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What to Expect and How to Succeed in Your Phone Interview

Phone Interviews: What to Expect and How to Succeed
Luis Molinero Martnez/

Phone interviews are an integral part of any interview process after an application and resume have been submitted to a medical institution or clinic. The phone interview is generally the first step after a thorough review of any application materials and resume/CV. It is used as a screening tool to decide if further interviews will be offered.

Many places may perform more than one phone interview. Depending on the institution or clinic, either a member of the Human Resources staff, provider recruiter, practice administrator, or provider may contact you for a phone interview. For larger institutions, it is more customary for a member of the HR department to conduct the initial phone interview; however, this differs from place to place. As different staff members may contact you, the conversation and questions from your phone interview will likely vary. It is typical that the phone interview includes an overview of the position, including working hours, patient load, and onboarding. Some common questions that may come up include:

  • Your current position and day-to-day clinical activities
  • Prior experiences and brief synopsis of day-to-day work
  • Past and current EMR/EHR usage and proficiency
  • Any weaknesses and how you may be able to improve upon them
  • Your strengths and how these will benefit the new position
  • Concerns you have about the new position
  • Special skills or certifications


Be prepared with questions to ask your interviewer. Remember, just as they are trying to learn about you and your fit, you are trying to determine if the fit is good for you as well. As the questions and conversation may vary depending if a clinical staff member or member of HR staff performs the phone interview, you may have varying questions about the position. Questions may include information on day-to-day activities, flow, job expectations, patient encounters, hours of expected work, administrative tasks, clinic or institutional staffing, ancillary service availability, and EMR/EHR. Many phone interviews do not include information such as pay and benefits packages; rather these are reserved for discussion at on site interviews. If the benefits package is something you are interested in and are an important part of your decision, then you should ask during the phone interview.

A follow up email is customary after the phone interview is complete that may summarize, in more detail, the job. It will possibly include information such as salary, onboarding, and benefits package. This also opens up communication for any additional questions that come up after the phone interview is complete or clarification on any items. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions. Interviewing and looking for your first job or looking to change jobs is a huge decision, one that is best to make with all the right information.

The phone interview dictates if a subsequent phone interview or on-site interview will be offered. Depending on the interviewer, this may occur at the end of the phone interview, or it may be necessary that the interviewer pass the information that is gathered to the appropriate individuals to make a decision. An offer for an on-site interview is usually sent via email to discuss options for dates that would be appropriate for both parties. If preparing for an on-site interview requires long distance travel, such as planning of flights and booking a hotel, this may push your on-site interview date farther out from the phone interview. If this is a local or short distance travel, the on-site interview is likely to be scheduled at a much earlier date.


Here are some other tips that can be helpful to remember when preparing and planning a phone interview:

  • Allow plenty of time and a quiet place to have your phone interview. Most phone interviews will last for around 30 minutes, but create enough time to have at least an hour, as depending on questions and explanations, this amount of time may be necessary.
  • Keep an open line of communication, responding to emails as promptly as possible, which shows interest and punctuality.
  • Try to keep notes during your interview for things that would be an integral part of your decision making or information that was not covered in the job ad. This is especially important if you have more than one phone interview or are considering several different positions, as this keeps the information organized between the different positions.
  • Be personable with the individual to whom you are speaking and be as honest as possible with answers. It may be difficult to answer certain questions, and if you are unsure of how to answer a question, it is okay to let the interviewer know that you are unsure. Interviewers are likely to move on to another topic or question without concern.


Phone interviews are the first part of the interview process and can be the easiest. Most people find it easier to speak on the phone before meeting in person. Relax and enjoy the process. You never know what phone interview will lead to your first or next position!

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About Angela Jackson, PA

Angela Jackson attended the University of Southern California, where she obtained her Masters of Physician Assistant Practice degree. She has been in clinical practice over the last 5 years, with her first 2 years of experience with a private practice neurosurgery clinic in Wyoming and for the last 3 years in a public hospital walk-in clinic in Washington, where she is still in current practice. In addition to patient care, she enjoys being able to use her expertise and experiences writing freelance blogs and patient education materials.