By Vinessa Burnett, Toppel Peer Advisor

For most people, phone interviews can be a huge source of angst and awkwardness –and rightfully so. It can be hard talking to a stranger over the phone while trying to portray your best self. Somehow you have to say all the right things without using eye contact or a smile to help get your message across.

While phone interviews can certainly be difficult, there are definitely ways to prepare beforehand that can make them a little less stressful. Here are several tips that you’ll be able to use to your advantage next time you have a phone interview!

Useful Phone Interview Tips:

Relax and be yourself 
This is by far the most important tip! Before you answer the phone call take a couple of deep breaths and tell yourself, “I got this!” Once you’re on the phone, speak how you would normally speak and stay true to who you are when answering each question. Even through a phone line, if you relax and be yourself, your awesome personality will still come across!

Print out everything you need
The best part about a phone interview is that (unlike an in-person interview) you can have all the documents that you need right in front of you! Be sure to print out the following documents beforehand and have them visible so that you can refer to them throughout the interview:

• Print out your resume
• Print out the job description
• Print out any documents that you submitted as part of your application (ex: essays, cover letters, supplemental activities etc.)

Look up the company on and read what questions other people who interviewed for the position were asked. Copy these questions and type out your answer to them before the interview. When asked one of those questions, all you have to do is look on the page and your response is already there!

Take notes
Have a sheet of paper and a pen to take notes throughout the interview. Be sure to write down the interviewer(s) name(s) so that you can mention them towards the end. You never know what useful information your interviewer might have for you, such as important dates and next steps! Also, if you take notes as the interview progresses, you may be able to refer back to something that was previously stated.

Close it the right way
Remember that a phone interview is also a chance for you to get to know the company. Always ask your interviewer(s) at least two to three questions at the end of the interview. These closing questions can be related to the position, the company, or the timeline of when you can expect to hear back. Lastly, make sure the interviewer hangs up first – do not hang up or say goodbye before they do!

Next time you have a phone interview… don’t freak out! Stay calm, cool, and collected by referring to the above tips. Best of luck!