Psychology Job Phone Interview Tips

It’s hard to pinpoint what makes a psychology job phone interview such a nerve racking experience.

For some candidates, it’s the immense difficulty in reading people that can occur over the phone. Others dislike the potential for awkward silences, extended pauses, and the oh-so-unpleasant helpless information search that can happen after a tough, targeted question.

But for all the fears and anxiety, phone interviews represent an important step in the job application process that isn’t that difficult to master. You don’t need the courage of a former stock broker to do well on the phone, just a sense of strategy and a reasonable deal of planning. These four tips can help you pass your next phone interview with flying colors, and move forward in the hiring process.


Psyche yourself up before the call.

The days of unplanned interview calls are long over, and the vast majority of employers will give you a fair amount of warning before placing their call. Fifteen minutes before your scheduled call, start going over your achievements to yourself in order to cement them in your memory. Listen to music that fires you up, and even give yourself a pep talk to ensure that you’re enthusiastic.


Project body language, even though it’s non-visual.

Here’s the thing about body language: employers can read it even when it’s not visible. Instead of slouching in a hammock during your interview, sit at your desk and try to simulate a professional environment. Relaxed positioning is reflected in your voice and phone manner, making it easy for an employer to tell whether you’re completely invested in the interview or not.

Careers expert Lindsay Olson recommends smiling during a phone interview to project confidence and happiness. It’s certainly worthwhile advice for those prone to dull phone calls, as even a small smile has the potential to drastically change your demeanor.


Have important answers, information, and credentials ready in advance.

Nothing ruins a phone interview like an awkward, unplanned silence. Having a rough answer plan prepared in advance can save you the oh-so-common pause after tough questions. There’s no need to prepare entire answers before your interview, but a rough guide of how you’re going to highlight and explain your skills during an interview is recommended. Keep qualifications on hand too.


Gather information about the company or organization before the call.

Company culture goes a long way, particularly in the hiring process. While the right qualifications can help you secure a phone interview, it’s an understanding of the way the company operates that will help you move through the hiring process. Before your scheduled interview, learn some basic facts about the company’s hiring culture, corporate values, and recent history.

Doing so separates you from applicants that view the interview as one of many, and can change the way hiring managers look at your application.

An understanding of the company’s values and future plans also allows you to phrase your answers in a form that’s more relevant and useful to managers and other influential staff members.