10 Top Telephone Interview Tips

Arran Williams, November 30, 2017

So you've got a telephone interview? Great!

Your application has clearly made a good first impression and the employers would like to know more about you. Now you have to opportunity to build on your early success and seal the deal.

While any interview will always be a bit nerve-wracking, we've put together 10 simple tips to help you make the best impression possible and maximise your chances of getting that dream job.

1. Prepare your time and place

Make sure you know when the interview will be taking place, and make sure you have everything ready for it.

You don't want to be floundering about looking for your CV, nor do you want the plumber to arrive and start dismantling the washing machine halfway through. Take the time to find somewhere quiet and comfortable, with everything you need to hand.

2. Make notes beforehand

A key part of preparation is jotting down any information you think is important to get across. You don't have to write down a script - in fact, reading out pre-prepared sentences might make you sound a bit robotic - but it can't hurt to at least have some bullet points of the most vital stuff in front of you. This way, you'll have the right info on hand in case you have a mind blank.

3. Think about questions

Some of the questions you'll be asked are likely to be predictable. Have a think about how you might deal with them, sketch out some responses, and jot down any questions of your own you might have for the interviewer. That way you can avoid have a mind-blank!

4. Make notes during

Try to note down anything important the interviewer says, as well as what you are being asked. This will help you structure your responses properly and in a way that addresses what they need to know.

You don't have to get everything down (unless you're a fantastically speedy writer) but at least get down what seems significant that you wouldn't want to forget.

5. Don't be afraid to ask questions

All kind of visual cues that are available to you in a real-life interview won't be available for one on the telephone. For example, normally face to face you'll have an idea if your answer is addressing the interviewer's question or not by their facial expression. You can judge whether your answer has done the trick or whether you need to go into more detail based on their body language and face. 

Because this won't work in a telephone interview, don't be afraid to ask 'would you like me to go into more detail' or 'does that answer what you needed to know?', just to be sure.

6. Relax

A bit of nerves is fine and natural, but try not to let them get out of hand. Being too tense is, ironically, more likely to make you mess up, and the interviewer is less likely to want to hire you if you're having a breakdown on the phone.

The best way to calm yourself down is to prepare in advance. Then, before the interview, go through your notes and reassure yourself that everything is in place and under control. Your potential employer liked your application enough to let you get this far, and so long as you've prepared you'll do a good job.

7. Slow down

Partly as a product of nerves, we tend to speak a lot faster than we mean to in interviews. This will likely make it harder to follow what you're saying and increase the likelihood of tripping over your words. Keep this in mind, and take your time. You're not racing against the clock and no one will be hurrying you. A steady, measured pace will also help you sound more confident and assured.

8. Smile

It might seem counter-intuitive to worry about your facial expression when your interviewer can't see you, but you'd be surprised. What you're doing with your face will condition the tone of your voice, and the person your speaking will detect it.

9. Find out what comes next

It's useful to have some of an idea of a timeframe for what will happen after the interview. It's good for your peace of mind to have some idea about when you'll know more, and it also prevents you from putting your foot in it by following up on the interview too soon or too late. Once you're finished, the interviewer won't mind you politely asking what come's next. 

10. Follow up

Manners cost nothing and help make a good impression. After you're interview, send a thank you email. It's polite and it keeps a good impression of you in the decision-maker's mind.

If you don't end up getting the job, it might also be an idea to ask for feedback about how you could have done better. This will be useful for your future job seeking, as well as establishing you as a courteous and keen candidate that the company might think of for future roles.

We hope our tips give you a helping hand with your telephone interview and help you to secure your dream job.

If you're still searching for an opportunity that's right for you, have a look at our exciting vacancies over at Jobsgopublic.com.