Ah, the quick-death elimination round of the phone interview. It's your chance to get your foot in the door with that company you really want to work for. But no pressure [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1QkAm1sj4o?rel=0&hd=1&w=425&h=349] So, how do you ace a phone interview? It's really all about being prepared, and taking it as seriously as a face-to-face. Start by researching the firm, and having a list of intelligent questions ready for the "do you have any questions for us" phase. Then find the right place. This one seems obvious, but managers tell of interviews where the candidates were doing everything from driving to what sounded like visiting the zoo. So find a nice quiet, private place for the call. If you have to do the interview while still at your current employer, consider the sanctity of your car. Don't do anything else while you're on the call. Ever spaced off while reading e-mail during a conference call? The same thing can happen during a phone interview. Focus, focus, focus. In a phone interview, you can have all of your material fanned out all around you. Resume, questions, canned answers. So take advantage of this, and keep all of your documents handy. Next: practice. Doing a faux interview with a friend is a great way to prepare. The more comfortable you can be ahead of time, the more polished and natural you'll sound during the real thing. Finally, don't worry about brief silences: You ever notice how politicians pause before answering a question? That's because they're mentally constructing the best response. Do the same thing. Don't worry about a pause here or there, just be sure to follow it with a thoughtful response.