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Telephone Interviews

Telephone ImageTelephone interviews are increasingly used as one of the first stages in the recruitment process. But what are they all about?





What is a telephone interview?
A telephone interview does what it says on the tin. A time will be arranged for somebody to call you and interview you over the phone. This may be somebody who works for the company you are applying to or somebody from a different company commissioned to conduct telephone interviews. Generally a telephone interview will take you to the next step in the recruitment process.

It is still important to prepare!
Treat a telephone interview in the exact same way you would if you had to attend a face-to-face interview. An advantage of a telephone interview is that you can surround yourself with notes to prompt you – just make sure they you don’t make too much noise rustling bits of paper! You should also:

  • Dedicate your full attention to the phone call and try to be in a quiet environment where you will not be disturbed.
  • Try and use a land-line phone as mobile communication can be less reliable. If you do use a mobile, make sure you have a full battery and that the area you are in has a strong signal.
  • Try to make sure you have some time before the planned interview time to relax – it’s best not to answer the call when flustered.
  • Do your research as you would for a normal interview.
  • Answer the phone call professionally.
  • Be polite, speak clearly and slowly and don’t use slang.
  • Listen to the interviewer and the questions carefully – you won’t have the benefit of visual signals.
  • Don’t be distracted by other things – give all your focus to the interview.
  • Be aware of your body language and facial expression. Your tone of voice can change if you are slumped or frowning so sit up and try to smile whilst answering questions.
  • You don’t need to rush your questions just because you are talking on the phone – take your time and remember to breathe.
  • Ask questions to show your interest in the role.
  • Set voice-mail up on your phone and ensure that your greeting is appropriate.
It is also important to practice beforehand – The Careers and Placements Service offers daily appointments and weekly workshops to help with your interview preparation – visit CareerHub or call 01707 284791 to book your place.
Telephone Interview Video image
There is also help on the Jobs & Careers pages of StudyNet, including videos like this example telephone interview.
Image of Katharine Littlefair

Katharine Littlefair is a Careers and Placements Officer in the Careers and Placements Service at the University of Hertfordshire

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