7 Tips for Scholarship Telephone Interviews


The following tips for telephone scholarship interviews are contributed by a Loran Award recipient and StudentAwards member.

7. Have your application in your hand during the call

It doesn’t hurt to have it around does it?

6. Chair…water…action!

Thirty minutes is quite some time. So, you don’t want to be shifting around in your chair, distracted. Grab a glass of water. If you ever have a thirty-minute continuous conversation…you know how it feels. Water is necessary.

5(1/2). Tick-tock, on the clock, but the party don’t stop

Have a timer ready. The interview is thirty minutes long, plus or minus three mins. This way you know your progress in the interview.

5. V-v-v-v-v-oice

Since body-language is not applicable during a telephone interview, take full-advantage of delivering a clear voice. Remember to slow down if you find yourself speaking faster due to nerves. And also… make sure your phone works properly. You don’t want to worry about technical difficulties.

4. “…and then she smashed a cream pie right in my face!”

How to make thirty minutes go by faster? Tell your stories! This is the bonus of a telephone interview. Since it is longer, you’ll have the opportunity to turn a “Question/Answer” interview into a conversation. Some interviewers will deliberately make conversations, but some won’t. It doesn’t matter who’s on the other end of your phone interview. It is advantageous to you if you can add a “personal touch” to the interview experience. You’ll give your interviewer a better impression of your charming personality.

3. “I’m sorry, could you repeat the question?”

If you ever need to buy time to think about a particular question, use this line. The context validates the question.

2. Ek = Ep = Ee = Eg = Em = Eh

Energy. It comes in different forms. Your goal is to keep the energy flowing from the beginning through the end. Tell stories in a way that will benefit you. If you start out with too much energy, i.e. telling a super exciting story, then it’ll be hard to follow up. However, if you energize the conversation during the middle part or towards the end, there’s a psychological phenomenon called the “recency effect” where your performance is based on the most recent, or in this case, the latter, part of the interview.

1. The “Bullet”

This is definitely the #1 tip for a telephone interview: stand out. Before the interview, write down a few points that you didn’t have a chance to talk about in the application. Consider bringing up personal struggles, family, or any obstacles you’ve encountered. Use this opportunity to communicate your personal values, or let them know about any extracurriculars you were unable to include in the application.