What To Do When Faced With a Telephone Interview

1 year ago

You’ve applied for a new role; you’ve made it through to the shortlist, now it’s time for the telephone interview.

It’s surprising how many people under prepare or don’t see the importance of telephone interviews.

The little-known fact is that a telephone interview is just as important as a face to face interview; it is the employer’s first impression of you, and what you can bring to the company.

So here’s what I have learnt, with experience as both the interviewee and interviewer.halima-circle


It may sound silly, but it’s vital. The last thing you want is to be sat there waiting for the hiring manager to call you, and they are at the other end waiting for you to call in. Make sure you have agreed who’s calling who, and at what time.

Also, ensure that you agree a time that is convenient for you. If you have to do the school run or have another appointment, avoid these times! You don’t want to have to rush yourself, or risk being late.


The best thing about telephone interviews is that the person at the other end can’t see you. Now I’m not saying that you should interview in your pyjamas, that is not a smart move, but this means you can surround yourself with notes, and even have the company website in front of you.

The best things to have in front of you are the job description, your research on the company, and a few pointers about you and your experience that you want to mention in the interview. This is very useful, especially if you are worried about going off topic.

A good piece of advice I have followed in the past is to write a concise summary about you and why you are perfect for this role and then when the question is asked, you have already prepared an answer.

Go into this interview as prepared as you would be for a face to face interview, and you can do no wrong. For advice on preparing for an interview click here. 

Also, make sure your phone is fully charged, and that you are in an area with good signal. It may sound silly, but I bet you didn’t think about it did you?


GET IN THE ZONEphone-desk-circle
Remember, this interview may be from the comfort of your home, but make sure you are in the zone and ready for the call. This means no lying in bed, get out of your pyjamas and find a quiet room where there are no distractions. There is nothing more off-putting than an interviewee having a stern word with their child/dog/partner during a telephone interview. Trust me.

So find a quiet room, spread your notes out and centre yourself. Make sure you have everything you need for your interview, and wait for the call (or make the call!)


When the time comes, make sure you answer the phone professionally, use your best telephone voice, and make sure you are speaking clearly and slowly. It helps to stand up when speaking on the phone, and make sure you smile! A smile can be heard over the phone, and will make all the difference.

Make sure you use polite, professional language, and try not to ramble. This can be harder in a telephone interview than face to face, as you cannot see the other party’s body language, so make sure your answers are concise and to the point.

Also, do not eat or drink while on the phone. I’m sure you wouldn’t appreciate the interviewer chomping and slurping over the phone, and you wouldn’t do this at work (I hope!), so save the snacks for after your call.


This should be all you need to make your telephone interview fantastic. If you’re worried about the questions the interviewer would ask, or can’t think of any questions yourself, check out these two articles:



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