Job Search Phone Phobia

10 Ways To Overcome Job Search Phone Phobia


Job search phone phobia is very common. Here are some ideas that could turn your phone into the feather-light tool it should be and not a 500 lb weight.

Related: Phone Interviews: How To Put Your Best Voice Forward

There are many types of phone calls. The calls that give people the most trouble are the “Introductory Calls.” The purpose of the call is to make you known. The goal is to get an appointment or at least another call of longer duration. This type of call is infamously known as the “Cold Call.” If done right, with preparation and practice, you can turn it into a “Warm Call.”

10 Ways To Overcome Job Search Phone Phobia

Here are some basics to help you:

1. Write A Script

Develop a script for your call and rehearse it periodically and out loud. Make sure you keep it brief remembering the goal is an appointment or another call. If too much is exchanged during that call, there will be no reason for another.

2. Stand Up

Always stand when making a call. This will help you sound better and project confidence. Did you ever see a Choir sit when they sing?

3. Learn To Talk With A Smile

People hear your smile; and since they can’t see you, don’t have to worry about looking silly if you’ve not done it before.

Hint: Hang a small mirror opposite you at the height you are standing. I dare anyone to stare at themselves in a mirror during a phone call and not crack a smile.

4. Make A List Of Your Most Feared Questions

Script your answers and rehearse them out loud. Practice delivering each answer in 5 to 10 seconds.

5. Do An Exercise-Call

Always call a friend for exercise before calling someone who could be influential in your search. Having a friendly voice at the other end can do wonders before an important call.

6. Call The Gatekeeper

Before calling a potential contact direct, try this: call the company’s main number and ask for the name of the contact’s administrator. Call that person direct, and use his or her name.

7. Ask The Gatekeeper For Advice

Using a person’s name (the gatekeeper’s) may win you favor. Be polite and brief, and understand you may not get through during that call (and that’s okay). Realize it’s an opportunity to demonstrate your flexibility. Ask the gatekeeper to suggest what you should do.

7 1/2. Determine The Best Time To Call Back

If asked to leave a number, you can say you will be in and out for the next several days and it would probably be best for you to try to call. Ask when he or she thinks it would be best.

8. Get Referrals

Research companies, reconnect with all your past contacts, and seek referrals. Introductory calls should be calls to persons to whom you are referred. It’s easier to get through a gatekeeper if you call and mention that Mr./Ms. suggested you call.

9. Keep It Brief

Treat your personal contacts as you would influential persons: have a script and keep it brief. Brevity helps to ensure they don’t avoid your next call.

10. Avoid Voicemail Jail

If you get sent to voicemail, you can try “O” to get an operator and perhaps find another number or person. Do not leave a voicemail. If you do, you cannot call back anytime soon. You placed the ball in their court.

In a job search, we sometimes attach the “phone call” to all sorts of negative emotions, the greatest being rejection. Practicing the basic skills outlined above will lessen an instinct to avoid the phone. This is the first step in overcoming phone phobia. Also, learn from experience. As they say, if you want to learn golf, play golf. After a few calls, following your exercise call to a friend, it starts to get easier.

Related Posts

Get The Interview: 5 Tips For Leaving A Great Voicemail
How To Get Past Your Job Search Fears
Project Plan Your Job Search

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Rob Taub

Rob, a veteran career services professional with 25 years in the biz, is Principal of Job Search Corner and creator of the blog “Job Searching with Rob.”


  1. Interesting. I have issues with phone interviews, I always have a brain fog and not sure what to say. I mean how can I say a lot when I haven’t worked in a long period of time? People say to me on phones that I don’t sound happy (if I am not qualified why be happy?) I get easily confused by the questions hence is why I had past teachers tell me I needed to be checked for ADD/ADHD, but never been checked for it.

    Anyway, I feel most of these interviewing questions to be hard and feel stupid when I ask the employer to please explain the question or paraphrase it. I freeze up when I have to think for a long period of time as to how to come up with an answer for this particular question.

