How to Ace a Phone Interview

After playing the job search waiting game, your resume and cover letter finally pass the weed-out and you’ve been selected for a telephone or video interview. What now? In many cases, telephone interviews are the first point of contact between a job candidate and potential employers. So, the pressure is on. asked career expert George Dutch for a few pointers on how to ace a telephone or video interview.

Dutch has been a certified career professional in private practice since 1993. His is the author of several career books, has hosted a careers talk-back radio show for nearly seven years, and speaks regularly on careers to community and industry groups. His recent book, JobJoy helps young adults recognize their natural strengths and motivations. He is also an online coach for CareerBuilder and advises graduates of University of Phoenix. He is currently completing a master’s degree online with Athabasca University.

Question: What are some basic tips for job candidates preparing for phone and video interviews?

Dutch: Take it seriously. Interviews require preparation. It’s important to understand how an interview works from the employer’s perspective.

Question: What are recruiters looking for/expecting for the first-round interviews?

Dutch: Basic match between their clients’ needs/priorities and your skill set and experience. If you are a recent graduate, you need to talk about the knowledge you acquired in school, outline projects/assignments, and any work or volunteer experience that is relevant to the position.

Question: What kind of questions should you expect?


  • What have you done in the past 2-5 years that you think best matches the job description?
  • Why are you interested in this position?

Question: What kind of questions should you ask?


    • If I was to be hired, what would be my first priority on the job?
    • What would the employer expect of me in terms of deliverables in the first six months to a year?
    • What is the career path for this position—where does the employer expect me to be in five years?

Question: How do you convey your personality?

Dutch: Naturally, by telling stories about achievements/accomplishments related to the position. It is very important to tell stories that demonstrate how you can help the employer make money, save money, improve productivity, attain efficiencies, meet difficult deadlines, work with new products and technologies.

Question: How can you gauge your performance?

Dutch: After you answer a question, ask: “Was that useful? Would you like me to clarify or elaborate anything?” This should give you some idea of whether or not you are hitting the mark with your answers. If not, they will respond by requesting more information.


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