EMS Tips Operations

10 Tips to Ace your Next Phone Interview

A Twitter connection mentioned that he was getting ready for a job interview that was going to be conducted over the phone and that he was nervous about doing his first interview. Having been on both sides of lots and lots of phone interviews here are some Everyday EMS Tips for an outstanding phone interview.

1. Look the part of a job candidate. Even though the interviewers can’t see me I want to dress for success. Everything – shower, shave, and interview clothes. This is part of my mental attitude.

2. Turn off distractions. Unless the interview requires you to access information on computer during the interview don’t sit at your computer. If you must have the computer on turn off your email, close Facebook, close Twitter, and minimize all open files and browser windows.

3. Give fair warning. Tell your family/roommates that you have a phone interview and that you need silence at least 10 minutes before the interview starts until at least ten minutes after the scheduled conclusion. Send your spouse and kids to the park and to get ice cream.

4. Listen to the questions. When being interviewed over the phone you will realize that the interviewers usually do most of the talking (this is oddly true in face-to-face of interviews as well). When they eventually get to a question make sure you write it down as they ask the question. Then as you reply look back at the question to make sure you are actually answering the question you were asked.

5. Silence is OK. Even though it seems awkward a few seconds to think about the question is acceptable. I will say something like, “That is an excellent question. Give me a moment to think about it.” Then give yourself three to five seconds to compose an answer in your head and then answer the question.

6. Answer only the question. In a face-to-face interview you can pick up body language clues that the interviewer is ready for you to be done talking. If you are rambling on and on over the phone you can’t see those clues. Remember the question and answer it.

7. Turn off the noisemakers. Make sure you silence pagers, phones, appliances, and all other things that might beep or ring during the interview.

8. Posture is reflected in your voice. Sit in an office chair with your feet on the floor. Sit up straight. Lean forward as you answer each question.

9. Actually ask a question. When they ask “Do you have any questions?” you need to actually ask a question. This is a good time for something general like “Can you tell me a bit more about the training process?” or “How would you describe your organization’s commitment to safety?”

10. Immediately write and send a hand-written note. As soon as you hang up the phone write a note of thanks. Just a few sentences is OK and mail it immediately. Hand written notes are exceedingly rare.

Your turn: What are your tips for an excellent phone interviews? What other questions do you have about the interview process?

Another post on job interviews: Job Interview Preparation Tips for EMS Professionals

Also check out this EMS Boot Camp session on Career Development I did with Jamie Davis (the PodMedic) and Jim Hoffman (the EMS Professional).

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.