How To Win At Telephone Interviews

Written by keith
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cell_phone_woman_female_300x300For the more hotly contested jobs in the market it’s not unusual for the first round of interviews to be over the phone. This can be an uncomfortable experience for even the best-trained job seekers.

The reasons are numerous – you are often in the middle of something else when the phone ring, you may be out and about so can’t hear them properly, you might be you’re tired, etc. All of these factors and more can contribute to the stress of the situation. So when there is a chance of a telephone interview a game plan is essential. Here are 5 tips to help you get the upper hand when it comes to telephone interviews.



There are several reasons for this. Firstly, you’re unlikely to miss the call since most people keep their cellphone nearby at all times.

Secondly, if you see a number that you don’t recognize, compose yourself, then quickly find somewhere quiet and answer it politely and professionally. “Good morning, Nancy speaking,” sounds better than a slurred “Yeah?” while out at a bar!

Lastly, as soon as the call is over save the number into your phone so you will be ready for the next time that they call.



Most telephone interviews will be carried out between 9 and 5 on a weekday so ensure you’re as free and ready as possible during this time period. Don’t sleep until 1pm and miss the call. Don’t go to a baseball match where the crowd is so loud you can’t think when they call.



Try to get some ideas on the job. Keep the job posting information and do some research on the company so when the company call you’ll be prepared for the conversation.



Voice coaches suggest standing up (or even walking around) and physically forcing yourself to smile.  This will make your voice sound friendly, warm and energetic. You can use your hands to talk. Just don’t sit in a heap with a frown on your face. A telephone interview is a performance, so make it good! Your interviewer will notice how different you sound to all the other people they have rung so far that day – and that’s a good thing!



Wherever you can, try to build rapport with the caller. Simple often works. Here’s an example of how the conversation might go if you put some effort in…

  • Good morning, John speaking.
  • Hello John, this is Natasha calling from XYZ Inc. I’ve been looking over your resume and I wondered if you had a few minutes to spare so we can have a chat about it?
  • Sure Natasha. Now is fine. How’s your day going so far?
  • Not too bad actually John – thanks for asking.

In the example above, you leveled with her. You were as interested in her as she is in you. And people love to talk about themselves – so use this to your advantage.

Make the most of these 5 points and they will help you have some real successes with telephone interviews.

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