How to ace your interview: Telephonic Interviews

Last week we published the first of a series of interview guidelines (How to ace your interview: One-on-one), which we are publishing to assist all our readers in their interview process.

The second part in the series pertains to telephonic interviews. These interviews are scheduled interviews that take place between a recruiter or employer and a candidate who has applied for a position and the interview is conducted telephonically. More companies are now using telephonic interviews in the initial stages of the hiring process.

The reason why telephonic interviews are scheduled, would be any of the following:

  1. Geographic location makes it difficult or impossible to speak face to face. In this instance, the candidate and the client or recruiter are based across countries or even across continents.
  2. Diary-management: If you find that the interview would take
  3. Convenience : It is easier to have an initial discussion with someone to ascertain their suitability according to the minimum job requirements telephonically, than to schedule a date for an unsuitable or disinterested candidate or client.

Alright, so you have landed the telephonic interview and you are are waiting for the prospective employer or the recruiter to call you at the agreed-upon time. Before taking the call, you would have had to do a few things in preparation.

Here’s a checklist of things to do, to help prepare you for the telephone interview:

  1. Find a quiet place to answer the phone and review company background beforehand so that you are in the right mindset and are well-prepared
  2. Make sure you smile when answering your phone as your smile will come across in your voice
  3. Consider standing up, rather than sitting down to keep you alert and to maintain your confidence or enthusiasm during the call
  4. Come across as confident and capable and show enthusiasm.
  5. Always be polite
  6. Do not interrupt the person that is interviewing you
  7. Finally, make sure you keep a copy of your CV, notes and other documentation on hand in case you need to refer to it during the call.
  8. Have separate concise lists of your accomplishments, strengths and skills available to review.
  9. Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.
  10. If the time isn’t convenient, request if you could talk at an alternative time.
  11. Consider using a land-line rather than your mobile as landlines generally clearer and more reliable.
  12. Speak slowly and enunciate clearly
  13. Always put across the details on your experience, skills and your strong points.

My advice is to practice with a friend beforehand as this is the best preparation for a telephonic interview.

While you’re actively searching for a job it is important to be prepared for a telephonic interview at short notice. You can be rejected at this early interview stage if you are inadequately prepared or not used to speaking in a professional manner over the phone.

What makes telephonic interviews slightly more difficult is that the situation can feel unnatural and it can be difficult to build rapport with the interviewer. Many candidates find it hard to get into an interview mindset when talking to interviewers over the telephone.

After a phone interview send an email thank you email to the Recruiter or prospective employer.

I hope that this article was helpful.


Don’t forget…. If you have any requests around interviews or questions you would like answered, then now is the time to ask.

,Fowzia Gamiet

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If you have any questions pertaining to interviews, please comment below.

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