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How To Have Successful Telephone Interviews

Published: Wednesday 18th March 2015

Sometimes, telephone interviews are unavoidable, if you’re applying for a job abroad or at the other end of the country, telephone interviews can be one of the only ways for a prospective employer to talk with you. From the outside, a telephone interview sounds like the easiest interview in the world doesn’t it? You don’t have to put your best suit on or even leave the comfort of your own home! But sometimes, telephone interviews can actually be more difficult than face-to-face ones. Here at Zoek, we list some of the pitfalls to avoid…

female gaining feedback over the phone, job seeker concept

Easy as 1, 2, 3

Whilst it’s not a face-to-face interview, some of the basics of preparing for an interview should not be overlooked. You should still make sure you do your research on the company, the job role and the interviewer. You should also make notes of any questions that you want to ask the employer. Just because you don’t have to plan your outfit or your travel plans, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare at all.


For many of us, being at home can offer up many distractions. Whether that is putting a wash on, grabbing a snack or catching up on that programme you missed; we can often find ourselves being preoccupied by the little things we need or want to do. However, if you’re having a telephone interview, not remaining focused can seriously have a detrimental effect on the success of your interview. If the TV is on in the background or you’re subtly trying to eat that last mouthful, your interviewer is likely to hear and remember you for all the wrong reasons. Hearing you crunching through a packet of crisps is not the first impression you want to give the interviewer!


If you are distracted, you are likely not to be listening as well as you should be. Listening skills are considered one of the most important attributes by employers and as such, you should be demonstrating your listening skills as well as your ability to do the job. Try and have a pen and paper next to you and jot down anything that seems important throughout the interview in case they mention it again later.

 Phone, pen and board written Job interview, job search concept

Butting In

One of the most difficult things about telephone interviews is the inability to read your interviewer and to see if they’ve stopped talking or are just taking a moment before continuing. As a general rule, leave a bit of gap before you begin answering, not only will it stop you interrupting the interviewer, it will also give you a moment to think of a great answer.

Sit Up Straight

Whilst it might sound ridiculous, slouching on the sofa can have an effect on how your voice sounds. Instead of sounding bored and tired, sit up straight and smile; sitting up straight will make you sound more confident and according to research, people can actually hear if someone is smiling at the other end of the phone.

Dress For Success

Even though you’re not meeting your interviewer face-to-face, it is still important to consider what you’re wearing to get you in the right frame of mind and have a successful telephone interview. Sitting in your favourite pyjamas and novelty slippers might win on the comfort front however, may make you lose on the job front. If you want to sound professional, knowledgeable and showcase your capabilities, it’s easier to do if you feel professional.

For more top tips on job hunting you can follow Zoek on Twitter and LinkedIn and visit Zoek to let the top jobs in your area find you.


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