Career Guidance Centre » Interview Advice » Telephone Interview Tips

Telephone Interview Tips

You might be invited to a telephone interview for a number of reasons. Many employers will use telephone interviews as a way of sourcing the best candidates to then go on to a face to face interview. They may also be suggested due to convenience, if you live far away from the job location or you are abroad at the time.

You shouldn't think of the telephone interview as any different from a face to face interview. You still need to present your strengths and demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the job. Ensure you research the position and the company, as you would for any other interview.

The great thing about a telephone interview is that you can have as many notes around you as you like. There is some pressure to rush through answers as you don't want any silent gaps as you're thinking of the right answer. Although it might feel awkward make sure you give yourself enough time and pause if you need to think. You can simply say: "please can I have a few seconds to think about that question?" or ask them to repeat the question to save a bit of time. Try and keep your answers concise and short, it's easy to waffle on and on but if they want more details they will ask.

At the end of the interview make sure you know what the next stages are if they haven't been explained. You might also like to follow the interview with a thank you email to show your continued interest in the position.

Telephone Interview Techniques

  • Conduct all the usual planning and research as you would for a face to face interview
  • Have your CV and any research notes in front of you
  • Find a quiet area away from any off putting background noise
  • If you're using your mobile phone make sure you're in an area with good signal
  • Don't be afraid to ask for some time to compose your answers
  • Remember you are on the phone so you need to sound clear and concise
  • Prepare some questions for them at the end of the interview
  • Have a pen and paper in case you need to make any notes
  • Don't interrupt the interviewer
  • Keep a glass of water nearby
  • Don't eat or chew gum during the interview
  • Stay confident and professional, even though they can't see you dressing smartly often helps

Read our Job Interview Tips

Telephone Interview Questions

Below is an example of the type of questions you should expect during your telephone interview.

  • Why are you applying for this position?
  • What makes you right for the job over everyone else?
  • Tell me about your current role and your day to day responsibilities.
  • What skills do you possess that you feel will help in this particular role?
  • What do you understand about our company?
  • Please describe a situation where you've had to manage a group of colleagues.
  • Tell me how your friends would describe you in 3 words.
  • Where do you see yourself, career wise, in 5 years?
  • What do you like to do in your spare time?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

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