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Top Tips for a Telephone Interview

With the ongoing situation regarding Covid-19, many employers and recruiters are going to focus their recruitment methods online or by telephone. Many will already have used telephone interviews as part of their recruitment mix and so will see little impact on their operations.

From a candidate perspective, what are the differences and how you ensure it goes well? Here is our guide to telephone interviews.

Telephone Interviews

Telephone interviews are pre-scheduled job interviews which usually last up to 30 minutes. With the advent of video technology, some employers may use video conferencing instead (check out our guide for video interviews here), but many will choose to use telephone interviews as part of their recruitment mix.


Just like in a normal interview, you must make sure you adequately prepare. Failure to prepare will impact on your confidence and can easily come across during a telephone interview.

Confidence is going to be key. Ensuring you have thoroughly researched the industry, organisation and job is vital. Have a look around the company website, their social media channels, competitor sites and relevant news articles to help gain an insight.

Don’t forget to know YOURSELF.

Write out examples of how you have demonstrated each skill listed in the person specification. The benefit of a telephone interview is that you can have notes in front of you and no one will know.

The Interview

When answering the call, it is important you sound upbeat and professional. Try answering with ‘Good morning/good afternoon, (your name) speaking’ and maintain a professional tone throughout.

Telephone interviews can feel more pressurised as there is a time constraint, but it is important to be aware of the pace of your speech. Make sure you are clear and concise in what you are communicating.

Top Tips for Telephone Interviews

  1. Location, location, location: this is vital. Make sure you are in a quiet space where you have the privacy to talk uninterrupted. Warn family and friends in advance if they are going to be around, and make sure you remember to switch electronics off or to silent mode.
  2. Refer to your notes: this is the main advantage of telephone interviews, BUT – try to refer to them sparingly. If the interviewer can hear you rustling through paper, it does not convey a confident and well-prepared candidate.
  3. Have a glass of water nearby: this may sound surprising, but it can be a lifesaver when you are nervous and have dry mouth.
  4. Ask questions: don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for clarification if you are not sure on what they are asking. It is better to be informed so as you can deliver a relevant answer.
  5. Take notes: you may want to make note of upcoming plans or points of reference about the company or the role that the interviewer discusses. This could also be a good resource should be requested for a second interview.

If you have any questions regarding anything we have discussed, feel free to drop us an email at [email protected], or email your consultant directly.

For how to guides on the most popular video interview platforms check out our video interview and conferencing platform how-tos blog here 

Best of luck with your job search!

10:45 20/03/2020

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