You have found a role that is appealing to you and have submitted your application. Now, the company have asked for an initial call to start the process. Read on to learn how to ace this phone interview whether it’s five minutes with a HR department or a technical interview with a CTO.

How do I prepare for my phone interview?

So, you’ve been asked to have “a quick call” with someone in that company you applied to? What does this mean? Is this a real interview or what’s the craic?


1) This is the first round of interviews.

No matter who you will be speaking to, this is an interview and you could easily be screened out. While it’s not common, it’s not unknown for people to be blasé about that first conversation with the internal recruiter or HR. Don’t do it! They might not be highly knowledgeable about the technical areas of the role but they do have strong knowledge of company culture and the needs and wants of the Hiring Managers. Approach this interview with the intention of convincing whoever is on the other end that you would be a fit for the company and somebody with whom they would want to work.

2) Ask for more information before the call

Always feel free to ask for more information. Good companies and good recruitment consultants will provide it. You should be told if this is a 5-minute screening call with the Internal Recruiter or a 45-minute technical grilling from the Head of Development.

The more questions you ask the fewer surprises there should be waiting for you. Recruitment consultants will generally have more insight into the early stages of a process than the later ones so use their knowledge and insight.

3) Prepare yourself

Like any interview – make sure you know your CV, prep for the most obvious interview questions, read up on the company and the job spec. Be ready for more soft skill questions and questions based on company culture. Any preparation done at this stage will continue to stand to you as you progress through the process. A recruitment consultant should have an idea of the likely questions and some handy tips and tricks so ask them for some help if you feel you will need it.

4) Prepare your environment.

We know you’re probably ducking out of work for your phone call but do your best. Make sure your phone is charged. If you’re in a known area of dodgy reception, scope out the absolute best place to get 5 bars and plant yourself there. (Unless that happens to be the boss’s office…)

If possible take a break and head to a park, book a meeting room and at minimum get yourself to a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.

You should also get a bottle of water on hand in case dry mouth strikes. For some reason,this always happens on important phone calls.

5) Cheat-sheet

This is a phone interview, you can have crib notes. Obviously, notes won’t compensate for not knowing anything at all but you can write out a page of sneaky prompts. If you know you’ll forget the names of everyone you’ll be speaking to – write them down. If remembering what JavaScript testing frameworks are called isn’t your forte – make a wee note.  Print out the job spec and your CV and write some notes on them with your responses to likely questions.

When it comes to face-to-face, you’ll need to effortlessly chat about the question topics but some notes can be a bit of a help at the first hurdle, particularly if it’s been a while since your last interview.

Remember this is an interview; but it is one that you can easily pass through if you have taken the time to understand the interview type, prepared and removed any distractions or obstacles to your success.

Recruitment consultants are your friend here so don’t hesitate to turn to them for information and advice. At Verify, we are happy to talk to candidates prior to interviews and we try to cater our preparation to ensure the best chance of success. Unfortunately, we can’t take the call for you but we will do whatever we can to make it the best experience possible.


If you have any career or recruitment questions for Verify to answer, comment on our page on LinkedIn, tweet @VerifyCommunity or send them over to