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How To Ace A Telephone Interview

Published: Friday 1st May 2015

young female having an interview over the phone

Telephone interviews can be a way for recruiters and potential employers to assess whether or not you are a serious candidate before committing to an in-person interview, or can be a great help when location is an issue. 

Telephone interviews can be a quicker and more convenient experience for both parties, however, they can be more challenging because there is no visual communication between you and the interviewer. It’s important that you adopt a strong telephone manner for your interview, speaking clearly and confidently and doing everything you can to come across as personable and enthusiastic. 

Telephone interviews take place in the comfort of your own home and you don’t have to worry about delivering a firm handshake or what you’ll be wearing. However, that doesn’t mean you should take it any less seriously than a face-to-face interview.

Top 7 Telephone Interview Tips:


Do Your Research:

As with face-to-face interviews, it’s important to research the employer you are interviewing with. You should be aware of what the company does, their brand values and if possible, any recent projects they have completed that would be relevant to your role. The company website is a good place to find out more about this, as well as mentions in the press. 

Be Prepared:

With any interview – always come prepared. Review the original job description, your CV and the cover letter you sent, to ensure you know what the job entails and remember the skills and qualities you have that would be relevant. Just as it is worth having a “practice run” for a face-to-face interview, another good tip is to practice a phone interview with a friend. This will be especially helpful if talking on the phone makes you nervous. It will also help you pre-empt how you might want to handle your response to typical questions that might arise. 

Prepare Your Interview Space:

Know well in advance what time the telephone interview is taking place and make sure you are comfortable and sitting at a place where you can easily take notes and see copies of your CV and cover letter, should you need to refer to them. Make sure you have a glass of water to hand as well, in case you get a dry throat from talking. It might sound amusing but make sure you are sitting up straight, as slouching over or lying down will affect your breathing and ability to speak clearly. 

Show Off Your Telephone Manner:

When you receive the call, be sure to answer the phone in a polite, professional manner. This is especially important if you are interviewing for a role which will involve a lot of communication via telephone such as a receptionist or customer service role. When you are answering a question it is a good idea to take a moment to think and consider the question, rather than rush into your answer. Remember not to talk too quickly but also try to be succinct and straight to the point with your answer.

Take Notes:

If the interviewer talks about something you are unsure of, or something you are interested to learn more about, make a note. Almost every job interview, conducted via the telephone or in person, ends with the interviewer asking about whether or not you have any questions to ask them. Not being able to ask a relevant question may show a lack of enthusiasm and could cost you going through to the next round. If you need to, you can refer to these notes to find a question to ask. If not these notes will help you prepare for the next round, should you be invited for a face-to-face interview. 

Follow Up After The Interview:

After your telephone interview it is a good idea to email the person who interviewed you to thank them. You can ask for feedback or any questions you couldn’t think of at the time. This will show them that are serious and enthusiastic about working for the company.  

For more great recruitment hints and tips visit the rest of the Zoek Blog or follow Zoek on Twitter @ZoekAppUK.

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