Preparing for a telephone interview – our guide

You’ve got the interview. Now it’s time to dial in.

Telephone interviews are still a very popular method of recruiting for short term or contract roles especially where there are international applicants. You should prepare as you would for a physical interview in terms of diligent research on the business and the environment in which it operates as well as preparing answers for questions you think might come up in the call. Here are a few additional tips which will help you get ready for this type of interview whether is on the phone or on Video Call like Skype.

1. Find a quiet place to do your interview.

It is essential that there is no interference on the call so that you can best communicate with the interviewers. Locate the quietest room in your house and make sure that all distractions are eliminated. Ensure that the siblings, parents, kids, pets etc as far away from you as possible so you won’t be distracted.

2. Check your phone/wifi signal.

If you have access to a landline in the room of your choice great, if not make sure that your mobile phone has a good level of reception in the room you choose. The same holds true if you are doing a Skype call. Check to see the you have the best connection possible. Interruptions on the call might annoy your potential employer.

3. Dress as if you were going to a physical interview.

If you are doing a Skype interview it goes without saying that you should dress professionally but also if you are doing a phone interview it is, believe it or not, very important to dress professionally.

If you put on some smart casual clothes (at the very least) your demeanour will mean that you are in the mode to present well and this actually comes through in your voice. So stay out of the Pyjamas even if it is an early call.

4. Be assertive, ask questions.

One of the most difficult things to assess in a telephone interview is how you are doing. In a physical interview you would be able to pick up physical cues from the interview panel whether you think you answered a question to their satisfaction or not. This is why it’s important to ask questions and be assertive to prove you are trying to cover all aspects of a question. Simple questions such as ..Did I cover everything for you there? Do you need me to elaborate further? Will I continue?.. will ensure that you are giving yourself the best chance to tick all the boxes.

5. Stay professional at all times.

It is crucially important that you sell the very best of your self with your voice. Staying calm and speaking clearly and confidently will portray a level of professional competence that will impress your potential employer. Even if a situation arises where you are caught off guard with a question or your answer is being challenged stay courteous as this might be a tactic to see how you react under pressure.

Small talk is ok when doing introductions or have been prompted by the interviewer (with maybe a gentle icebreaker) or waiting to close off the call but always hold a calm and polite tone until the very end when you hang up that call. Finally even if you feel that the interview isn’t going your way always close with a thank you to the employer for allowing you the opportunity to interview.