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Home > Blog: Beginner Basics > Phone Interview Survival Tips

Phone Interview Survival Tips

Apparently, a memo went out recently to writers in the career space, declaring this the Week of the Phone Interview. OK, not really. But I've seen two excellent posts on the topic this week, so I'm hopping on the bandwagon.

The phone interview (more aptly called a phone screen) is becoming more and more popular as the first step in the hiring process. If you haven't had one yet, you will, so it's essential to get yourself primed and ready before the phone rings.

A phone screen is similar to a regular interview. A lot of the questions are the same. Both help employers judge how well you communicate and whether you've done your homework. But there's one big difference: Phone screens are meant to screen people out; regular interviews are meant to screen someone in.

It's much faster and cheaper for an employer to phone 10 or 15 "maybe" candidates than to meet them all in person. The phone-screening process weeds out the people who sound good on paper but—for whatever reason—don't strike the screener as a good match for the job.

Only the short list of candidates who survive the phone screen will get to interview face to face. And as we all know, you can't get a job without an interview.

Anyway, as I mentioned, the two recent posts I read about phone interviews were excellent. If you want to be a survivor, rather than a casualty, of your next phone screen, I highly recommend you read them (click the title to see the full post):

  1. Don't wear pajamas for a phone interview, from's Ask Annie.
    Fifteen handy tips for making a great phone impression—everything from "use a landline and disable call waiting" to "eat a cough drop before the call."
  2. How to prepare for a phone interview, from Ask a Manager's Allison Green.
    Step-by-step instructions for doing your homework before the call, plus typical questions to expect, and what to ask in return. 

Talk is Cheap, Except in the Phone Interview
Phone Interview: Tips and Tricks
How Do You Handle the Salary Question?
What NOT to Say at the First Job Interview

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