3 Phone Interview Tips That Will Land You A Second Interview

In order to nail your phone interview, there are three phone interview tips that determine your success:

  1. Your voice
  2. Your answers to questions
  3. The questions you ask back to the interviewer

Let’s address each one individually:


First open up your phone and go to the voice recorder app on your phone (Voice Memos on iPhone, Cogi) and pretend you just jumped on a call with a potential interviewer.

Now, play it back.

You probably sound nasally, stuttering, disinterested, lots of background sound, bored.


Now record your first few lines again, this time do the following:

  1. Stand up tall
  2. Smile big
  3. Walk around and use your hands as you talk (or take the call from inside your car which has surprsingly good acoustics)

Sounds much better right?

The first few opening lines will set the tone for the rest of the call. If you start strong, it will definately set you up for success.

Not sure what to say? Quick one liner:

“Hey! Ayman here. Thanks for taking my call today. Really excited to talk to you and learn more about the position.”

(Key points: Greeting, Name, Thanks, Excited)


Now we got voice out of the way. Let’s focus on the answers to questions.

Most people will tell you to study the best responses to standard interview questions.


Nobody wants to hear the same generic answer to “What’s your greatest weakness”.

Instead, make the interviewer answer the questions for you!


Easy. Weave the following questions into your conversation:

  1. Can you tell me a little bit about your own career path and how you landed at this company? (Helps you find common ground)
  2. Outside of the ones listed, what other skills would the ideal job candidate have? (Helps you find what tools are used internally – make sure to mention any experience you have with them in your answers)
  3. What milestones would the ideal candidate hit after 90 days? One year? What are the biggest innovations the ideal candidate could bring to this position? (HUGE – this is basically the answer key for the test)
  4. Looking at my application, where do you anticipate my biggest learning curve would be? (Helps you address potential concerns directly in the call.)
  5. Assuming I do an excellent job in this role, what would be the traditional career path for this position? (Shows them you’re thinking long term with the company)

Write these down! (remember this is an open book test) Or better yet, grab my cheat sheet here. (PDF version)

Phone interview template

If you treat the call like a conversation, instead of an interview, it will be very natural for you to weave these questions directly into the call.


Interview: “Tell me about yourself”

You: “Answer” btw, Can you tell me a little bit about your own career path and how you landed at this company?


With the answers in your back pocket, you can answer follow-up questions with precision.

The last question also demonstrates your willingness to stay with the company long-term. No one wants to train someone for 2 years only for them to bounce to another company.

Lastly, make sure each of your answers includes a story. Don’t tell me you like to volunteer (boring), tell me about the time you organized a mission trip to Nicaragua (exciting).

You follow these steps and you may just hear these magical words:

“Can you come into the office on Monday?”

(Also make sure you write down their name. Nothing worse than fudging that up at the end of a great call)

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