How to Prepare for Your First Phone Interview

 Image: Levo League

Image: Levo League

By: Eman Salem, GWWIB Ambassador

As college students, we are constantly given advice about how to format our resumes, shake hands, and even how to dress when it comes to interviewing. Yet, when was the last time you ever received advice for phone interviews? This was the exact question that ran through my mind when I received my first invitation for a phone interview.

Phone interviews and in-person interviews have a lot of similarities, such as questions the interviewer might ask, the proper way to address the interviewer, and questions you might ask the interviewer. However, in a phone interview, you won't be able to shake the interviewer's hand or look him or her in the eye--it all comes down to how you portray yourself on the phone. With this in mind, there are a few things I had to address in order to be completely prepared for my phone interview.

Cell Reception

The first thing I double-checked was my cell phone reception. Flawless cell phone reception is a great way to make sure you can hear the interviewer and he or she can hear you. Otherwise, your interview might end up sounding something like the new Adele song.

Finding A Quiet Place To Talk

Sometimes dorm rooms can be a little noisy--your roommate comes back from class earlier than you anticipated, the girl next door starts practicing her tuba--a million different things could happen and you probably wouldn't be able to do much about it. To avoid the cacophony of dorm life, try reserving a study room in the library and writing a "Phone Interview in Progress, Please DO NOT Disturb" note on the door. This way, you have a guaranteed quite space where you can focus on the interview.

How Does My Phone Voice Sound?

Of course, you'll want to know what the interviewer is hearing on the other side of the phone call.  While preparing for my interview, saying answers to common interview questions out loud helped me feel confident about how I would sound during the actual interview. You can always ask a friend to call you and practice the interview questions on the phone. Additionally, it helps to sit up straight during a phone interview (as opposed to laying in bed) because slouching can affect your voice and enunciation. All in all, as long as you don't catch a cold before your interview, your phone voice should sound just fine.

Good luck facing your phone interview! Even if you forget these few tips, you can always use the GW resources below to help you prepare for anything you will encounter in your career search.


GW Resources For Interview Preparation

Center for Career Services at Colonial Crossroads and GW School of Business Career Center offer career coaching for:



   Jobs and Internships

   Resumes and Cover Letters