Tips for the Telephone Interview

Preliminary interviews by telephone are becoming increasingly popular.  This is a very low cost method of approaching candidates at the initial stage of recruitment but extremely important.  If you want to get to the next stage of the interview then you have got to approach this first step with full preparation and professionalism.

Points to Consider

Why not ask at the beginning of the conversation the structure of the interview – then you will know what is coming next.  (If it is a long interview keep a glass of water nearby to prevent your voice from becoming dry.)

  • Ask if the interviewer can hear you clearly.
  • Have your cv in front of you, highlighting your qualifications and personal attributes.
  • Do some research on the company and have a list of questions to hand.
  • If you smile whilst you are on the phone, you will be more relaxed, bear in mind that your vocal cords change when you smile.  It is your voice which will fundamentally create an impression, consider your tone, pace and diction.
  • Think about using a headset – this will enable you to have both hands free to write effectively and produce answers quickly.
  • Avoid noise, no background music or television, ensure your surrounding will not disturb or hinder your concentration.
  • Listen carefully and if you do not understand a question ask for clarification, it is better to request this than give a wrong or inadequate response.
  • Do not allow yourself to become flustered, if perhaps a question may seem irrelevant to you, do not display any irritation in your voice, the interviewer will be skilled and can quickly pick-up on it.
  • Never interrupt the interviewer and attempt more than a straight forward yes or no answer to a question.
  • A candidate must come across confident and provide intelligent answers to questions. Try and avoid long pauses of silence and repeating yourself.

The downside to a telephone interview is that you cannot judge a reaction as you can in person, therefore you could ask and say “is that all you need to know, is this sufficient etc.,”  as you cannot read the body language of the interviewer, it is imperative to sound enthusiastic.

A telephone interview could make or break your chance of a job, it should never be considered lightly, as you could be speaking to your future employer.

At the close of the interview remember to thank the interviewer and state that you can provide more information if requested.

Take notes of what you said and perhaps follow this up with a letter confirming the interview took place, as this will also demonstrate your enthusiasm and you could be the only one to do this!