What should I know about phone interviews?

Phone interviews are often used by employers and recruiters use to decide who they want to invite to an interview.

During a phone interview, you could be asked about your relevant work experience, qualifications, and salary expectations. Employers use phone interviews as an easy way to decide which candidates they are interested in. They also evaluate your communication skills during phone interviews.

Phone interviews are also called screening interviews.

What is the goal of a phone interview?

For the employer, the goal is to decide which candidates to screen out (eliminate from the competition) and which ones they want to continue the hiring process with.

For you, the goal is to get an invitation for the next stage of the interview process.

When do I know if I have been invited for a phone interview?

There are two ways employers can schedule a phone interview with you:

  • The employer emails you to inform you of the date and time when they will call you; or
  • The employer calls you without letting you know in advance (an unscheduled phone interview).

Tips for a successful phone interview

Prepare for this kind of job interview

  • Set up a quiet place to take the call where you will not be interrupted.
  • Have easy access to your company research and the job posting.
  • Practice. There are free employment centres that offer programs to help you improve your interviewing skills. To find help, go to Services Near Me and search for "employment services" in your area.

Decide whether you can take an unscheduled phone interview

  • If you can identify the caller and you are not in a situation where you can focus on the interview, let the call go to voicemail and call the interviewer back later that day.
  • If the call takes you by surprise, ask the interviewer if you can re-schedule the call.
  • If you feel the interviewer is hesitant to re-schedule, you may want to take the call and do the best you can.

Make a good first impression

  • Place a mirror in front of you and make an effort to look into it and smile while talking to your interviewer. Smiling makes you sound engaged and enthusiastic.
  • At the end of the interview, ask for next steps and the interviewer’s contact information.
  • Thank the interviewer for their time and re-state your interest in the position.
  • Finally, email a thank you note within 24 hours of the phone interview.

For More Information

  • Job Interviews - Settlement.Org has several articles on job interviews that you might find useful.
  • Phone Interview Tips - How to conduct yourself before, during and after the interview. From Indeed.ca.
Last updated: November 18, 2021 4006256