From Your Employment Attorney

How to Succeed at Your EDD Unemployment Insurance Phone Interview.

When you are scheduled for a telephone interview with the EDD, here are some tips to remember:


• Make some notes beforehand of what you want to say. Make a list of key words that help explain your case, and say them during the interview. Check them off your list as you use them.

• Stick to the point. Don’t ramble on. The interviewer is on a tight schedule.

• Be respectful. Don’t interrupt. Don’t talk down to the interviewer.

• Stay calm. Don’t ever get angry.

• If the interviewer asks if there is anything you would like to add, and there is something new to say because it wasn’t asked, then say it. Otherwise, don’t repeat what you have already said just for the sake of emphasis. The interviewer heard you the first time.

• Be polite. Tell the interviewer “thank you for calling me.”

• Read the back of the notice with the list of questions that might be asked during the interview. This is an excellent way to find out what the issues are in your case and be prepared to respond to them.

• Realize that the interviewer is just doing his or her job, and that it can be a stressful one at that. If there is any way you can make their job easier during the interview, they will look more favorably on you.


As you know, the “Notification of Unemployment Insurance Benefits Eligibility Interview” that you received in the mail gives you a two hour window of time in which you will be called. Be completely available during that time frame. If possible, be in a quiet space where you will not be interrupted. This may mean making arrangements for childcare. Make sure your cell phone battery is charged. Put your telephone ringer on a volume that you will hear. Have your notes ready and in front of you.


Every person’s case is a little different, so it is impossible to list here all the questions the EDD might specifically ask you about your individual case. As mentioned above, the back of the interview notice has a list of questions that might be asked by the interviewer. If you have an idea what the issue is, you can research it by looking in my Practice Guide for Unemployment Insurance Benefits in California. It’s on our website here. (The Practice Guide is just getting started, but I will be adding to it continuously.) If you would like to talk to someone about your specific case, please feel free to call our office at (650) 320-1616 or email us through this website. We can provide one-half hour of coaching assistance for your EDD interview at very reasonable rates, usually around $69.


The interviewer is taking notes of his or her conversation with you. If your case is appealed to an administrative law judge, those notes will be in the file for the judge to read. At the appeal hearing you will be given an opportunity to tell the judge about your case. You don’t want your testimony before the judge at the hearing to be different from what you said previously to the EDD during your phone interview.


Unfortunately, I have heard frustration expressed from more than one client that the EDD interviewer did not listen to what they said, or did not seem to understand what they were saying, particularly where the issue was a little unusual or complex. If that happens to you, you may want to follow up the interview with an email to the EDD. (On the EDD website you will find a link to email them at In the email, add any information you were not able to provide during the interview and say why you were not able to add it. Or provide a clearer explanation of your situation if you felt the interviewer did not understand your issue.

At the end of the interview, ask the interviewer what the next step is, and if there is any further information you need to provide to them. If you are asked to provide additional information, do so as soon as possible, and follow up to confirm that the EDD received it. Always keep a copy of what you send to them.


If for some reason you did not receive a call from the EDD during the time that was designated on your Notification, document that fact in an email to the EDD. Tell them you were available for the call during the entire time, but that no one from the EDD ever called you.


Finally, take a proactive approach to your interview. It is your best chance to convince the EDD to award you benefits and perhaps avoid the delay involved in a lengthy appeal process.

Good luck on your next interview with the EDD!

TIP: You’ll do better in your interview when your mind is clear and your purpose is focused.

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