5 Phone Interview Tips to Help You Land a Job

  • Sarah Wilson |
  • | Mission

Whether you’ve lost your job or are seeking out a new path, the interview process can seem daunting. With unemployment soaring, it’s important to nail each step of the interview process to stand out. From your resume to your phone interview to your Zoom/in-person interview, these five tips are important for each and every step.

For our examples below, we’ll be modeling the advice for someone who worked at a now-closed restaurant seeking a new position at nearby restaurants.

1. Have Work Examples and Experience Prepared

No matter the position you are applying for, preparation is key throughout the interview process. For the example of a restaurant employee seeking a new position, a resume may not always be required. However, it’s still important to be prepared to rattle off the relevant experience you hold. Don’t rely on your memory when you’re on the spot, write down all of the relevant places you have worked and the duties that you handled at each. If you were promoted within your time at a specific company, be sure to note that as well!


Tony’s Restaurant – I worked here for one year as a server, then I was promoted to shift lead and continued working for another year. Unfortunately this restaurant closed down due to COVID-19. 

Prior to working at Tony’s, I was a hostess at Maria’s Pizzeria for 9 months. I enjoyed the atmosphere but unfortunately did not receive the hours I needed.

2. Practice Describing Your Most Recent Position in 60 Seconds

On a phone call, it’s essential that you are able to clearly articulate your experience. The interviewer won’t be able to rely on your facial expressions or natural banter to get to know you. To determine which details of your latest position to include, look at the job description for the position you are applying to and compare duties. Include the tasks that overlap. If there are extra duties you covered at your previous position you can include those as well.

Example: In my most recent position at Tony’s Restaurant I was a shift lead after being a server for the previous year. In this role, I was responsible for managing table turn times and communication between servers, hosts, and the kitchen to ensure customers’ expectations were met. I earned a ServSafe certification in both Food Handling and Management.

3. Don’t Diss Your Former/Current Place of Employment

No matter the reason for leaving your former/current place of employment, it’s important not to be negative about them. Bringing up any personal issues with former coworkers or bosses during an interview is automatically a red flag. It’s simply unprofessional and the new employer doesn’t want to worry about how you will blend in with their current staff.

Instead, see if any of these reasons represent why you are now looking for new employment opportunities:

  • Your previous place of employment went out of business or laid off staff
  • You are looking for a new challenge
  • You are seeking additional compensation
  • You want to work for a company with more career advancement opportunities
  • You had to leave due to family or personal reasons

4. Have Two Questions Prepared to Ask the Interviewer

It’s almost guaranteed that at the end of your interview the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. In order to seem engaged and interested in the position, be prepared with at least two questions to ask!


  • What does success look like for this role?
  • What do you enjoy about working for this company?
  • What is the work environment like?
  • How long have most people been with the company?

5. Find a Quiet, Distraction-Free Environment

The last essential piece of advice for nailing a phone interview is allowing the interviewer to clearly hear you! Be sure you are alone in a quiet room, in which you will not be met with interruptions. It’s also important to make sure your phone is charged and you have good signal in the location you are planning to take the phone call.

If you need assistance finding a job, you can receive personalized support from our job coaches. This service is provided free-of-charge and is funded primarily through our retail stores. 

Use the worksheets below to prepare for your next interview!

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