Helping you get media coverage
RSS Sources Select News RSS Feed | SOURCESCalendar   

How to Handle Phone Interviews

Colette Robicheau


For some people, doing a phone interview - whether for a job or with the press - can be more unnerving than face-to-face. Being unable to read someone's expressions, or look them in the eye, can throw a person off track. Follow these tips to ensure that your phone interview is a success.

1. Be prepared: Have someone ask you the questions you think might be asked beforehand. Allow them to give you feedback and go over the areas where you stumble or hesitate until everything runs smoothly. If it is a media interview, see if you can get the reporter to send you the questions before the interview. Reporters work on tight deadlines, so if it makes the interview run smoother for them they will most likely oblige.

2. Be organized: A plus of doing a phone interview means that you can have notes and documents in front of you. If you are doing a job interview, keeping your resume, portfolio and examples of your work on hand can be a huge asset. If doing a media interview, have any information you feel might be needed with you - like your key messages or any statistics. Keep all documents in arranged in an order in which you can easily access them.

3. Use a landline: Landlines are more secure and clear than cell phones. It also eliminates the worry of dropping a call or being out of service. If you have a hands free phone, it allows you to sort through your documents and take notes if needed. Plus, if it is a long interview, you can avoid a neck cramp.

4. Eliminate all distractions: Turn off the television, music and any other phones. Send the kids or pets to a sitter if you are doing it from home. Use the bathroom before the call. At the office, put a do not disturb sign on your door and ask the secretary to hold your calls.

5. Have a glass of water with you: Talking a lot can make you dry and hoarse, and over the phone this can amplify and make you hard to understand. At the same time, be careful to take small sips while the interviewer is asking a question, the sound of someone gulping water over the phone is not attractive.

6. Act as if they are in the room: Even though they can't see you, an interviewer can still tell if you are smiling or not. It will make you sound more upbeat and optimistic. Dress like you would if the interview were in person; it will give you more confidence. Give yourself plenty of time, so that you aren't rushing answers to try to make your next appointment.

Try to relax and realize the advantages that a phone interview can have over one in person. By being prepared, you will have more confidence in yourself and what you are saying.

Colette Robicheau, President of Organize Anything, is a consultant, coach, and speaker who helps people set priorities, stay focused, manage time, and transitions so they can achieve their goals, grow their business and be more successful.
Contact her at and sign up for her newsletter of useful tips at