What are the tips for telephone interviews?

  • Pick a suitable location - this is really important. Avoid noisy, public spaces and instead opt for a private, quiet location such as your home. If you live with family or friends warn them in advance that you need some peace. Minimise background noise by closing windows and turning off televisions or radios. Put electronic devices on silent to avoid being distracted.
  • Dress to impress - it may sound strange as the recruiter can’t see you, but dress for an interview. You shouldn’t treat telephone interviews any differently to face-to-face interviews and you wouldn’t turn up to meet a potential employer in your pyjamas.
  • Stand up and smile - smile to ensure that the interviewer hears the enthusiasm in your voice from the start. To convey energy and confidence take the call standing up. At the very least make sure that you’re sat upright at a table.
  • Refer to your notes sparingly - being able to have application documents and notes to hand is one of the main advantages of a telephone interview, but don’t rely on them too heavily. The employer will hear if you’re rustling papers and will be able to tell if you’re reciting answers from pre-prepared notes. Instead of reams of paper use concise bullet points as prompts.
  • Have a glass of water nearby - interview nerves and lots of talking can lead to dry mouth, which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to eloquently express yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification - if you miss a particular question don’t try to second guess what it might have been. Apologise and politely ask the interviewer if they can repeat it.
  • Take notes - if you’re able to multitask jot down any useful information provided by the employer and the questions you’re asked during the interview. These notes could be a valuable resource if you’re invited for a second interview.