Telephone interviews

Telephone interviews are becoming an important part of the recruitment process. They are frequently used by many organisations as the first stage in selecting a candidate.

Hiring managers use telephone interviews, for example, when candidates will have to travel a long way; when there are large numbers of candidates; when personality is more important than experience or qualification or when a large part of the job will involve talking to people on the telephone.

They can be a quick and much cheaper way to check details on a CV and see if you have relevant experience for a role before the employer invites you for a formal face-to-face interview. 

The employer will want to answer the following questions: 

  • Does the candidate have the right skill set to do the role? 
  • Has the candidate made an effort to research the company and role? 
  • Does the candidate have good communication skills? 
  • Does the candidate sound confident, interested and enthusiastic? 

Here are some tips to consider before and during your interview:

  • Prepare as you would normally for an interview and make sure you’ve researched the company.
  • Try to use a landline rather than a mobile phone, when the call could be more easily cut off. If you have no other option than to use a mobile phone, make sure you have a full signal and a fully charged battery. 
  • Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Turn the TV/radio off and put all other phones on silent. 
  • Get into the right frame of mind: dress in business wear and sit at a table. 
  • Speak clearly and give concise answers. 
  • The interviewer cannot see you so your tone of voice is important. You need to sound enthusiastic, positive and confident. 
  • Smile, as this will be reflected in your tone of voice. 
  • Have a copy of your CV, job description, notes and a pen in front of you. 
  • Don’t smoke, eat or chew gum during the call. Have a glass of water nearby but don’t sip all the way through the call. 

Prepare for a telephone interview as you would any interview but remember: the hiring manager cannot see you, so your enthusiasm and confidence must come across in your voice.