Telephone Interview Tips

  • Posted by: Alexander Daniels
  • Date: 12 July 2017


Many recruiters use telephone interviews as the 1st stage of a job interview process. A telephone interview is an effective way for a firm to screen many candidates quickly and with the lowest overall expenditure of any type of interview. This is why companies use this style of interview so frequently. This way, hiring managers get a feel for skills and company fit. If the applicant doesn’t tick the right boxes, they don’t meet with the employer.

Rehearse your answers to typical interview questions ahead of your time
Become familiar with typical interview questions and plan answers beforehand. The last thing you want to do is to stumble over words, creating a bad impression. Create a ‘cheat sheet’ for reference during the interview, but try not to sound like you’re reading answers from it. If you have advanced notice of the interview, be sure to review the job description and research the company.

Practice Interviewing
Talking on the phone isn’t as easy as it seems. As with an in-person interview, practice can be helpful. Not only will this help you rehearse answers to interview questions, but it will also help you realize if you have a lot of verbal ticks.
Have a friend/family member conduct a mock interview and record it so that you can see how you sound over the phone. Candidates who don’t think they will have any trouble with this style of assessment are often the ones that have difficulties.

Have your CV to hand
In all probability, the recruiter will have a copy of your CV too, so you may not be asked about it in detail. However, they may open the interview by asking questions about your experience.

Smile
Although your interviewer can’t see you, always try and remain smiling throughout the conversation. If you force yourself to smile, you physically become more confident, friendly and assertive. If you do this, you shall come across much better when speaking.

Listen
Undoubtedly the most important element to consider. Take on board all elements of their questions and make a note of anything that seems of particular interest, just in case they refer back to this later on. Even if they don’t, you can use it as a cheat sheet when answering the ‘any other questions’ invitations at the end.

Time Limits
In most telephone interviews, time is strictly limited; you may even feel as though you are being rushed when answering questions. Sometimes time is so strictly limited that interviewers will stop candidates talking even though they have not completed finishing answering a question. This is usually because the candidate has already answered the question well enough and the interviewer has decided that they don’t need further information, to save time they can move onto the next question.

Before the phone call
Before the call, confirm all the details including the date, time and who you will be speaking with. Use a quiet, comfortable and private space with no distractions so that you can focus on the interview.

Standing up
Standing, rather than sitting can be a good way to keep your confidence and enthusiasm levels high. Professional salesmen use this trick to keep them focused and alert when making high-pressure sales calls. Even try using a headset, doing so helps you concentrate on talking and thinking rather than holding your phone.

Dress smart
Although it may sound strange putting on interview-style clothes before your scheduled interview. This can help you focus and go into a professional mind-set. Find a quiet place to answer the phone and put yourself to work studying some material on the company before the call so that your mind is already work focused.

How do I conclude a telephone interview?
Part of the reason why firms conduct a telephone interview is to find out how keen candidates are about working at their company and in the particular job role applied for. It is important to be enthusiastic throughout your telephone conversation, but make a particular effort to be forthcoming at the close.
Your interviewer may be able to tell you at the end of the conversation if they would like to see you for a face-to-face interview. If they do not, there is no harm in asking when you might hear from them regarding your next interview stage.
Once the interview is over, make sure you say thank you to the interviewer, review any notes, jot down any questions you were asked, how you responded and any follow-up questions you may have if you have an opportunity for an in-person interview.