How to Make a Great First Impression on a Phone Interview

Occasionally my client decides to phone interview and pre-screen a candidate I have presented. Of course, it is sometimes necessary due to geography, but I would always prefer if this first meeting is done in person. My hope is that because of my extensive vetting process, my client knows that they can safely commit time to meet a candidate in person.¬†Clearly salespeople need to¬†present well on the phone, but I feel the best way to gauge a candidate’s cultural fit is to meet them in person.

If I don’t know a candidate personally, I will pre-screen candidates on the phone to review their resumes and qualifications. It is often necessary to conduct these calls when the candidate is in their car or have stepped out of the office into a coffee shop. It can be distracting, but I am accustomed to background noise on these calls. I urge my candidates when they speak with my client however, that they find a quiet spot where they can focus on the call.

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There are some very simple techniques that will ensure you make a great first impression over the phone:


A quiet place where you can focus on the interview questions is critical. It is best to find a professional environment to take the call. Ideally, sit at a desk.

Treat the conversation as if it is in person. Smile and interact with your interviewer as if they are in front of you, with lots of energy.

Have your resume in front of you and any other documents you can refer to for revenue numbers etc. (one advantage of meeting over the phone).

That said, remove phone and computer distractions, so you can focus on the interviewer’s voice and questions.

Read some great ideas on Mashable about Telephone interview techniques.