How to Ace your Telephone Interview

There are two types of telephone interviews:

A planned interview is when you are given a specific time and date.

spontaneous interview is when the employer can call at any time. It is perfectly fine if you receive the call at an inconvenient time to reschedule. Simply say something along the lines of “thank you so much for your call, unfortunately I am not in a position to take your call at the moment. When would be a good time to call back?”

Before the interview

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Consider the following;

  • What are the company’s goals?
  • How will your role support their plans? 
  • What kind of person are they looking for? 
  • How do your skills and experience meet the criteria?

One of the best things about a telephone interview is the opportunity to have notes with you when you are answering questions. Write clear notes on the key points you wish to make, questions you want to ask and a copy of your CV.

Remember - when preparing questions keep these two goals in mind: to gather more information to determine if you want to go further; and to show you are perfect for the job.


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Be ready 15 minutes before the interview so you do not come across rushed. If you plan to do the interview on a mobile, make sure it is fully charged. Use paper and a pen to take notes as keyboard clicks can be distracting for the interviewer. 


During the interview


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The interviewer will lead the conversation, explaining more about the role and the purpose of the telephone interview. Let them take control and try not to interrupt.


Then Speak

On the telephone you have to make a good impression purely with your voice as the interviewer can’t see you smiling or looking interested.

  • It’s very important to keep your answers straight to the point as telephone interviews can have a time limit
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer if your response has fully answered the question
  • Drink water before hand to ensure your voice is clear
  • Sit up straight and smile as this will positively impact your tone of voice

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Make sure you sign off by asking about the next steps and then wait a few hours and send a follow up email saying you look forward to hearing from them.


By Akanele Kalu
Posted on 15 February 2016
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