Initial interviews by telephone are more common than they used to be. It’s an inexpensive way to screen candidates in the initial stages of a recruitment campaign.

Many people mistakenly assume that a telephone interview is easier than a face to face meeting and consequently do not sufficiently prepare. Make the same preparations as you would for a regular interview, this includes: research the company, learn the job description, know your CV / strengths / weaknesses / employment background / achievements and skills for the workplace.

Before the telephone interview:

  • Set up a day and time for the interview to take place.
  • Make sure you won’t be interrupted.  Turn of TV or radio and close the door.
  • Keep a copy of your CV by the phone and all the other relevant information you might need (website of the company, job description).
  • Make a list of your achievements, so you can refer to them, if asked.
  • Have a pen and paper, so you can take notes during the interview.
  • Make sure the battery of your mobile is fully charged.
  • Use the landline phone if your mobile phone has a bad signal.

During the interview:

  • Make sure you sound professional, motivated and enthusiastic, the sort of person they want on the team. Your tone of voice in a telephone interview will influence the rapport you establish with the interviewer.  Try to match your voice level and tone with the interviewers.
  • Listen carefully and if you don’t fully understand the question, ask for clarification.
  • Very important: smile when you talk on the telephone. You’ll be more relaxed, you’ll sound more confident, positive and assertive.
  • Don’t eat, smoke, or chew chewing gum.
  • Keep a glass of water beside you in case your mouth goes dry.
  • Speak slowly and pronounce your words clearly.
  • Call the interviewer by their title and last name (e.g. Ms. Jones) unless they ask you to call them by their first name.
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
  • Don’t say unfavourable things about previous employers / jobs. Be positive.
  • Answer questions clearly – don’t ramble or mumble. Be brief and to the point. Don’t give long-winded answers.
  • Be assertive without being aggressive. And show respect.
  • Pace yourself, a good interviewer knows you may need a little time to compose a good response, so do take time to think about answers.
  • The interviewer may need some time to make notes between questions so don’t worry unduly about short silences, be patient.
  • Do not hurry any movement.
  • Relax with every breath.
  • Salary details should be discussed (unless specifically asked) during the second interview or via the respective consultant.

After the interview:

  • Express your interest in the role.
  • Thank the interviewer for their time and consideration of you.
  • You can ask for the next step in the recruitment process and when to receive feedback.
  • Finish the telephone call on a very positive note.
  • Keep in touch with your consultant – we are always interested in your feedback on what you thought of the role and the company.