My first phone interview

By Katharine Swan On Monday, March 10, 2008 At 1:28 PM

This morning I conducted my first-ever phone interview. I've interviewed people in person before, and I'm always a fan of emailing interview questions for easy pieces such as press releases, but I hadn't ever interviewed anyone over the phone.

I was definitely more nervous than I usually am before an interview. I had some physical symptoms of anxiety last night — primarily a racing heart — and it took me longer than usual to fall asleep. I blame this on the fact that I hate phones, except when the person on the other end is one of a select few, such as Michael or my sister. Especially when I am interviewing someone, I find the disembodied voice difficult to deal with, whereas the addition of visual cues usually serves to help me relax much more quickly.

Anyway, this particularly phone interview was at 7:45 am, which means I was up really early this morning. The interview itself lasted about 45 minutes and went pretty smoothly. Another hour and a half was spent this morning taking notes and pulling quotes from the recording. Overall, I was pretty pleased with the way it went, although I can think of plenty of things I should have said differently (or not at all!).

To celebrate my first successful phone interview, I am going to blog about tips for other writers over the next couple of days. One thing is the gadget combo that made today's interview so successful: a voice recorder and an adapter for recording phone calls (land line or cell). I'll also write a post with general tips on conducting a good interview.

Stay tuned!


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Blogger Unknown Says:  

Congrats on your first, Katherine! I've done so many I only get nervous when the tape jams. ;))

Consider this - this person is eager to tell you what you need to know. You don't have to impress them. It's the other way around. I treat my interviews like conversations. I have a list of questions, but I rely on tape so I can pay attention and ask questions that come up as I go.

Blogger Katharine Swan Says:  


Yeah, I prepare a list of questions too. I also record the conversation for the same reason you do: so that I can devote my full attention to the conversation.

In an in-person interview, I am usually able to relax and feel the flow of the conversation a bit more. For that reason, I think that a good part of why I felt so nervous and awkward for the phone interview was because I missed the visual cues. You don't realize how much you rely on them until you don't have them anymore!


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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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