How to Prepare for Telephone Interviews


Telephone interviews have become more and more popular with employers, particularly those who have to slot in recruitment with their regular busy work schedule.

If done correctly they can actually increase an ideal applicants “buy in” to the company. They are also a great way to quickly filter through a large number of initially shortlisted cvs, or to clarify any pointers or address any immediate questions about an applicants suitability.

Unfortunately they aren’t always viewed favourably by a job applicant as they generally prefer face to face meetings as a way of building rapport and getting a feel for what could be their next employer. Job seekers don’t always take them seriously and their approach to telephone interviews can be rather nonchalant.

Given the choice of attending face to face meetings with two different companies in one week and being available for a telephone interview with one employer, job seekers usually will give more commitment to the companies that invited them in to meet them.

If you are ever asked to attend a telephone interview, think twice before you presume or doubt the commitment of what could be your next future employer. Although it is always preferable to meet face to face for a first round interview, telephone interviews can be advantageous to you. They might save you time, if you have a busy work schedule and should not be considered second rate, or if you have been offered lots of interviews and aren’t sure which ones to dedicate more time towards.

Just like any other interview they are a chance for you to demonstrate your worth and an opportunity to ask as many questions as possible and find out more about the role and company you are courting.

So how do you ensure you get the best outcome from your interview? Here are some tips that should help you..

Research the company, the role and the interviewer before the interview

This means look at the website, news articles, information from the recruitment consultant, social media updates, blogs and make sure you understand what they do, or if anything interesting catches your eye about what they do. What is happening in the business, can you find any information from employees about working there? Is there anything specifically they have won awards in? What reviews do you see about them on Glassdoor and Google reviews?

Look at the job description.  What are the skills they are looking for? Do you understand the role? Can you provide examples of where you have applied those skills? What do you like about the sound of the role?

Consider who is conducting the telephone interview.

Is it the Line manager? If this is the case you will be able to find out more about the day to day role and culture or team.

Is it the Human Resources manager? They generally have a slightly different angle when interviewing as they’ll often focus on your overall fit for the role and company,  and they may not be able to talk so much about the details of day to day responsibilities that you will have.

Choose the right setting

It goes without saying, choose a quiet place. Find out how long the telephone interview will be; if possible use a landline or turn off your call waiting on your mobile phone, find a quiet room, not a street corner, in your lunch break.

Make sure there are no distractions (e.g. children / dog running round at home, sitting in a busy coffee bar).

The right setting will enable you to focus more clearly on the actual interview and listen to the questions.

Prepare for questions they may ask, and prepare questions to ask depending on who is doing the interviewing.

What do you like about the role? What are you looking for?  Does this match what they offer? Why do you want to leave your current job?

The questions you may be asked could be competency based (see our feature on competency based questions for tips).

Ask them questions about the team, the company, why the role became available, what they are looking for, and if applicable,  what the clients you would work with are like. Don’t just ask about money and working hours (never in a first interview) but show you are interested in them, what they are looking for, why they are hiring, what challenges (good ones) the role might offer you.

Don’t be afraid of asking questions you would ask in a face to face interview; it’s your interview too and you should be allowed the opportunity to ask at least one or two questions.

Be aware of how you sound

The employer may not see your face, as such the way you come across on the phone is critical. Present yourself well, use your tone to convey enthusiasm, and if it makes you more alert, stand up! Don’t allow yourself to be accused of not sounding enthusiastic about the job you are applying to.

Remember to take care not to sound like you are applying to everything and anything. Whilst you may be trying to maximise your chances to get a positive outcome from your job search, always remember employers like to hire people who are focused on them and interested in the specific job role or business area they work in.

Take notes if you can, this is always helpful as it will give you the chance to summarise or review what they said and remind yourself of key pointers after.

Close the interview : let them know what you think about the role and the company at the end of an interview.  If you are keen do ask them what the next stage is in the process. Ask them if they have any reservations about your application and if they do, respond to them. This may be your only chance to address any concerns they may have.

Finally take it seriously, you may be required to work on the phone a lot in your new job and this might be a test to see how you come across.

If you would like any more advice on improving your interview skills or have any suggestions for any future posts then get in touch with us .


by Boyce Recruitment on June 5, 2018

posted on Tips from the Team, #enjoyyourjob, Help for jobseekers, Miscellaneous,