Career Development CenterCareer Development CenterDivision of Student AffairsUniversity of Cincinnati

Career Development Center

Phone Interview Preparation

These phone conversations are, in most cases, your first contact with a company.  Do not disregard the importance
of this first impression.

Be Prepared / Be Professional / Be Personable

Phone interviews are frequently the first step in the interviewing process. In these times of corporate frugality and ever
changing plane fares, companies often opt for an initial phone interview for screening of potential candidates. These
phone conversations are, in most cases, your first contact with a company. Do not disregard the importance of this first
impression.

Here are a few useful hints to help you through the process:

• Work with your recruiter to set up either a specific time or “window of time” for the call.
  This will allow you to be fully prepared and avoid situations where you are unable to
  conduct an effective interview.
 
• Have a copy of your resume, transcript, and the job description in front of you during
  the interview.

• Make sure your phone (especially if you are on an extension) is audible or in good
  working order. Avoid portable and cellular phones.

• Record a professional message for your answering machine or voice mail.

• Be aware of any potential distractions, i.e. television, background conversations, etc.

• If you have the “call-waiting” feature on your phone, do not interrupt your conversation to
  answer a call. Should a call come through and there is a distinctive break in the 
  conversation, either ignore it, or make light of the situation.

• Talk directly into the mouth piece. If you have a bad connection and/or have difficulty
   hearing the other party, either have the person call you back, adjust the phone or ask 
   them to speak louder.

• Have a “canned” response ready for a recruiter if you’re caught off guard.

• Don’t type on your computer during the interview.

• Talk slowly and show self-confidence.

• Thank the interviewer for his or her time.

• Practice, practice, practice!

Again, do not take this step in the interview process lightly. This is a great opportunity to sell yourself and to find out
more about the position. Last, but certainly not least, the phone interview is the opportune time to set up your face-to-face
meeting. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR THE APPOINTMENT!!! Have your calendar at hand so you may suggest dates that
would be convenient to interview. Good Luck!!