Tips to help you nail your next a telephone interview

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 competition and ace the interview.

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Before the interview

Do your research

Just like any other interview, you should research the company thoroughly before you begin. Find out as much as you can about it – its mission and values, products or services, structure, employees and the wider industry it operates in.

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 think of some questions that you want to ask the hiring manager. A telephone interview is the perfect opportunity to find out a bit more about the company, the role and its opportunities for growth.

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. If you sound flustered or disorganised it won’t make a great impression.

Have relevant information to hand

Make sure you’ve got a copy of your CV to hand, as well as 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 so you can take notes if you need to.

During the interview

Stand up and smile

This may sound like an odd one, but smiling while you speak is a great way to inject friendliness and enthusiasm into your voice – so slap a big grin on your face 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

This 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 make a note of any important points in case the interviewer refers back 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 – 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 few moments 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 of the visual cues you would usually rely on in a face-to-face interview, so it’s even more important to make sure you hear and understand everything the interviewer says.

If you miss something or haven’t fully understood the question, ask for clarification. Asking the interviewer to clarify and then giving an appropriate answer is much better than winging it or becoming flustered because you haven’t quite heard.

After the interview

Thank the interviewer

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

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