6 steps and tips proven to land a in-person interview

How to Ace a Phone Interview – 6 Steps and Tips

6 crucial steps and tips to ace a phone interview

Phone interviews are necessary to understand because they are usually one of the first steps companies take during an interviewing process. Before you are asked to present yourself with a hiring manager, you will be asked to conduct a phone interview. Down below I will provide the crucial techniques and tips you must know to land an in-person interview. If you want to ace your first interview with the company you have dreamed to work for, keep on reading!

Why Companies Use Phone Interviews?

Companies get a vast number of applicants for their job openings. In order to reduce the number of applicants that interview face-to-face, they use phone interviews as a screening tool. It is a way to narrow down the number of applicants that possess the specific skills employers are looking for in potential candidates. These candidates that acquire the skills needed for the job will then land a face-to-face interview with a hiring manager. Phone interviews are very popular because they are a great way to reduce the time and cost the company must go through when filling job openings with the most qualified people. 

Steps to Take BEFORE a Phone Interview

1. Research the Company

You must have completed this step before applying for the position, if so just refresh your memory and go over your research. If not, it is time to learn a little more in-depth about the company. This means learning about the company’s background information, goals, values, recent successes, etc. Research anything that ties to the position you are interviewing for. This step will help you formulate questions you might want to ask during the phone interview.

2. Review the Job Description

It is important to go over the job posting and its description. This will allow you to gauge the skills and qualifications the employer is looking for and match them with yours. In other words, you will match your qualifications to the job description. Matching your skills to the description will help you answer the questions that will be asked during the interview. 

Job postings are generally broken down into these sections:

      Job postings

Some are brief and some are more detailed. It is important to get the most detail as possible, so you can match your skills with what they are looking for. If the posting does not provide a detailed description you can find out more by researching on third-party websites like Glassdoor or LinkedIn

Match your qualifications to the job description

To complete this step effectively you must extract any skills, qualities, or experiences the employer has listed as required or preferred. Also, review the job responsibilities and make smart assumptions on what skills are needed to carry out those responsibilities. Once you have extracted the detailed skills and qualities they are looking for in potential candidates, compile them into a list.  Next to each skill/quality write out how you have successfully used that specific skill/quality during a past job or in the military workforce. If you can, point out any positive recognition you have received when applying that skill. 

3. Make a List of  Your Strengths and Weaknesses 


It is important to have a clear understanding of your strengths. This will allow you to creatively showcase ways you add value to the company you are applying for. Make sure to jot down at least five strengths that are relevant to the job position and examples on how you applied those strengths.


Weaknesses are the hardest to describe, but a question employers typically ask.  It is a way for hiring managers to look a little deeper into your character and see whether you are qualified for the job. These type of questions also allow the employers to see how well you know yourself, and this is a great quality because it means you know what you can improve on. 

Also, when speaking about your weaknesses it is important to remember not to sell yourself out with many weaknesses because you do not want the employer to think you are not qualified for the job. You want your answer to be honest, sincere, and very positive. What do I mean by “very positive?”

Weaknesses Formula

There is a basic formula you can follow when answering questions about weaknesses in a phone interview:

  1. Avoid mentioning specific skills that are important/critical for the job
  2. Explain the steps you are taking to improve 
  3. Remain positive by avoiding the words like “weak,” or “failure.” Instead, explain how the weakness can also be positive. 

Example – Public Speaking (graphic designer position): Speaking in front of very large groups can take a toll on my nerves, but I have been pushing myself to speak more in public, so I can get used to it. I can see this weakness as something positive too because it has pushed me to become more of a risk-taker and to always be 100% prepared with my work because I never know when I will be asked to present a matter. 

4. Typical Phone Interview Questions For Veterans 

Below I will provide some of the most-asked questions during a phone interview. Review them, answer them, and you will be ahead of the game. 

  • What were the major challenges/problems you faced in the military? And how did you overcome them? 
  • Why are you leaving the military?
  • What are your interests in this job?
  • Why do you want this job? Why do you want to work for us?
  • How can you provide value to our company?
  • What challenges are you looking for in this position?
  • Tell me about your greatest strengths and weaknesses.
  • What motivates you?
  • Tell me about yourself. (also known as an elevator pitch)
  • How are you looking to grow in the company or in yourself? 

5. Have a List of Questions Ready to Ask the Interviewer

The questions you ask the interviewer are as important as the questions you answer. The recruiter will ask you if you have any questions for him/her and it is crucial you have some questions prepared beforehand. It shows the recruiter you have done your research and intend to excel in the position. Good questions to ask the interviewer are listed below: 

  • What are the major challenges in the position?
  • What would be your expectations? And how do you measure success in this position?
  • How will you obtain feedback on my work?
  • Who does this position report to?
  • What is a typical work week?
  • Are there any opportunities to grow within the company? How long does it take?
  • Is there anything else I need to tell you about my qualifications? 
  • Would you like a list of references?
  • When can I expect to hear from you?
  • Are there any questions you need me to answer? 

6. Practice Practice Practice 

Like the subtitle states “practice, practice, practice!” It is essential for you to prepare a mock interview and practice answering the questions provided on the phone. This will help you answer the questions out-load, get rid of nerves, and provide the best answers/examples to each question. Let the interviewer of your mock phone interview make suggestions for your answers. It will help you provide the best possible response to every question.  

Tips to Consider for a Phone Interview

  1. Have the phone interview in a place with no distractions
  2. Make sure you have working signal and if using a cell phone, enough battery 
  3. Have your resume in clear view, so you can look it over during the interview
  4. Have a pen and paper ready for note-taking
  5. Keep a glass of water handy 
  6. Use the interviewer’s title (Mr./Ms. last name) 
  7.  Focus and enunciate the interviewer’s statements 
  8. Take your time to answer
  9. Give short, straightforward answers 

And there you have it, the six recommended steps and tips that will help you nail your first phone interview. The key to interviewing success is having proper preparation. I guarantee you that if you follow the recommended techniques from this post you will be one step closer to landing your dream job by getting an in-person interview!