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On a job search, when you get that call for a first interview it feels a little like you’ve hit the jackpot. Since initial interviews will generally be done over the phone, make sure you give the right first impression so you can make it to the next round of interviews and eventually cash in on that new position.

Some tips to keep in mind:

Be Concise

Phone interviews are shorter than in-person interviews. Make sure you’re
spending time talking about what really matters: why you’re the qualified for the position. Also – don’t get hung up on the details, share the highlights and get your point across efficiently.


Don’t be the candidate that doesn’t remember what position the interview is for (I’ve talked to those…it’s not pretty). Make sure you review the job posting you responded to and the company’s website before the call. You can even have both in front of you during the call for a quick reference.

Know Yourself

Your interviewer is going to have your resume in front of her or him – so should you. Candidates have asked me to remind them of what is on their resume – that’s not okay. Take advantage of the fact that your interviewer can’t see you and have all of your resources right within reach.

Stay Focused

Make sure you aren’t distracted. Don’t be driving, running errands, or taking care of kids or dogs. Be in control of your environment and find a quiet space. Interviewers CAN hear background noise and may focus more on what’s going on around you than what you’re saying if where you are is loud.

Ask Right Questions

Be inquisitive and show that you want to learn more; and forget the canned questions about culture & benefits – ask about the work. You want to know whether or not this job is right, ask about what matters to you. Do you like collaboration? Ask how much teamwork vs. individual work is expected.

Express Enthusiasm

If you want the job, say so! And don’t stop there. Be specific and say why they should want you as well: “I’m excited about this opportunity and think my recruiting experience would be an asset in this high-volume recruiting role”. Companies want candidates who are eager.
Congratulations on making it to the first step towards a new position! Take a phone interview as seriously as you would an in-person interview. First impressions can be everything!

Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt is a former member of the Purple Ink team. She has a special interest in career coaching and recruiting and finds joy when she can connect the right person to the right opportunity.

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