for graduates & students

Telephone Interviews


With the increase in call centres and other-telephone based businesses, more and more companies are using telephone interviews to check the telephone manner and skills of potential staff.

Telephone interviewing is not usually a substitute for a face-to-face interview, however, they're a quick and easy way to identify and discount unsuitable applicants.



Here are 10 tips to help you be at your best when being interviewed by telephone:

1. Be on your best behaviour

A phone interview is the best way to check on a candidate's telephone manner, especially where telephone manner and customer contact are key parts of the role.

2. Smile

Even though no-one can see you, smiling will help you to relax and sound positive. Some people also find that standing up while talking on the phone makes them feel more confident.

3. Shut out noise

Make sure your surroundings are quiet and that you won't be disturbed. Shut the door, turn off the radio - and your mobile.

4. Have pen and paper to hand

Make notes of what is covered - you may be asked the same questions if invited to a second interview.

5. Know your CV

Plan what might be asked in the interview beforehand, e.g. personal details, education, career history, experience. The interviewer will be aiming to match candidates against the job description and person specification so re-read thoroughly.

6. Answer with confidence

Just the way you answer the phone has an impact on the person calling. Talk distinctly and clearly. If you're not confident in your speaking voice, you cannot compensate for it in other ways.

7. Make a connection

Try to establish something in common. Ask about the caller's experience with the company or mention something you have read about the company.

8. Let silence be golden

Watch out for awkward silences, ‘umms’ and ‘errrs’, and unintentional interruptions - by either the candidate or interviewer. If you need a minute to compose your thoughts, don't be afraid to ask for a little time before answering.

9. A two-way process

You should be given the opportunity to ask questions - make sure you have some in mind.

10. End on a positive note

Thank the caller for their time and express interest in the opportunity. (A good touch is to send an e-mail, reinforcing this.) Don't be afraid to ask what the next stage is.

The advantages of a telephone interview are that it can be arranged with little delay, with little disruption to your existing job and you'll know the outcome quite quickly. However, what you say will be more important than in a face-to-face interview, so be prepared!