Ace Your Next Phone Interview with these 12 Communication Tips

As 2021 continues, we may expect to see continued innovations that change the interviewing landscape. However, the remote interviewing model is likely here to stay and it is significantly different from interviewing in-person (or on-site).

Many companies begin their interviewing process with a phone interview, or phone screen, without video. This often used to narrow the candidates brought forward for a face-to-face or video interview. It is critical that you ace this first step in the process if you hope to make it to the next round.

Communicating over the phone is challenging because you don’t have the ability to see your conversation partner’s facial expressions and gestures. Similarly, the interviewer does not receive those visual cues from you. So how can you use this opportunity to make a good first impression? At this stage, show your soft skills!

Soft skills are difficult to teach and central to long-term success. 


Use these 12 tips to stand out during the phone interview.

Show enthusiasm. Express eagerness for the opportunity to interview and about the company, position, or project. A positive tone in your voice will come across in the interview. Smile when you are on the phone to help you sound more engaged and positive. Your interviewer will “hear” you smile!

Know your audience. Are you interviewing with a recruiter who doesn’t have programming knowledge? Communicate clearly in an organized manner.

Show excitement for the opportunity. Ask questions to demonstrate your curiosity. Explicitly reiterate your interest in the job at the end of the call. If you’re interviewing with a software developer, start out strong by showing off your passion for coding and tech knowledge!

Be honest. Tell the interviewer what most interests you in the job and what kinds of projects you’d like to work on. Similarly, be truthful about your qualifications such as education, professional experience, as well as areas where you hope to improve.

Answer questions by showing, not telling. Make a stronger impact by using specific and memorable details to tell your story.

Tailor your answers to the position. Rather than providing generic answers, show you have done your research about the position or organization. Use specific details to discuss the role you are interviewing for.

Listen for opportunities to show your value alignment. This is an opportunity to show that you’ve read the mission statement and support the organization’s big picture. 

Engage with your interviewer. Ask questions! Take an active role in the interview by learning more about the job through questions specific to the role and company. 

Show that you are a team player. Cross-functional teams are utilized across industries in multinational companies. As you speak, use the pronoun “we” when appropriate, to reflect that you are open to collaboration with others and see yourself as a member of the team.  

Think aloud. Tech interviewers are interested in how you approach problems, and their questions are designed to learn more about your thought process. Talking aloud demonstrates skills such as: critical thinking, problem solving, self-awareness, etc. Don’t fret if you are asked difficult technical questions. The interviewer is equally interested in your ability to answer accurately as well as hearing the thought process behind your answer. So if you don’t know the answer, describe how you would get the information and resources needed to accomplish the task. 

Discuss how you level-up. In your spare time, do you work on projects? Do you follow influencers on social media? Are you an influencer yourself? Interviewers may be curious about your passions, particularly those that relate to the position. Speak about your high-interest areas with enthusiasm! 

Discuss your adaptability. Since the pandemic hit, employers have been forced to think outside the box to keep their company afloat. This means asking employees to be flexible with their roles and adapt to new expectations. Have you stepped up to take on additional work? Shifted into a temporary position? Give examples that show how you have helped out during these uncertain times.  

Inquire about the next steps in the process.  Before wrapping up your interview, ask about the hiring timeline, remaining steps in the interview process, and who to contact with further questions. Close the call by reiterating your interest in the position and thanking the interview for his/her time. 


This year employers will be looking to hire more well-rounded professionals. When you prepare for your interview, balance your focus on technical skills (such as writing code) and your soft skills (such as effective communication). Employers are looking to hire a candidate who can do the job and interact effectively with others!

One final tip: Speak clearly, and consider working with an accent coach to sharpen your interview skills. Contact Upward Communication today to book your free introductory session.