How to Pass an Unemployment Phone Interview

By Legal Editor ; Updated June 09, 2017
Man using smartphone

How to Pass an Unemployment Phone Interview. Unemployment phone interviews are becoming more and more common. While in the past people often walked into an unemployment office to pass an interview, long waiting lines, reduced hours and other problems have made phone interviews the preferred method in many states. If you are required to pass one in order to receive unemployment benefits, there are a few basic things you need to keep in mind.

Call your state's unemployment office to set up a phone interview. This may take up to three weeks from the time you call, so be prepared to wait. Even if you file the basic information through your state's website, you may still be asked to pass an unemployment phone interview, so be ready for it.

Be prepared to answer some tough questions. The job of the person on the phone is to find out whether you are actually willing to work again and ready to look for employment. Don't feel offended if the phone interview gets personal and you are asked some questions that may not seem related. Just be honest about your intentions and you should be okay.

Have all necessary information ready to get through the application process quickly. You will need to provide your social security number, your address and phone number (must be in the state where you are applying for unemployment), the amount of your last salary and all data related to your employer (where you worked, what you did, who your boss was and how to get in touch with him).

Have in hand all information about every job you had over the past 18 months, even if they were only temporary or provided extra income. This will help the interviewer decide if you pass the basic requirements for unemployment. It will also show the interviewer that you are willing and able to work and that your present situation is truly temporary.

Be honest. The unemployment office will check on anything you say, so don't hurt your chances of getting an unemployment check by lying to the interviewer. Don't inflate your salary, extend your work periods or lie about the reason for losing your job.


Don't forget that the unemployment office will call you and not the other way around. You will need to provide a residential phone number and a specific time for the call and then make sure you are home at that time.