Phone Interview Tips/Checklist

Phone Interview

A phone interview is typically the first step in the interview process. Depending on the organizations’ process and efficiency, you may be scheduled for a phone interview with enough time for you to prepare – other times, they may call you for a quick interview. So what can you do to make sure you don’t get caught off guard? Always be prepared. I want to share some information with you that will help you get started. I’ve also created a checklist to help you navigate through the process. Use this each time you are preparing for an interview and I can guarantee you will feel confident jumping on that call. And confidence is key! Let’s first walk through what a phone interview entails:

  • Who will you be speaking with? Most likely a recruiter or someone in the HR department.
  • What is the goal of this interview? The main goal of this interview is to determine if you have the personality, skills and experience for this role. They will also use this interview to gauge your interest in the opportunity and determine if you move forward to the next step in the process.
  • What should you expect? Expect to go through your experience, address any gaps in employment and questions to determine personality/cultural fit. Also they may ask what you know about the position or the organization and why you feel you are a good fit.
  • How can you prepare? Have your resume handy and a notepad to take notes. Research the company (learn what it is they do, their competitors and culture), review the job description and jot down a few questions to ask the interviewer. Review some general interview questions (or work with a career coach to conduct mock interviews). Be prepared to answer questions regarding your strengths and weaknesses – practice this before the call and write them down. Find a quiet location free from distractions to take the call and have a glass of water handy – you will be doing a lot of speaking.

Quick story – I’ll never forget a phone interview I had where everything went perfect until I had a coughing fit as a result of a dry throat from talking so much. I was miserable and couldn’t get more than a few words out  before I started coughing again. The interviewer had to call me back. Fortunately, the interview was going very well until then, or I may not have had the opportunity to get that call back. It also happened to me today during the shoot for the video on this topic. if you watched it, you’ll notice I had to repeat the word “resume” because my throat had been dry from talking so much – and my coffee wasn’t helping 🙂 Point of the story is – be prepared for anything!

I hope you find the checklist below useful and remember to use it each time you are preparing for an interview to make sure you are not missing anything. As always, if you are interested in interview coaching/mock interview sessions, please reach out to me. See you next time as we continue the “Interview” series with a different interview style, details, what to expect and how to prepare for it.


  • Keep your resume handy.
  • Have a notepad and pen available to take notes.
  • Review the job description thoroughly and jot down some notes on how your experience translates into their needs.
  • Research the company (industry, culture and competitors), as well as, the interviewer (you will most likely find them on LinkedIn) and see if you have any commonalities.
  • Have questions ready to ask the interviewer including some that show you did your research.
  • Make sure there is no background noise and cell phone has good reception.
  • Have some water handy!

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