Telephone Interview Tips


Telephone interviews are used as the first stage in a selection process. Due to the volume of candidates some jobs attract, the telephone interview works like a filter, finding the best candidates. So the good news is that your application was good enough to get you an interview and this is the next stage.


Begin by studying the job description and the person specification. Make a special effort to identify any areas where your skills and experience may be of particular value.


1. Prepare a list matching your achievements to the job description. Specify and quantify your accomplishments, e.g. ‘increased sales by 35%’ or ‘reduced overheads by 27%’. Keep this list in front of you during the interview and refer to it at every opportunity.

2. Find out all you can about the company’s products, services, history, and culture. Familiarize yourself with the company’s website and be prepared to comment constructively upon it if asked.

3. Review your CV and highlight any areas that the interviewer is likely to want to address such as gaps in employment and reasons for leaving.

4. Interviewers want to hear about specific challenges or problems you faced in the workplace, the specific actions you took and the measurable results you achieved. Think about giving competency examples around communication skills, analytical skills, teamwork, drive and initiative.

5. Don’t speak too quickly, use slang, interrupt or talk over the recruiter. Matching your speaking rate and pitch to that of the interviewer will help you to establish rapport. Don’t ’um’ and ’err’ too much! Your voice is the only sales tool you have.

6. Use the interviewer’s name regularly throughout the conversation and also use the company name a few times.

7. Be succinct. For most questions a 2-4 minute answer is a good target. Time is an issue with telephone interviews and you’re wasting your own time if you stray off the subject.

8. Have a copy of your CV, the job description and your notes to hand, for quick reference. Jot down key points throughout the course of the interview.

9. Try smiling while you are talking. Studies have shown that this has a positive effect on the person who is listening. It is also a good idea to stand during a telephone interview as this makes you sound more confident and helps project a positive and professional image.

10. Have a list of prepared questions available to ask the interviewer once they have asked their questions. This shows an employer that you are serious about the job and have done your homework before the interview.


You can’t prepare for every possible question but here are a few which frequently come up:


1. Can you tell me a little about yourself?

2. Why did you apply for this position?

3. What are the main responsibilities in your current position?

4. What can you bring to this position?

5. Why are you leaving your current job?

6. What is the most important achievement in your career to date?

7. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

8. What do you see yourself doing in five years?

9. What challenges do you think you will face in this job?

10. Please tell me about your salary expectations