Phone Interviews Faux Pas

Phone interviews are usually conducted as the first round of the interview process. Sometimes the conversation will be with members of the HR team or from our experiences, it is with usually with members of the team that you are applying to work with.

The most important thing to remember about a phone screen is that you have only your voice and your words to make an impression. While body language is usually what makes up the majority of a first impression, this will not come into play over the phone so there should be extra focus on what you say and how you say it!


  • Take the call in a quiet room with privacy.
  • Check that your phone is working well (if you are using headphones with a speaker, test it out with a friend).
  • Look up your interviewer on LinkedIn ahead of the call (they probably did the same for you!).
    • This will help you envision the person you are speaking with and also find common interests or questions you want to ask.
  • Print your resume and job description and highlight where your experience overlaps with the skills/traits they are looking for. These are the connections you want to highlight during the call.
  • Research basic facts about the firm. We both work in asset management and so many interviewees forget to simply look up asset under management (AUM).
    • CEO, head of the division, stock price, most recent news articles, earnings call highlights, etc.
  • Be energetic, upbeat and enthusiastic (We've been told it helps to smile as you speak). It always helps to show a bit of personality. You have to double down on this one as it makes up for lack of body language.
  • Make it into a conversation, not an interrogation. Don't wait for Q&A until the end - ask questions appropriately throughout the interview.
  • Follow up with a thank you email within 24 hours.


  • Be late to the call.
  • Ramble on! Keep the responses short and sweet, especially in response to the "Tell Me About Yourself" question. You want to lure them in with interesting facts, not tell them your whole life story.
  • Mumble or speak too quietly.
  • Cut off your interviewer.
  • Fidget with the mute button.
  • Be distracted by anything or anyone else in the room.
  • Go over the allotted time for the call. You want to be respectful of your interviewer's time.
  • Be too rehearsed or robotic on the phone.
  • Pause for too long. If you need a second to gather your thoughts, let the interviewer know so there isn’t an awkward long pause where they think the call might have dropped.

What other tips/tricks work for you? Leave us a comment!