phone interview preparation

At, we help job hunters improve their phone interview skills with solid job interview advice.

You’ll not only find self-help tips you can use, but you’ll read about real people and their interview questions.

Sandra has a phone interview for a directors position and she feels she is not qualified for the job.

She really wants’ the job and strongly believes she would be a perfect fit for it, but does not feel she will be able to convince the board that she is the best fit for the job.

Sandra’s Question:

I have a phone interview tomorrow for a Directors position at a children’s learning center.

I do not have professional work experience in this area. Actually, I have no management experience at all. I do however volunteer work with children at my church. I coordinate events and write plays for the children. My professional background is in sales & marketing?

How would I handle the phone interview?

I am very interested in this position and working with the families and children. What should I say? Thank you for your help and support.

Don’s Answer:

During your phone interview, don’t worry about what you don’t have, but instead focus on what you do have. Prioritize your achievements to stress any type of managing or leading you have done, even though it was not your primary responsibility. This works great for volunteerism.

Relate things you have done at your past jobs to the needs for this job. Basically, because I did [blank] at my last job, here’s why that qualifies me to do [blank] at this job. Connect the dots for them and show them why, through examples, you are qualified for this job.

Your volunteer work could also help you. Talk about how you manage things at your church. Every little bit helps. But don’t start defending your candidacy until they start asking you why you feel you are qualified for this job.

Charlene recently had a phone interview and her interviewer caught her off guard with a question that commands a negative answer. She wants’ to know if she did the right thing?

Charlene’s Question:

I just wanted to share this one question I had today during my phone interview. I know you have some variations to this question….but this one stumped me for a second. My phone interview skills definitely need some work.

My work involves many different kinds of real-estate projects. The question was describe “ONE OF YOUR FAILED PROJECTS.”

I paused for a moment…. and then said., I do not honestly believe I have ever had a project fail. I have had issues with projects, I have had projects not turn out completely perfect, but the closest example I can think of as a failure is one project, Cintas. They are a laundry and uniform firm who cater to the airlines and various large firms where they supply uniforms, rugs, etc.

I spent three days showing a new area that they planned to move into, but they ended up in the neighboring community instead. The project ended up there because the water usage in the park would be increased if they were in the community that I served.

This was something out of my control and a deal breaker. At the time, I was working for the city, and since it landed across the street, (out of our boundaries….and tax base) it was kind of a failure. –That is when I decided I was going to look for a County job, where boundaries are not an issue.

The interview was for a county job, so that was as close to a failure example as I could think of and truth be told, it still spilled residents and tax dollars and jobs into our community, so I don’t call it a complete failure.

Don’s Answer:

Charlene, I think your answer is perfect. When they ask questions like this, and if you answer by saying “I have never had a failure,” which you may think sounds great, but to them it just means you have not worked on enough projects.

Or they could be fishing for an example like you just gave. Project don’t always work out as planned and we are often thrown a curve ball in any project and they really want to know how you completed a project that did not go as planned. I think an answer like this demonstrates a true leader and one who perseveres and is motivated, disciplined and focused.

No one should really have a project that failed because that means you quit and you never want to admit you’re a quitter in an interview.

You did a great job with your answer and gave a positive answer to a negative question — this is the kind of job interview advice I teach in my job interview guide.

I too have never had a failed project, but rarely do they go as planned.

You have just read a transcript of real phone interview questions posed by Sandra and Charlene. Sandra wanted to know how to prepare for a phone interview and Charlene wanted to know if she did the right thing during her phone interview.

Inside The Complete Interview Answer Guide, Don shows job seekers how to answer interview questions and improve their phone interview skills. The 201+ sample answers in the guide will quickly help you craft your own professional answers for ALL types of interview questions for any occupation.

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