The 6 Worst Phone Interview Fails

Illustration of a hand holding a smartphone.

Phone interview coming up? Here's how to answer the call.

Many companies will conduct a phone interview prior to scheduling in-person meetings with job candidates. But some creative professionals don’t take the opportunity as seriously as they should. Have a call with a prospective employer coming up? Here’s what not to do.

Phone interview fail #1: Merely going through the motions

Don’t phone it in. You must bring your A-game and make the case that you deserve to advance to the next round of the hiring process. Put as much effort into preparing for the call as you would an in-person job interview. In some ways a phone interview is like a take-home test. Keep reference materials at your fingertips. Prepare a list of speaking points highlighting your most relevant skills and accomplishments, as well as informed questions to ask. You’ll also want your resume, the job description and any research you’ve collected about the employer to be within arm’s reach.


Phone interview fail #2: Bringing the noise

Arrange to conduct the call from a quiet, distraction-free setting. You won’t impress hiring managers if they can hear background chatter, barking dogs or a clicking keyboard.


Phone interview fail #3: Talking too fast

Don’t let your nerves get the best of you. Speak up, slow down and enunciate your words clearly. Also, make sure the interviewer has completed his or her thought or question before responding.


Phone interview fail #4: Getting dropped

Use a landline if possible and disable the call-waiting function.


Phone interview fail #5: Forgetting to be all smiles

OK, so it might sound strange to concern yourself with facial expressions for a phone call, but smile as you talk. It’s a mental trick that can help you come across as more enthusiastic, engaged and confident.


Phone interview fail #6: Not following up

After the phone interview, be sure to send a thank-you note or email to the hiring manager. Offer your appreciation for the opportunity and reiterate your strong interest in the job.


Getting ready for a video interview? Watch our video for advice on making the best possible impression:

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