  2. I feel @ times even when a person does a follow up call they get ignore due to the overwhelming responses of applications & or resumes they receive. They sift thru them in such a rapid pace that they simply don’t have the time to respond to each applicant. Its a hard truth in todays workforce unfortunately.

  3. Hello Rob,
    You sound like a smart man with the right kind of experience. Although my problem has never been finding a job or making 65+ calls a day to retailers for a vender firm. My problems lie about 6-9 moths into a job when i have worked my finger to the bone and learned my job to the fullest along with the jobs of those around me. At that point i begin to fade. perfectly able to be promoted but not enough hours worked every time. Now i have had about 27 and i am 30 years old. But i have worked most of those jobs more than once and can guarantee if you talked every boss i have ever had they would all have great things to say about my attitude and work ethic, but will unanimously agree that my flaw is the fading. I begin to miss work here and there until i loose my job and begin the next one. One door closes so another can open. I just crave the learning and excitement of the challenge in the beginning of every job but nite enough patients ro hold out for that

    • Drawn out waiting period to be able to move on and move up. In any company. I am a licensed massage therapist and have done everything from factory work, janatorial , office assistant., ect .. I give time ten to every job but am unreliable once i have learn the job and have become bored waiting. Its mindless without energy ir enthusiasium . What’s worse is that i am always the only one working so intently to complete a goal. Others would rather do what they must to be paid by the hours worked instead of quality of the job done. I value minimalist spent and maximum outcome….. Though you couldn’t tell by this post i am just beside myself this ..time and am in search of wisdom and perspective. I

      • Amanda,

        I have a similar character to you in some ways.

        Have you ever thought of your hunger for learning new things as a worthy character trait in and of itself?

        Maybe the jobs you’ve tried so far just aren’t a good fit for your personality.

        Are there jobs out there that have lots of variety and require learning new things constantly?

        I’m thinking of outside sales, but there are many jobs that require someone just like you.

        I stay away from jobs that require me to do the same thing over and over again.

      • Amanda, no offense, but have you ever been diagnosed with ADHD? I am not a doctor, but what you are describing sounds like it is possible. I have a son who has ADHD and what you describe sounds a lot like what he experiences. Once an activity becomes “boring,” he is ready to move on to the next thing. We have found that if he varies his activities and doesn’t spend too much time doing one thing, he is able to complete a project/task.

        My point is, when you feel you are loosing interest in your job, talk with your boss to see if there are other jobs/projects you could work on that will help you remain interested in your job. Or maybe have two or three things going on at the same time so when you start to get bored with one project you can move to another. If your boss understands your situation, and if you are as good an employee as you say, your boss will be happy to find other thinks for you to do to keep you as an employee.

        If you have never been examined for ADD or ADHD, I encourage you to talk with your doctor about it. Not only is there non-addictive medication available for treatment, there are techniques you can learn (like what I mentioned above) that will help you cope.

        Good luck.

  4. I have been signed to Linkedin for about a year now. I have applied for positions via the source with no reply. I know this is a great source for those looking for jobs but when you do not get a feed back, it makes you wonder if anyone is paying attention at all.

  5. I agree with Cecilia; I think it’s asking a bit much to have another call. Candidates will be lucky if they get an “informational interview.” I’d go with that and be happy!

  6. I don’t agree with #10. I usually say in my cover letter that I will call in a few days to follow up on my application. If I call and get someone’s voice mail, I want to leave a message so they know I called. If I don’t leave a message and we never connect, they won’t know I called and will think I am not reliable and am not interested in the position.

    If I leave a message and don’t get a return call, I will try again about a week later. The key is to not be a pest. Otherwise you run the risk of annoying the hiring manager and being put in the rejected pile.

  7. Hi Rob,

    Regarding #7, do you have any tips for that conversation? It sounds like it would be a very fine line between helpful and hurtful to do that.

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