Tips for Telephone Interviews

telephone interview

Tips for Telephone Interviews

Today’s technological capabilities have made it increasingly common for recruiters and hiring managers to schedule telephone interviews rather than an in person meet up. While some of us “palm sweaters” may be beyond relieved to hear this, it’s important to note that a phone interview is a whole different ball game and brings its own set of challenges.

Not to worry, here’s everything you need to know about nailing your next telephone interviews:

  1. Confirm the type of “phone call”

These days there is not just one type of phone call for interviews.  Always confirm whether this will be a traditional phone call or video call.  You never want to be caught off guard with a Facebook Messenger Call or Facetime call.  This will allow you to pick a professional (or at least tidy) backdrop, should you need to be video ready.  You will also want to make sure you have the proper app or software downloaded prior to the call. There is nothing worse than showing up late to phone interview because you can’t blame traffic.


  1. Choose an appropriate place

Choose a quiet and neutral setting for your interview. Nothing too noisy or someplace where you have little control over background noise.  I’ve seen people try to interview from a Starbucks or even while they are out for a jog.  Just because it’s a phone interview, doesn’t mean you can get too casual.  Make sure the place you’ve chosen has good reception and identify a nearby second option in case you have difficulty with your first choice.


  1. Ignore other incoming calls

It is possible that you will receive an incoming call, text, social media notification, etc. during your call.  Don’t panic! If it’s a call and there is repeated interruption, let your interviewer know what’s going on.  Don’t just ask them to repeat that last part – it makes you sound like you are not paying attention.  Tell them you had an incoming call that cut off the last part of their statement and would they mind repeating that last bit.  This way they know you were paying attention, but lost sound.  Also, silence as many of your phone notifications as possible before the call to minimize distractions.  And whatever you do, don’t read or try to respond to anything while on the interview.  Whatever it is, it can wait. Silences are only made more obvious over the phone.


  1. Practice the art of “sounding“ friendly

First impressions get a little trickier when you’re on the phone, but its not impossible to give off a great vibe, even if all they have to go on is your voice.  They key is to keep your “interview” face on, even if they can’t see it.  Keep that smile on your face for the entirety of your interview. Believe it or not, it comes across.  Also, try to get any shakiness out of your voice and keep your tone at a warm, slightly deeper octave. Humming just before your interview can help with this.  Also, don’t speak too quickly or loudly and be sure to take extra care in your annunciations.


  1. Come prepared

When you show up to a traditional interview, it is common to have a few staples:  Pen, paper, copies of your resume or c/v, a list of questions, and even a portfolio. However, it’s easy to forget these items when the interview is via phone.  Take everything you would typically take to an interview to ensure you are well prepared to answer questions and jot down any information you may need at a later time.

Other Resources for this topic:

For more interview tips see more of our blog posts!

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