How do athletes win championships?  Practice. 
How do violin students become virtuosos?  Practice.
How do you get better at interviews?  Practice.

Interviewing is not a talent. It is a skill.  Most people don’t get a chance to spend much time honing that skill, because most of us don’t interview that often.  It takes time spent doing something to get really good at it. 

The good news is that to be impressive in a job interview, you don’t have to put in the hours and hours that a Olympic athlete or an award-winning musician would.  But a little practice goes a long way. 
The better you are at interviewing, the better your chances are of getting the job.  Ideally, you become so good at it that you end up with several great job offers to choose from.  That’s a sweet spot to be in (I’ve been there myself).

So how do you practice without actually going to an interview?
(1)    You need to prepare answers for questions you’ll probably be asked.  There are several general questions that always get asked, like “Why are you interested in this job?” or “Tell me about yourself.”  But phone interviews are also where employers are looking for any knockout factors, or red flags, that you might be hiding.  If you’ve got an employment gap on your resume, expect to be asked about it.  If you’ve been a job hopper, expect to be asked about that, too.  They will want to talk about your basic skill sets to qualify you for the face-to-face interview.  Why should they be interested in talking more with you?  Having answers ready that you can deliver smoothly without stumbling over it is very helpful.  
(2)    You need time to rehearse those answers.  You can do that either by recording yourself answering the questions to see how it sounds, or you can get someone to role-play the interview with you and be your “interviewer.”  A lot of the time, you can get valuable feedback from this person about not just your answers, but about how you come across over the phone.  Is your voice strong?  Do you sound confident?  A friend can do this for you, or a career coach, or even certain job interview question and answer apps.
It takes a little extra time to practice your job interview answers, but the results will be worth it.  You will be more confident in the phone interview, which will come across to the interviewer as competence, professionalism, and enthusiasm.  All good things to help move you to the face-to-face. 

Author's Bio: 

Peggy McKee is a career coach and the CEO of Career Confidential, a website dedicated to helping job seekers get the jobs you want fast. Learn more on the Career Confidential website =>

Find more phone interview tips in our blog series, Phone Interviews: The 37 Most Essential and Extraordinary Tips That Will Get You To the Face-to-Face =>