Over The Hill and Under The Radar

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Telephone interview tips

Tips on a telephone interview

We are all familiar with a face to face interview but today it is far more likely you will initially have a telephone interview. Often a business/recruiter will want to start with a telephone interview to initially discuss the job opportunity with the potential candidate to see if you would be a good fit and to establish your interest in the role. This way they can narrow down the people they want to invite to a face to face interview.

If you are currently job hunting you may find a recruiter could call you suddenly out of the blue and ask if you have a few minutes to discuss a current role they are recruiting for or just to discuss your job search in general. It is vital that you always answer the telephone professionally and never more so if it is a number you do don’t recognise – it is not always PPI selling numbers that you will not recognise. First impressions always count.

It is essential you prepare for a telephone interview as you would a face to face. Take the time to match your qualifications to the job description, so you can speak to why you’re a strong candidate for the position.


Practice Interviewing

Talking on the phone is not as easy as we think. If you were having a face to face interview it is possible you would practice beforehand. It is even more vital you do the same for a phone interview.

By having a practice (ask a family friend to call you at a certain time for a mock interview). Not only will this help you with your rehearsed answers but would also help you notice if you speak to fast or too slow or maybe have a lot of long pauses etc. Do record the practice telephone interview to help you improve on not only the answers given but aid with the flow of the conversation.


Phone Interview Tips

FIrstly make sure before the call that you know the date and time of the call and who will be contacting who.

Always have your CV in front of you to refer to.

Make a note of your major achievements – these could be highlighted on your CV to refer to in your phone interview.

Make sure you are dressed smart. This may sound stupid as no one can see you but it would put you in a better frame of mind. Likewise if you can try to sit behind a desk or stand rather than just sitting on the settee.

Make sure your landline or mobile phone has call waiting turned off so your interview is not interrupted.

Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.

Make sure that if you are taking the phone interview at home that there is total peace and quiet so you do not have interruptions. Make sure the children/pets are in another room. Do not have the TV or radio on as you need total concentration.


Telephone interview tips
Make sure you answer the phone and not your child

If you can use you landline for the call – it is more likely you will get a better reception.  If you are not at home and using a mobile makes sure that the mobile is fully charged before you start the call.

Do be professional  and be ready and waiting for the call. When the  phone rings make sure you answer it and not a child or another member of your household. When answering the call do introduce yourself (this may sound obvious but again first impressions do count) with a good morning/afternoon/evening.

Do not smoke, chew gum, eat or drink. However, do keep a bottle of water with you in case your mouth goes dry.

When speaking do smile. A smile will reflect a positive image and will make your tone of voice more appealing. Likewise smiling while standing is preferable. By standing up this will give your voice more energy, pace and enthusiasm. In addition do not slow down your voice into the monotone robot. You must always be enthusiastic and this should show in your voice when you interview on the phone.

Telephone interview tips
Did you know that when you smile your tone will become more positive and friendly.



The interviewer might not be able to see it, but they will be able to hear it…and that can go a long way in making you stand out for all the right reasons.

Do not feel the need to talk fast to get everything you want to say out in a short pace of time. Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.

Do not interrupt the interviewer. You will have plenty of time to speak about your achievements, why you want the role etc. It is vital you listen carefully when the interviewer is speaking. If you find you have a question to ask jot it down on you note pad and mention it when it is your turn to talk.

When the interviewer asks questions do not ramble on. Make sure your answers are short and concise.

When asked a question do take your time to respond (as you would in a face to face interview).

Do remember that you want to have the face to face interview so after the interview do thank the interviewer and say you hope you will be meeting them shortly.

Follow up soon after the call with a thank you note that confirms  your interest in the job.

I hope these telephone tips help you with future interviews either by phone or face to face.

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