How to Tell if a Phone Interview Went Well: 4 Signs to Know

Updated on May 27, 2018
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How to Know if You Bombed a Phone Interview?

As with normal face to face interviews, there is no real way of knowing if a phone interview went well or not (no one is a mind-reader after all!). That being said, there are some indicators and signs that your phone interview either went well or went poorly, which we will discuss below.

Keep in mind that even if everything points to a good performance, you won't necessarily get to the next round. There might have been other candidates who also gave an excellent performance and who were chosen instead of you based on their technical knowlege or experience. Your interview may not be to blame.

Of course, there is the opposite end of the spectrum too. You may feel like you have bombed the phone interview and completely failed, but to the interviewer, you may have come across really well, and you never know, you may get into the next round of interviews.

Sign 1: How Did it End?

The most promising sign of a good interview is when the interviewer asks, particularly towards the end of the conversation, whether you feel you are suited for the job. They may have established that they want you. This question is usually asked in the second interview. Especially promising is if the interviewer asks to schedule a face-to-face interview during this screening interview. If this is the case, consider yourself successful.

They might end the interview with a "well done" or "speak to you soon." Any comment that you will hear from them again should definitely be regarded as positive.

Interviewers might give you compliments on your abilities, but these phrases can of course be used automatically and insincerely. Since you are on the phone you can't see there body language, so comments and remarks as well as the tone are the only real information you have to go on.

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Sign 2: Short or Long?

A more ambiguous sign to consider is how long the interview lasted. If it was short, it's possible you may have given them right up front all the information they needed to know you were the right candidate. On the other hand, they may also have quickly discovered that you weren't the right candidate for the job.

Generally speaking a longer interview, especially when you let the interviewer speak—remember it is a two-way conversation—is a good thing. That said, whether the interview only lasted 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes or 20 minutes is less important than what you actually talked about.

Another element to think about is the flow of the conversation. Were there any uncomfortable silences? Was it a nice, free-flowing, back and forth conversation? The latter is obviously preferable.

Sign 3: How Did the Interviewer Come Across?

Throughout the interview, did the interviewer seem engaged with what you had to say? If they were, they would follow up on your answers with more questions. If not, they were probably keeping to a script and weren't actually listening too attentively. If this was the case, consider whether your answers were too long, or your attitude lacking in genuine enthusiasm and interest.

If an interviewer asks you for examples of when or how you have performed specific types of work, that is a good sign. Moreover, if they ask you for any follow-up materials, for example a hard copy of your reference list or CV, this is another indicator of interest.

You can also pick up on the pitch and speed of their voice. Granted, they are professionals, so they are paid to seem interested in you whilst you're being interviewed, but you can generally get a sense as to whether they are genuinely "into you." A quick question to ask yourself after the telephone interview would whether this was the kind of conversation you could have carried on in a casual setting. If yes, it's likely that some kind of real exchange of views or information took place.

Sign 4: Did You Ask Good Questions?

Before any interview you should do research about the company and specifically the position you are applying for. Then you can come up with a range of interesting questions to ask. These questions provide evidence that you are very interested in the job. This is what some professional interview teachers regard as the most important stage for a candidate. Asking good questions gives you a chance to shine and show how much you have learned about the company, the job, and so on.

Note: Some telephone interviews don't offer you the chance to ask questions, and tell you that up front. If that's the case, don't worry; just follow their directions.

Remember, you can never really tell how well a phone interview went until you hear back. You might have done well, but someone else might have just done better,

So sit tight and wait to hear a response. To be honest, if you want a new job, use that anxious energy to continue your job search. There's nothing you can do to change the interview after it's over, so focus on the next thing at hand. Don't waste time and energy fretting over something you have no control over.

I would also consider reading online guides and books to enhance your phone and face-to-face interview performance. There are hundreds of awesome guides out there that you should definitely take note of. vGenerally speaking, it is always more about your "approach interview strategy" than it is your suitability for the job (as Ramit Sethi preaches from IWTYTBR).

Think about it this way: Let's say that Person A might be more technically qualified for the job than Person B. However, Person A hasn't nailed down their telephone interview approach and answered a phone with "Hello, who is this?" rather than less-qualified person B who answered their phone with "Good Morning, Person B speaking."

Person B in the eyes (or ears) of the interviewer is going to beat out Person A within the first 20 seconds of the phone interview, regardless of the questions that came up. So it is definitely worth brushing up on and practicing some good interview techniques until they become second nature. You will get through almost every phone interview stage you apply for (you could just apply to jobs you don't even want, purely for the practice).

Remember to ask for feedback as well.

Go By Your Gut, Think Positive, Be Patient

The only real way to know if you have failed a phone interview is just to be honest with yourself (unless the interviewer has just outright told you you're "not what they are looking for." The best indication is just going by your gut, even though your gut is sometimes wrong.

You will know:

  • If the conversation was flowing back and forth nicely,
  • if you were answering questions competently (providing backup evidence when you felt it was needed)
  • there was just a good rhythm and vibe within the conversation.

Overall, think positively too. If you like, pick up on every little good thing that happened think about how you aced it as well.

Ultimately, you will only really know if the interview was good "enough" if you get to the second round of interviews or you land the job. Keep the process in mind; there can be two or even three rounds of interviews.

If you didn't, no worries. Ask for feedback, take note and start applying again. Remember, even if you had a really good phone interview, some other applicant may have had just that little more to offer.

And even if you think you have well and truly messed up the interview, there's plenty of stories where other candidates thought that and still landed the job.


© 2014 Igor Hulz

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    • profile image

      Thabo Senkhe 

      7 weeks ago

      I like it too it encourage

    • dhimanreena profile image

      Reena Dhiman 

      3 years ago

      I like the way you have covered different points. Very useful content.

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