8 top tips to master your telephone interview

preparing for a telephone interview

8 top tips to master your telephone interview

Telephone interviews have become more and more commonplace in the job interview process in recent years. Usually taking place in the early stages of the process they are seen as the first hurdle for job seekers to clear. A quick introduction call for the interviewers to get a feel for you – a first impression – make a good one and you’re set for a face-to-face meeting.

Since the outbreak of Coronavirus, the telephone interview has gone from being a quick introductory call to an all out, hour long interview, which means it’s not just good to master it, it’s crucial! 

In most cases a telephone interview will be performed by a recruitment agency worker or a hiring manager. If it’s set up like a conference call there may be a few different people present and with technology being as good as it is, it may even be a video call – so keep these things mind. You can’t turn up to a video call in your pyjamas. 

Today, I’ve prepared 8 top tips to help you master any telephone interview, whether it’s one on one in the early stages, a conference call, or a video call. 

1. Remove any distractions

The beauty of a telephone interview is that it can take place from the comfort of your own home. This is a blessing in terms of keeping you relaxed but also curse if you’re easily distracted. It’s important before sitting down to take the call that you remove all potential distractions from around you. No televisions blaring in the background, turn off the radio, try to make sure you’re on your own in a quiet room. 

2. Preparation is key

It’s easy to make light of a telephone interview – but you shouldn’t. You should always be prepared, make sure to have a copy of the job description, your CV and any other information that’s relevant next to you. Like I said before, this is a first impression and you need make sure it’s  good one. 

3. Stay focused

If you’re anything like me, you tend to wander around the house when you’re on the phone. Maybe doodle on a scrap of paper, scroll through Facebook? Don’t! It’s very easy to lose focus on a telephone interview and before you know it you’re rambling or you’ve not heard an important question properly. Remember to concentrate and stay focused. 

4. Try to take notes

This isn’t always easy as the pace of a telephone interview moves considerably faster than a face to face. Your notes don’t have to be detailed, just enough to help you prepare for any later interviews – if there are any. Like I said earlier, in the current lockdown situation, it’s unlikely that there will be face to face interviews. 

5. Try to work on some of your answers beforehand

There are always standard questions that will come up during a telephone interview. Tell me about yourself or your current role? What made you apply for this role?  Why are you leaving your current role? It’s a good idea to think about your answers to these beforehand so you’re ready to answer and not stuck thinking about what to say. 

6. Try to ask some questions of your own

Interviews are a two way street and interviewers like to see that you’re not just going through the motions. Show them that you’ve engaged with the job by asking questions about the role. What will my main duties be? Can you tell me about a standard working day? What do you like about working here? That being said, try to not make your first question about money. The interviewer will usually bring that up themselves. 

7. Manners Maketh The Man…or Woman

Call me old fashioned but I always think that good manners take you a long way, especially at interview. Being over the phone makes it very easy to drop into a conversational tone and before you know it, you’ve called your interviewer “mate” and you’re telling them about last night’s episode of Come Dine With Me. Try to stay professional, thank them for their time at the end of the interview and ask when you can expect to hear from them again. 

8. Make sure to follow up

Eagerness is never a bad thing. There is nothing wrong with following up on your interview to see how things went. A request for feedback or a simple ‘thank you for your time’ email. It’s a small gesture but it often goes a long way.