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How to Feel Calm for a Phone Interview

by Chris Miksen, studioD

Phone interviews can be double-edged swords. Since you don't have to sit across from the interviewer, body language isn't important, your appearance is less important and you can answer questions from the comfort of your own home. But a lack of body language can make gauging the conversation difficult, dressing sloppily can leave you feeling unprepared, and your home likely has all sorts of distractions. Feeling calm and confident is all about preparation and practice.

Get Rid of Distractions

Hearing one of those outrageously loud commercials blast through the TV, or family members chatting each other up, will immediately put you on edge during a phone interview. Keep yourself in a quiet room free of distractions when the interviewer calls you. Tell everyone who lives with you to be as quiet as possible and stay out of the room until you're finished. If you have pets, shuffle them into another room as well. The last thing you need to deal with when trying to talk about why you're an ideal candidate is sudden barking and meowing. If you're fielding the call on a cell phone, mute email and text notifications. If left on, the notifications may play through your speaker while you're talking to the interviewer.


What you wear can have a big impact on your mindset. Sitting around the house in pajamas is something you might do on a Saturday when nothing important is on the agenda. Your attitude reflects that. Switch to a business casual wardrobe and you'll likely feel ready to tackle the interview in a confident and professional manner.


Just as practicing an in-person interview in front of a mirror can help you prepare for a face-to-face meeting, calling up a friend and pretending she is interviewing you can help calm your nerves and boost your confidence for a phone interview. Give your friend a cheat sheet so she knows what to ask you. Pretend it's the real thing. You might know the other person very well, but for this brief moment, she's the interviewer who's the gateway to the position you want. Ask for specific feedback after your practice session ends, such as whether you were talking too loudly or quietly, sounded out of breath at points, murmured too much or didn't sound clear and confident. Forbes suggests recording your conversation so you can personally identify what you need to work on.

Sleeping and Waking Up

If you don't sleep well the night before the interview, or you're rushing around to get ready before the phone rings, nothing you do will calm your nerves. Get a good eight to 10 hours of sleep. Wake up so you have plenty of time to eat breakfast, unscramble your brain, put on your clothes and ultimately ready yourself for the interview. When waiting for the call, don't sit and stare at your phone or second-guess your approach. Running over the interview in your mind one last time is fine, but don’t obsess over it or sit there for an hour wondering if your strengths sound too weak or your weaknesses sound too strong. Those are issues you need to resolve before the day of the interview.

Resume and Notes

During a face-to-face interview, you often have to rely on your memory to recall past achievements and previous jobs. Take advantage of the fact that during a phone interview, the interviewer can't see you. Yale University recommends having your resume in front of you so you can reference your qualifications and won't feel nervous or stuck if you can't remember a certain point you wanted to highlight. Also, have a notepad and pen within reach so you can jot down information and won't feel stressed trying to remember everything.

About the Author

Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.

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