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Mastering Telephone Interviews: Preparation Tips and Examples

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Mastering Telephone Interviews: Preparation Tips and Examples

by CVMaker

  • Job interview
  • · January 17 2024
  • · 2 min read
telephone interviews

Table of contents

Got a telephone interview coming up? For some, telephone interviews may be a welcome change from the pressure of a traditional face to face interview. For others, the lack of face to face engagement may make them more of a challenge.

Whichever camp you fall into, the telephone interview tips below are designed to help you stand out from the competitors and ace the interview.

Before the interview

Do your research

Like any other interview, you should thoroughly research the company before you begin. Find out as much as possible about its mission, values, products or services, structure, employees and the wider industry where it operates.

The company’s website is the obvious place to start, but check out its LinkedIn page and other social media profiles, as well as news articles and competitors’ websites.

Think of answers to common questions – and prepare some of your own

Again, just like with a face to face interview, it’s a good idea to prepare some answers to common interview questions in advance and be sure to prepare for competency-based questions.

You should also consider some questions you want to ask the hiring manager. A telephone interview is a perfect opportunity to learn more about the company, its role and growth opportunities.

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Find the right spot

Don’t get caught unprepared when the time comes. Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted, and make sure your phone is fully charged.

Before they call, take a moment to compose yourself. It won’t make a great impression if you sound flustered or disorganised.

Have relevant information to hand

Make sure you’ve got a copy of your CV and any other relevant information you might need – for example, a copy of your completed application form (if you filled one in).

Have a pen and paper ready to take notes if you need to.

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During the interview

Stand up and smile

This may sound odd, but smiling while you speak is a great way to inject friendliness and enthusiasm into your voice – so slap a big grin before you pick up the phone.

In the same way, standing up while you speak will help you sound energetic and confident. So even if the interviewer can’t see you, they’re likely to hear the difference in your voice.

Listen carefully

Listening is one of the most important telephone interview tips of the lot. It may sound obvious, but be sure to listen carefully throughout the conversation and note any important points in case the interviewer refers to them later.

Whatever you do, don’t interrupt the interviewer – make sure they’ve finished each question before launching into your answer.

Keep things brief

Telephone interviews are often just the initial screening process for employers, and as such, time tends to be limited.

Keep your answers brief.

Just a few sentences should be enough. Don’t worry if you haven’t given a long, complicated answer. If the interviewer wants to know more, they’ll ask.

That said, it’s perfectly acceptable to take a moment to think of an answer. Interviewers will expect this, particularly if it’s a more complex question.

Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification

In a telephone interview, you don’t have any visual cues you would usually rely on in a face-to-face interview. So it’s even more important to ensure you hear and understand everything the interviewer says.

Ask for clarification if you miss something or haven’t fully understood the question. Asking the interviewer to clarify and then giving an appropriate answer is much better than winging it or flustering because you haven’t heard.

After the interview

Thank the interviewer

Ensure you have the interviewer’s email address so that you can drop them a quick note after the interview. For instance, you can say thank you, restate your interest in the position, and highlight key points from the interview.

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Updated January 17 2024

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