Telephone interview tips

Posted October 13, 2011, by Helen Isbister

Do make sure you don’t have a silly voicemail or answering machine message.

Don't make them think you’re crazy and/or unprofessional before you even get to do the interview.

Do get someone on the phone before the big day so you can practise going through some of your answers.

Don't talk to a friend during the interview. Make sure call-waiting is deactivated and do the interview in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.

Do conduct the interview on a landline.

Don't rely on a mobile – they can be a little unpredictable. 

Do get out of bed, have a shower and get dressed.

Don't wear a ratty pair of pyjamas. The interviewer won't be able to see your teddy bear-covered boxers, but you will feel and sound more professional if you make an effort to look sharp. 

Do take advantage of the fact the interviewer can't see you. Have your resume and notes on stand-by so you can refer to them.

Don't write out your answers word for word and recite them parrot-fashion.

Do speak clearly and concisely. It can be more difficult to understand people over the phone.

Don't be scared of silence. Rambling to fill in the vacant airwaves is not going to get you anywhere – they are probably considering your response or getting ready to ask the next question.

Do smile as you speak – it will make you sound warm and enthusiastic.

Don't be tempted to guzzle food during the interview – if you tend to eat when you are nervous, make sure you put the custard tarts in the other room.

Do finish off the interview by asking questions about the job and the company and thanking the interviewer for their time.

Don't think that because it's a phone interview you can skip the usual formalities.

Helen Isbister

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