Top tips for telephone interviews

Telephone interviews are often used to help recruiters create candidate shortlists. They usually take the form of a short discussion and are used by recruiters to select which candidates to put forward to the next stage of the recruitment process. But no matter how confident you are in the flesh, telephone conversations can sometimes be awkward or uncomfortable because of the lack of visual cues. Nisa Chitakasem suggests some simple ways to feel more at ease if you’re invited to a telephone job interview.



Just because it’s not a conventional interview, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to prepare for it. Rehearse common interview questions, as well as difficult ones. Research the company and if possible, find out who you’ll be talking to on the phone and research them as well by looking at their LinkedIn profile, reading press on them, and reading their biog on the organisation’s website.


Get dressed

Even though the interviewer obviously can’t see you, getting dressed and grooming yourself as if you were actually going to a face-to-face interview will help you feel more confident and professional, and this will come across in your voice and in what you say during the phone conversation.


Take the call in an organised space

Just as you should look the part, the place where you take the call should also be professional. If you take the call while slumping on the floor in the middle of a cluttered, untidy room, your mind itself will be cluttered and you’ll come across as distracted and sluggish on the phone. Instead, clear a space around you so you’ll have space to think, and take the call sitting on a hardback chair at a desk or table.



Because of the aforementioned lack of verbal cues, it’s hard to tell how positive a person is feeling on the phone. However, if you smile, the person on the other end will be able to tell, even though they can’t see the smile. Smiling automatically makes you feel better, therefore injecting a positive tone in your voice.


Mean what you say and say what you mean

You can’t see a person’s facial expressions or body language over the phone. All you have to go on is what they say and how they sound. You have to take their words at face value. This is especially the case with job interviews, as the person on the other end won’t know you. Bear this in mind when talking to the interviewer on the phone. Be clear and straightforward in what you say in order to avoid misunderstandings. Leave out the irony, jokes, double meanings, and subliminal hints in order to avoid confusion.


Nisa Chitakasem is the founder of Position Ignition, one of the UK’s leading career consultancy companies.




Back to listing