Many companies receive huge piles of resumes. To save time, a lot of them use phone interviews as an initial employment screening technique, because they don’t take up as much time as a face-to-face interview does. Phone interviews can be nerve-wrecking for a job seeker, but one has to get through them in order to get to the next level.

Some people find it hard to be interviewed through a phone call as there is no eye contact and it can be difficult to build rapport or let your personality shine through However a phone interview might actually benefit those who are socially awkward, as this allows the interviewer to listen to them without visual prejudice.

Since the interviewer won’t be able to see you, they will judge you based on your voice, answers, and whatever sounds that go through during the conversation. Even highly capable candidates can be rejected by the employer if they are ill-prepared or not used to speaking in a professional tone over the phone. Here are 5 points to note in a phone interview.

1.    Know how long the interview is going to last

It is crucial to prepare for any kind of interview. In this case, the recruiter will tell you the duration of the interview. If he doesn’t, it won’t hurt to ask. Knowing this will allow you to plan and also give you some sense of how detailed the interview questions are going to be. If it’s going to last for 15 minutes, then perhaps they just want to gather some information from you. For interviews that last longer than 30 minutes, treat it like a regular interview. 

2.    Research about the company and job position

You need to know as much as possible about the company and job position that you’re applying for, regardless of the kind of interview you’re having. You can request for some information from your prospective employer. Make sure to also visit the company’s website, and research on the current issues of the industry and nature of the job you’ve applied to. You need to be aware of the statistics of the company – its structure, products, markets, competitors and future plans.

3.    Practice makes perfect

Practise in advance on a regular basis, if you haven’t worked in an office or made calls for formal purposes before. Ask your friends or family to make calls to you and ask interview questions so that you will be able to tackle them calmly during the actual call. You should think of a few questions to ask the interviewer to show that you are interested in the job as well.

4.    Have a copy of your resume with you

Have a copy of your resume ready during the phone interview. It doesn’t reflect well on you if the interviewer refers to something on your resume and you can’t remember a thing about it. The interviewer does this to make sure you’re not making things up in your resume.

5.    Do not use your mobile phone

It is advisable to make calls with a fixed telephone line instead of your mobile phone. This is one occasion where you would want to be heard as clearly as possible, and using a mobile phone may not be ideal because its reception is less stable than that of a telephone’s. Additionally, make the call at a quiet place, or turn off  the TV or radio if you’re at home.


Phone interviews can be a little tricky, since you can’t read your interviewer’s non-verbal cues like facial expression and body language. However, if you make adequate preparations, you won’t need to read their expressions to gauge your performance. Most importantly, keep a calm and clear mind so that you’ll be able to handle any questions that come your way.

For more career-related guidance, visit www.STJobs.sg.