Overcoming Phone Anxiety for Your Next Phone Interview

Understanding why we have anxiety surrounding phone calls will lead to solutions that help curb this aspect of the job search. It’s my hope that after reading these tips, you’ll hang up your next interview with a brand new job.

By Sidney Williamson - Jul 8, 2020

You’ve secured an phone interview for your dream job, & you feel on top of the world. Yet, your palms are sweaty & your heart is pounding out of your chest. I get it. Phone interviews can be very intimidating. I’m here to help! Understanding why we have anxiety surrounding phone calls will lead to solutions that help curb this aspect of the job search. It’s my hope that after reading these tips, you’ll hang up your next interview with a brand new job.

Tl;dr

  • Phone interviews are intimidating because talking on the phone is intimidating for everyone

  • Learn the job description inside and out & know the company’s website like the back of your hand

  • Come up with at least one question for your interviewer

  • Make yourself a “script” with points that you know you’ll want to emphasize

  • Answer that call with confidence because YOU GOT THIS.


Put Yourself in the Interviewer’s Shoes

First, let's talk about “telephobia.” In case you weren’t previously aware, the fear you feel about talking on the phone is so universal that it even has a name. Statistics show that this fear afflicts more than 50% of the population! 1 I point this out because the first step in putting myself at ease on a phone call is to consider that person on the other end of the line is probably dealing with the same stress as me. Not only does this make the other person feel more relatable, it jumpstarts my own desire to put them at ease. It’s a major confidence booster for me. In a way, it’s like picturing everyone in their underwear, but instead of trying to convince myself of something that isn’t realistic, I’m just considering a fact of the matter.


Do Your Research

Now, what are you actually scared of? My fear on the phone derives mostly from the worry that I won’t have enough information to offer.

What if they ask me something I don’t know the answer to?

The solution is actually so simple. If you are worried about not having enough information, then do your research. Learn as much as you possibly can about whatever company you are interviewing for. Learn the mission statement, learn who founded the company, learn the job description of your intended position like the back of your hand, learn the sh\*t that is entirely irrelevant to the position you’re applying for, learn everything. If you know the material, you can’t be blindsided. If you can’t find the answer to something you’re looking for, make a note of it. That way when the interviewer asks ( & they ALWAYS ask) if you have any questions, you’ll be ready. You might even have some feedback to offer about how to improve on the information they have readily available. You will be memorable. You will be the interviewee that made them think.


Take Advantage of the Situation

The thought of freezing on the phone also makes me nervous.

What if my brain just goes blank?

This has always been a struggle for me. I could study for weeks, ace every practice test, and then sit down for an exam and panic. The pressure to do well gets in the way of actually doing well, and unfortunately for me, interviews are no exception. Interviews via the phone are actually my saving grace in this aspect. The ability to have notes in front of me while I answer questions has alleviated so much of my stress in interviews. I go so far as to print out the job description & annotate it with attributes and achievements that I can match to the different aspects of the job. Whether you do that, write out a full script, or just make a few notes, the bottom line is to prepare!


Prep Yourself for these Questions

Now as much as I could give you every question your interviewer will ask, you know I can’t. What I can share with you though are the most common questions I’ve been asked in past interviews. These are pretty universal, but if you don’t think it’s relevant, don’t let me waste your time!

  • What do you know about our company? What about our business sparked your interest? What are you still curious about?

  • Why did you choose the profession you did? What about this profession did you connect with? Why do you stay in this field?

  • In what ways do you want to grow and hone your skills? What are you doing or planning on doing to achieve this growth?

Every company has their own way of evaluating job candidates and will specialize their interview questions based on their expectations of the open position. This is another reason why doing your research, and doing it well, will help you immensely in an interview. If you are clear on the expectations of the job you’ve applied for, you most likely already have some solid answers formulated for the questions they will ask. And if those expectations aren’t clear, do more research. Still not clear? Another great question to bring up to your interviewer!