Telephone Interview Techniques

Putting you more in control.

The telephone is often used as a screening technique prior to short-listing Candidates for a formal interview.

If you are invited, preparation is just as important as for a face-to-face meeting.

It is particularly suitable method of screening Candidates applying for roles where the telephone will be the main method of communicating with others.

A while beforehand

Find out as much as you can about the Company and the person interviewing you.

Will they be calling you or are you calling them? Once you know the time, you are in control of where you will be for the interview.

Use the Internet, the prospective Employer will probably have a website telling you all you need.

  • How do they make their money?
  • What product or service do they sell?
  • Who are their competitors?
  • Why are they better than the competition?

Personal information

Write a profile (personal statement) that sells your background, ability and future in as few words as possible

  • Have a copy of your CV in front of you all the time.
  • Know how you will answer questions such as:

1. Why have you applied for this role?

2. What do you know about us?

3. Why should we employ you?

Immediately beforehand

  • If you are going to be at home or in an office, shut the door.
  • Let others know that you mustn’t be disturbed.
  • Turn off any other phones, the radio or TV.
  • Put the dog and baby somewhere else.
  • If you’ll be talking from your car, park up somewhere quiet & not in a no- parking area where a parking-meter attendant will disturb you.
  • An interview from a landline will be much clearer but if you have to be out and about, try not to be in a noisy Supermarket, on a station platform or a bus. You’ll think and sound much better if you’re on a park bench but beware of wind across the microphone of your mobile.
  • Don’t chew sweets, eat lunch or smoke, the interviewer can tell. Have water handy for if your throat dries up but don’t slurp and don’t drink coffee (mopping up a spilt hot drink is impossible to do un-noticed)
  • Have available, paper and pencil (plus spare) and something on which to lean.
  • Know what you want to achieve, the minimum should be a second interview, face-to-face with the Employer.

During the interview

  • Smile, the interviewer will be able to tell.
  • Be positive, they possibly need you more than you need them.
  • Don’t use the Interviewer’s first name unless you’re invited.
  • Don’t interrupt.
  • Don’t rush to answer; a few seconds pause is acceptable to give time for thought.
  • Keep your answers short and to the point.
  • If you are in a job at the time, concentrate on the future, don’t slag of your present Job and certainly not your present Employer.
  • Find out what happens next.
  • Be positive and ask if you can set up a second meeting.
  • Do all you can to make sure the Interviewer wants you to join them, even if the role isn’t right for you, an offer will make you feel good.
  • If invited back, find out where, with whom, write down the time, date and re-confirm all details.

After the Interview

  • Think about what went well - learn from it for the future.
  • Think about what went wrong - learn from it.
  • Write to the Interviewer thanking them for their time and if you are interested in working for them, tell them so and why they should employ you.

We won’t wish you good luck; luck has a habit of finding those who are better prepared.

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