how to prepare for a phone interview?


This is my first time having a phone interview for an internship position…

I’d like to know what type of questions I should expect…

also, they said the internship would be for 2 months…but would it be ok if i ask about the possibility to extend it? or is that a big no no

lastly, could you tell me if there are any other things i need to keep in mind?


My first couple interviews for my job were over the phone because I was in a different state. First with a HR recruiter, then my boss.

First off I made sure I was in a quiet place where I would not have any distractions.
I prepared a list of questions I had. I think it’s fine to ask about after the internship. “Are there any possibilities to continue with this company upon completion?” I think companies really want their interns to work out because its like a long trial period w/ training. Just asking lets them know you are thinking long term which is good I think.
If you sent them a portfolio or website, make sure its in front of you too for reference. You don’t want them to ask something about your work and not know what they are talking about.
Try to relax. This can be easier said than done, but just take a deep breath. If you think of it like you’re interviewing them as much as they are to you, it makes it easier.
Pen + Paper. This is an easy one, and easy to forget. Make sure you can write down notes.

Good luck

It goes without saying, but talk calmly, make sure you don’t speak too quickly, and annunciate. Be honest and respectful, answer questions as directly as possible. There are few wrong answers, the conversation is an effort to get to know you, so be sure to let them know a bit about what excites you, what you are passionate about.

Know the company well too… make sure you research them, so you know the type of projects they work on and their current stuff.

I am hearing a lot of, “relax, be yourself, etc.” I remember struggling with this.

A few things that helped me.

  1. Be honest. When asked a question you about your work, be honest. You can never answer these questions wrong because you know what you did and how you got to the solution. Simply explain this process. As soon as I started to try to make stuff up about my process I found myself in trouble. I once remember being asked about how I arrived at a form. Rather than faking it with some user testing type answer, I replied, “I just used my intuition. As I was sketching it just felt right.” I think this reply showed the potential employer I was confident in my abilities as a designer and implied I have seen quite a bit of good and bad design examples and have an ability to curate what does and does not work.

  2. Be self aware. If you haven’t done so already, think about past projects and what you have learned from them/how they have helped change your process for the better/how they have influenced the type of work you find interesting. In applying for an internship, I believe employers are looking for someone who is constantly learning from their past experiences. Your self awareness about or around a project can be even more important than the project itself.

  3. Feel confident. I’ve noticed showering and putting on some nice jeans and a sweater, etc really helps during phone interviews. If I’ve just rolled out of bed and am still rockin sweat pants I am much less mentally prepared. Dress as if you are interviewing at the office.


Fix up look sharp! I like it! I have noticed this helps me, but hadn’t really thought about it explicitly.

I have also found making a list of questions (as mrtwills suggested) to be very helpful. It should be a conversation (you are interviewing them to see if it is a place you want to work), the questions you ask them can be as informative as your answers to their questions. One question I always like to ask is something to the effect of “what initially drew YOU to companyX and what has kept YOU here?”

Dressing up makes you subconsciously act more professionally. Taking notes in face-to-face interviews is not so good, but go bananas with phone interviews. Come up with 5-10 questions about the position, the company, the interviewer, etc. Have their website, as well as yours pulled up. Other than that, the questions they ask you (and you ask them) should be no different from a regular interview. It’s just a lot more awkward when you have to think about your responses over the phone (they think you hung up or something).

Yup David gave some great advice there. Absolutley no point in lying or making stuff up, it will be spotted by a mile.

I think it’s pretty much all be covered apart from, have your work infront of you so that you can go along with you work with them and know exactly what the person is looking at when they ask you a question.

And as Targnerine said, have all your notes questions prepared as well as anything up on screen do with their company.

good luck!