Telephone interview

In the first part of our two-part blog on interviewing, we take a closer look at telephone interviews and how to prepare for a positive conversation with a prospective employer.

Telephone interviews are now commonplace in today’s recruitment landscape, yet many candidates are interviewing in this manner for the first time. In lots of ways, telephone interviews present more challenges compared to meeting a future employer face to face. Telephone interviews rely almost completely on the sound of our voice, with no opportunity to use facial expressions or eye contact, make that all important first impression with a smart suit or firm handshake. We aren’t able to connect with someone in the way that we can face to face, but you can still make preparations to ensure the interview goes well and you progress to the next interview.


Prepare for a telephone interview as you would for any other type of interview. Split your preparation into three key areas

1. Research on the company and the role

2. Familiarisation of your own CV and why you are a good fit for the role (skills and experience)

3. Questions you would like to ask – focus on the company/brand, responsibilities of the role or team (avoid questions on salary, bonus, holiday and promotion)

On the day

It’s important to get into the mindset of interviewing, this is your opportunity to sell yourself and the skills and experience you could bring to the role. I know someone who as a fresh graduate, wore a suit during all of his telephone interviews, it got him in the correct mindset and today he is a successful leader for a well recognised global business. Consider where you will have the interview, find a quiet room where you won’t be distracted and there is plenty of signal if using a mobile phone. There is also no harm in having a copy of your CV and the job spec in front of you, as well as two or three questions.

During the telephone interview

Answer the phone in a positive and professional manner, speak clearly. Whilst the interviewer may not be able to see your smile, they will be able to hear it in your voice and this will project a positive first impression. Think about the speed at which you are talking, it is too easy to speed up when nervous so attempt to maintain a steady pace. It’s important to not talk over each other so try and anticipate when it’s your time to speak. Finally, remember to thank the interviewer for their time and the opportunity to learn more about the company and role and if comfortable, clarify what the next steps would be.

After the telephone interview

Always follow up after an interview! If you applied directly with the company why not send a short and succinct email to the interviewer or the person who organised the interview to thank them and tell them you are keen to proceed to the next stage. If you are interviewing via a recruitment agency, ensure you call your Recruitment Consultant with your feedback who will then pass this on to the hiring manager.

If you have a telephone interview coming up but still have questions on how to best approach it, give the team a call on 0207 742 2266.

Published inBlog

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