How to nail a telephone interview

Because recruiters and HR managers receive so many applications for each vacancy, it’s often difficult, if not impossible to conduct a face-to-face in interview with everyone. As a result of this, the pre-screen telephone interview has become more prevalent in modern day recruiting. But why, what’s the purpose of the telephone interview. Two things. Firstly, if you’re relocating or travel is an issue, telephone interviews are one way around this. But more importantly, it enables recruiters to narrow the pool of candidates.

Just like a regular face-to-face interview, it’s crucial to make a great first impression. To get ready for your next telephone interview, much of the preparation is similar, but take a look at these tips so you know how to nail a telephone interview.

1. Do Your Research

As with most things, preparation is key. You’re looking to learn the basics about the company so that you’re prepared to answer the questions “why do you want to work here?”. You’ll want to find out a few things about the company which you can learn from the website; size & structure, size of the team you’ll be working in, the products & services they offer & as a bonus, find out if the company has anything news worthy happen recently. By finding these things out, you’ll be able to tailor your answers specifically to the company, and thus be able to WOW your interviewer on the other end of the phone.


“so, do you know what year was our company was founded?”

2. Have your CV to hand

Unlike a face-to-face interview, this is a great hack you can deploy, which is useful to ease you into the discussion. More often than not, interviews start with the interviewer saying something like “tell me a little bit about you”. By having your CV in front of you, you’re able to pick out relevant experiences and wont be stumped by the question. Having your CV to hand, and having a read of it before the call starts, prepares you for most questions that can be asked and gives you plenty of examples to call upon.

3. Note taking

It’s gonna be very difficult, if not impossible to have a successful telephone interview without being somewhere you can concentrate and take notes. If nothing else, having a pen and paper to hand helps you to focus and pay attention. As well as write down any questions that come to mind, so that when you’re asked if you have any questions at the end of the interview, what you say is really relevant to the conversation you’ve just had; it shows that you’re attentive and interested in what the interviewer has to say.

4. Listen

Whilst this seems obvious, candidates often forget this, and fail to have a telephone interview conversation that flows nicely. Making sure you let the interviewer finish their sentence, and paying attention to what they’re saying will position you better to give good answers relevant to the job, rather than just spout pre-prepared statements on why you’re the best candidate. Remember, its as important to impress the telephone interviewer as it will be to give a favourable impression to whomever you meet face-to-face.

5. Follow up

The telephone interview is all about creating a great first impression, and there’s no better way to achieve this than sending a follow up email to show that you’re engaged with the recruitment process and keen on the role. Sending a thank you or follow up email just thanking the interviewer for their time, and maybe referencing something from your conversation helps you stand out and reinforces your interest in the opportunity.

So there it is, the top tips to nail a telephone interview. Remember its all about effective preparation to make a great first impression to secure the next stage, a face-to-face interview!