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7 Tips to Nail a Telephone Interview

Businessman Waiting for an Interview

Telephone interviews are now a common part of the recruitment process. From Headhunters, recruitment consultants to in-house HR departments, many use telephone interviews to screen candidates to the next stage.

For you to excel and get to the next stage, here are 7 things to make sure you come out on top:

Find a quiet space

An obvious point but it is surprising how many candidates take interviews whilst walking down a busy street or with loud noises, people talking or dogs barking in the background. There is nothing more off-putting for a recruiter than battling to hear your answers over other noises, so make sure you find a quiet space where you will not be interrupted.

Be punctual and clear

Never keep a recruiter waiting so always make sure you are punctual. If you can’t be fully present for a telephone interview you are ultimately saying that you don’t value them or the job that you are applying for. Make sure your equipment and headphones are working correctly and that you have a good clear reception on your phone at all times through the call.


When on a telephone interview it is not the right time to be doing other things. Gazing our of the window and being distracted, typing an email to someone else or working out what you are going to tackle next on your ‘to do list’, is not the right time. Interviewers are trained to pick up the detail of what you are saying and they can also tell if you are not fully concentrating or if you are distracted. So place your focus of attention and be fully present in the conversation.

Do your research

Find out about the organisation before the interview. What you say on the telephone is just as important as a face-to-face interview, so do your preparation and be prepared to answer questions on the organisation or what your thoughts are on the impact of the role you are applying for.


Hone your communication skills. It can be tricky on a telephone call compared to face-to-face, but do not talk over the interviewer. Make sure they have finished asking their questions before you answer. If you need clarification then ask. Limit your habits of saying such things as ‘um’ and keep your answers clear and concise. Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer if you have provided enough information or if they need any further detail.

Ask Questions

Generally recruiters will give you the opportunity to ask questions at the end of most interviews. Ask one or two pertinent questions about the role. Do not skip this part as it is your opportunity to demonstrate you have done some research on the organisation and it also demonstrates your full interest in the role. Don’t have a long list that will take you over the allotted interview schedule, as that will simply irritate your interviewer. If you do have other questions you can simply add: ‘I will have other questions but I think they will be more appropriate at a later stage so I don’t take up too much of your time now’.

Leave Negotiations

Don’t be tempted to ask about salary and package details at this stage. You need to get through to the full interview stage and a job offer before you start trying to negotiate on the details so don’t be tempted!

Good luck!

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