How to Prepare for an Internship Phone Interview

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Internship phone interviews enable employers to screen candidates ahead and identify which students possess the skills they are seeking in an intern. Although a phone interview seems much less intimidating than a regular face-to-face interview, don’t ignore their importance by failing to prepare in advance. 

When applying for internships, it’s important to be prepared at all times in the event that an employer might call regarding your application. Make sure you leave a professional voicemail message on your phone and always answer your phone in a professional manner. It’s important to be prepared for a phone interview in much the same way you would prepare for any interview.

How to Prepare

  1. Keep your resume and a list of your accomplishments by the phone in the event that you receive an unexpected call from an employer.
  2. Have a secluded, quiet space prepared for you to go to conduct the interview.
  3. Be confident that your cell phone offers an excellent connection (no static/lost calls) or opt for using a landline for all interviews.
  4. Be prepared to discuss your skills and accomplishments as well as your strengths and weaknesses with the interviewer.
  5. Practice answering interview questions aloud prior to your interview. This practice will help you formulate your ideas and how you want to say them. It will give you an opportunity to make mistakes prior to the actual interview.
  6. Schedule a mock interview with a counselor in your Career Services Office at your college or with a friend or family member who is willing to help and able to provide constructive criticism. You may want to tape your mock interview to be able to playback and hear your voice as well as any distracting “ums,” “ands,” or other repetitive words used inappropriately.
  7. Prepare answers for those tough behavioral questions, such as: “Tell me about a time when you had to use your persuasion skills to encourage a member of your team to participate more fully in pulling together a project or presentation.” Planning ahead by identifying several scenarios of courses, internships, jobs, etc., that you can use as examples for these types of questions can be invaluable.

What to Do on the Day of the Interview

  1. Keep a glass of water handy to avoid cotton mouth.
  2. Smile during the interview, it’s contagious and will project a positive attitude and improve the quality of your voice.
  3. Don’t chew gum, eat, drink, or smoke during the interview.
  4. Have your resume and a short list of your accomplishment placed in front of you during the interview.
  5. Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
  6. Use the interviewer's name and title and only use his/her first name if asked to.
  7. Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
  8. If you don’t understand or did not hear the question, ask him/her if they could please repeat it.
  9. Provide the interviewer with brief, concise answers. Most interviewers will ask if they want you to elaborate on any specific topics or questions.
  10. Follow up your interview with a thank-you note to reiterate your interest in the internship.
  11. Evaluate how you think you did and what you might do to improve for the next interview.