5 tips for acing telephone interviews

Published on: 2 Apr 2019


Image: Jean Scheijen

The way we work is changing. Now more than ever more of us are working from home or putting in flexible hours as opposed to the traditional 9-5 – and this means the way we find, apply for and interview for jobs is also undergoing major changes.

Telephone interviews are now a very common obstacle for jobseekers, and many first interviews will be conducted by phone in order to save time and money for both the employer and prospective employee. But when you get that email or phone call notifying you of your telephone interview, will you be prepared to ace it?

In case it's new to you, or is something you need to work on, here are five top tips for acing your telephone interview.

1. Treat it like a regular interview

Just because you're on the phone, doesn't mean its not a real interview. Get dressed, turn off anything that could distract you, and prepare in the way you normally would for a face-to-face meeting.

2. Prepare your call area

Before the call comes in, get everything that you need around the area where you expect to take the call. Get a glass of water, notepad, pen, your personal statement from your application, and anything else you think you may need. You don't want to be rushing around trying to find your degree transcript in the middle of the interview.

3. Write down some notes and a few questions to ask

Just like in a regular interview, the employer will be impressed if you come with questions to ask about the role and the organisation. Write these down beforehand and practice them, then deploy them when the time is right.

4. Speak slowly, clearly and succinctly

Of course, this is a must. It may sound simple, but plenty of people get flustered, nervous and talk too fast during telephone interviews, so don't be one of them. To practice, you could try some role-plays with your friends. Clear, slow speech the is best way to get yourself that job.

5. Be flexible

Most telephone interviews will have an allotted duration, but something things can get off track or run over. You need to be flexible enough to handle anything they throw your way (just like in a face-to-face interview), so do your research and make sure you've left nothing to chance.