Preparing for a telephone interview

The thought of having a telephone interview instead of face to face can be unnerving because you cannot gauge how interviewers are feeling towards you, as much as you can when face to face.

However, whilst this can be daunting, in an age where telecommunication is growing and we have technology like Skype and FaceTime, employers will make use of the telephone interview more and more.

There is no need to be scared of telephone interviews; you should look at them as a chance to be in control and provided you’ve done your research and prepared thoroughly, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

So, to be prepared:

  • Know your CV off by heart and make sure you’ve printed out a copy and have it to hand;
  • Get your story straight; if there are any gaps in your CV make sure you can fill them in and practice telling your employment history over and over again to make sure it sounds natural;
  • Have a printed copy of the job description to hand and make sure you fully understand what’s required and why you fit the description;
  • Make sure you have done a lot of company research and understand the market, target audience, their competitors, challenges they have faced over the past few years and anything else that you feel is relevant;
  • Find out who your interviewer is going to be and research them. Use LinkedIn and Google and you’ll be surprised what you can come up with;
  • When setting a date for the phone interview, double check that you are going to be available and won’t be called into a meeting or interrupted by your partner or children;
  • Make sure you’ve chosen a comfortable setting for the interview, for instance ensure it’s a quiet place and that you have a table to place your documents on, a seat to sit in, a glass of water nearby etc;
  • Practice answering questions in your chosen setting, to see how you feel most confident. For instance some people prefer to stand when being interviewed on the phone as it makes their voice sound stronger, whereas others feel more in control when they are seated;
  • Organise for the call to be made to your landline, the last thing you want is to lose signal on a mobile in the middle of an interview. However, if you do need to use a mobile make sure that you have their number to call back on, in case of a disconnect;
  • Remove any distractions from the immediate area; humans are naturally inquisitive and sometimes we just can’t help ourselves but you certainly don’t want to give your interviewer the impression that you aren’t paying attention.

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