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How Should You Handle a Phone Interview?

Martin Castilla            No comments            Dec, 10

These days, even people who consider themselves quite sociable will often be uncomfortable when faced with the idea of talking to someone on the phone. 

The “telebabad” of yesteryear has been mostly replaced with instant messaging and text and younger millennial and Gen-Z job applicants may not have even experienced talking to someone on the phone — even their smartphone— for more than 15 minutes. Even call center newbies often report a significant readjustment period before they get used to handling calls, and many more are screened out simply because they don’t have what it takes to talk to people over the phone.

No everyone wants or needs to work in a call center. But there is one area of life where long phone conversations are still expected of everyone— professional conversations. This includes dreaded phone interviews. 

Phone interviews are nothing new and they have been a standard way to conduct initial interviews since the landline era. On the other hand, many younger people newer to the workforce or those who are simply coming from a job with a different work culture may find it hard to handle phone calls. In any case, we have a few quick tips to help you get with your phone interview.

1.) Understand why there’s a phone interview 

Knowing why the company is opting to interview you over the phone can be a good way to help you tailor your approach. Larger companies with high turnover rates may hold phone interviews simply because it’s faster and allows them to screen applicants quicker. They may also be held because of geographic distance, through Skype or Facebook Messenger calls are now more common for this purpose. If they’re doing phone interviews because they want to quickly screen applicants, maybe some extra preparation is in order.

2.) Try to have the conversation in a quiet place

Coffee shops, malls, or living rooms with a loud TV blaring in the background are less than ideal. While many phone interviewers may call you up out of the blue or during an unscheduled time, you should do what you can to ensure that your surroundings aren’t too loud or distracting when you take the call.

3.) Do some research on the company

As with any job interview, you want to be prepared for it. Knowing more about the company will help you figure out what questions the interviewer is likely to ask and the answers they want to hear.

4.) Avoid Taglish or other kinds of “code-switching” 

Because the interviewer can’t see you, they only have your voice, diction, and choice of words to go from. There isn’t much you can do about your voice and diction at short notice, but you can certainly choose your words. Or specifically, the language forms you use.

As much as possible, you should try to communicate in straight English or Philippine language, as “code-switching” forms such as Taglish, Bisaglish, and the like tend to be seen as less-professional in most settings. 

This is especially important if you are being interviewed by a foreigner as they might not be able to understand many of the idioms these forms usually incorporate, even if they do know your local language. Of course, if the interviewer asks you a question in code-switched language forms, you can likewise use the same — with caution.

5.) Be sure to thank the interviewer

It goes without saying that you should thank the interviewer for the opportunity before the end of the call, but you should also send them an email as well. This will help set you apart from the possibly dozens of other applicants — most of whom we can assure you won’t bother to send anything.

6.) Listen!

 One of the things that can really ruin your chances during a phone interview is the failure to listen, which often results in a rambling monologue. Try to take things slowly and avoid dominating the conversation. Be sure to let the interviewer guide the flow.

Phone interviews are still very much part of how job interviews are done in the Philippines. While you won’t always succeed in every phone interview it still helps to know what can tilt the odds in your favor.If you’re ready to start a new career, try a Philippines job search website, like The site’s simple but powerful features make it possible to find the best listings and score job interviews — wherever you are in the Philippines.