15 Tips for Your Next Telephone Interview

Telephone InterviewRecruiters and Hiring Managers have less and less time these days to actually meet people due to many reasons and therefore telephone interviews are becoming more and more well known to weed out the good candidates from the bad ones.


A telephone interview will usually be a screening interview where your resume has impressed but is not quite enough to initially impress the Hiring Manager.  The telephone interview is your chance to impress and get your experience, knowledge and talent across to the hiring manager.


A telephone interview is your first chance to impress, but its also going to be the most difficult interview that you will face.  In a normal interview, you can impress with your body language, and how you come across in a professional manner, however during a telephone interview you only have your voice therefore you really need to prepare and ensure that you come across in the right way.


Below are 15 things that you need to do during your next telephone interview to ensure that your telephone interview is a success.


Telephone Interview


You Will Sound How You Dress – If you don’t really care about your dress code then you will sound like you don’t care. To really sound your best down the telephone you need to make sure that you look the part with a suit, shirt and tie. Dress the Part, Act the Part and you will Sound the Part.


Always use a Landline – Cell Phone service is never 100% reliable no matter where you are and the last thing you want is the service to temporally run out or partially drop during your interview as this really irritate the interviewer. If you do not have a landline and therefore have to use your mobile, just make sure that you are in a quiet place with as much cell phone service as possible, and your battery is fully charged.


Always Stand up When You Speak – I started my career in a “sales center” which I consider to be the only mistake in my career. I only lasted 6 month as I was not very good at “closing on the telephone.” I did not learn many things from this experience, however one thing I did learn was that you need to stand up when you speak on the telephone. Why? Well when you’re standing, you naturally project more confidence and energy into your voice which will help give the image that you are a confident person.


If you Insist on Sitting – make sure that you sit in an office style chair, keep your back straight, chin up and your shoulders are horizontal. All this will help to project confidence into your voice.


Make Sure You Smile – There’s and old phrase my boss used to tell me in my first sales job, Smile and Dial….!! If you are grumpy and frown whilst you are on the telephone this will be projected into your voice.


Never Use a Speaker Phone – Nothing drives me crazier on the telephone than the other person having me on a speaker phone. You cannot really hear what the other party is saying and to be honest it quite rude and really shows that you would prefer to do whatever else you are doing rather than speaking with me.


Pauses – Public speakers use pauses in their speech as a way of exaggerating a specific word or sentence. This can be really helping during a telephone interview as it gives the interviewer times to digest what you have just said.


Hands Free – Never a bad idea, although my advice is to find out what you sound like before you actually try it. 


Don’t Stand Outside – I once had a telephone interview with a candidate who stood outside on the side of the road. I could not understand half what he was saying and the 30 second gap in the middle when the police car went passed did not help. Get organised, standing on the side of the road simply says that either you do not care, or you were not organised enough. Both of these are not things you need in an interview.


Keep your Resume in Front of You – Also make sure you have some paper and a pen.


Speak Slowly and Clearly – Even if your using a home telephone in a quiet room and your interviewer is in the same position the telephone is never 100% perfect so you need to make sure that you speak a little slower than normal and pronounce every individual words.


If you Cannot Hear The Recruiter – Interrupt and blame it on your phone…


Watch out for Jokes and Sarcasm – Facial expression helps out with both jokes and sarcasm, however when you are on the telephone your interviewer will not be able to see your face. Maintain your professionalism and stay on target.


No Eating or Chewing Gum – Obvious I know but it’s amazing how many times that someone pops something into their mouth right at the wrong time.


Take a Drink with You – Nothing wrong with having a drink nearby that you can drink during the interview to stop your mouth becoming dry.


Make sure that you Prepare Interview Questions Beforehand – There is no excuse not to have some questions given that in a telephone interview you have them written in front of you.

If you need help with your Job Interview Preparation take a look at our Guide to Preparing for Your Next Job Interview.