriously as you do, and it’s important to convey that.
  8. Find a room or quiet spot that won’t distract you from the interview. Keep all of your focus and attention on them.
  9. Do your research on their program and organization first! Write down some of the things your find on a sheet of paper and have it with you during your interview.
  10. Gather materials and use them as guides during your interviews! There are resources available concerning examples of questions that may be asked on the ACLP website. Print these out and use your answers to help guide you during the phone interview.

Happy interviewing everyone!


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