How to Ace That Phone Interview

Anticipating a big interview via the phone? While it may seem safer than a face to face, the phone presents its own challenges. Follow these steps to make sure you deliver your very best interview.

Business people, telephone, conversation, communicationStep 1: Interview the reporter. Before you ever agree to an interview, you need to glean as much info from the reporter as you can. Find out who they are, who they’re writing for, and who their intended audience will be. See if you can dig a little deeper too. Are they interviewing anyone else? What angle are they coming from? Some reporters will divulge more than others, but it never hurts to ask respectfully. But keep in mind, when they don’t wish to answer, you don’t need to force the issue. The last thing you want is to put the person interviewing you on the defensive.

Step 2: Gather your notes. Odds are you have a good idea of what the interview is going to be about. Maybe it’s an upcoming event or about your recent expansion. Consider all the questions the reporter could possibly ask, and prepare answers. This isn’t so you can repeat them word for word like a robot when they call, but having some good bullet points to work off of will help you not get stuck. Also, try and anticipate any “gotcha” type questions they could come up with. Was there a recent company crisis of some sort? Know what you’re going to say, because if there are any skeletons in the closet, the reporter very well could try and pull them out.

Step 3: Find a quiet spot, free of distraction. This usually is NOT your office. Sure it might be quiet, but I guarantee that it’s not free of distraction. However, if your office is your only quiet option, then make sure you clear off your desk so you aren’t tempted to handle other pressing matters during the interview. And for God’s sake, don’t do it at home if there’s a chance a kid is going to run in the room.

Step 4: Get mobile. No, I don’t mean use your mobile device. I mean you need to get up from your desk, open up your lungs, and get moving. Standing and pacing will get you pumped up, help you sound more confident, and keep you busy to calm your nerves. Find a good hands-free device so you aren’t tied to your desk—do NOT use a speaker phone. The sound quality is terrible and the reporter will feel as if the entire world is listening.

Step 5: Use appropriate body language. I know what you’re thinking…”No one can see me over the phone.” And you’re right, assuming you aren’t using something like Skype or Facetime. But it doesn’t matter whether they can see you or not. When you’re speaking with your body (smiling, moving your hands to make a point, furrowing your brow when getting serious) the interviewer can often feel it in your voice. This can help you come across as more passionate.

Step 6: Speak slowly. Remember, they’ve got to turn this into a story. That means they’re either typing up notes as they go, or recording it to do so later. Either way, especially when you’re delivering information you consider particularly important, make sure your delivery is slow and deliberate. Enunciate clearly and pause from time to time to ensure they got what they needed. You may even ask if they want you to repeat something every now and then to show you’re trying to help them out.

Well, are you ready? Can you think of anything else that could help out? Comment!

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 8 Shocking Secrets Press Release Distribution Firms Don’t Want You to Know here:

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