How to Answer Phone Interview Questions

Written by r.l. cultrona
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How to Answer Phone Interview Questions
The telephone interview can be overwhelming if you are not prepared. (Old telephone image by Nenad Djedovic from

One of the least favourite parts of the interview process for many people is the phone interview. A phone interview is one where a recruiter calls you for the interview instead of a face-to-face meeting. Usually, this is utilised as a precursor to the second round of interviewing, and is done by someone in the HR department. If you are faced with a phone interview, you may need some help with how to answer the questions which are presented.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Resume
  • Cover letter
  • Note pad
  • Pen

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Speak clearly to the recruiter and be sure to enunciate your words. People tend to talk quickly over the phone because the other person isn't there. Make sure you slow your speech down, clearly state your words and make sure the interviewer can hear every word.

  2. 2

    Answer the questions confidently. In a face-to-face interview, you can exude confidence with your body language. Here, all you have is your voice. Make sure you are certain about what you are saying.

  3. 3

    Smile when you talk. Although the interviewer can't see you, the old adage about "hearing a smile" is true. The interviewer will leave with an impression that you were friendly.

  4. 4

    Stay away from negative comments in this interview. The rule that you should never bad-mouth your old jobs and bosses also applies to phone interviews. Try to present past difficulties in a positive light.

  5. 5

    Have your notes in front of you so you have a guide for your answers. Have a list of accomplishments you can pump up if you need. Keep your resume handy so you can follow along with the recruiter. This will show how prepared you are and hopefully add to your list of pros.

  6. 6

    Keep your answers short and to the point. You should only talk 40 per cent of the time in an interview. Let the interviewer ask for information.

Tips and warnings

  • Some people dress up for phone interviews like they would for a face-to-face meeting. This can be a benefit because it places you in the correct mindset for the interview.

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