How To Ace Your Telephone Interview

Most employers receive hundreds of CVs and cover letters hours after announcing they are recruiting. The internet made the job application process much faster. You can have your CV sent to a hiring manager’s electronic mailbox with one click of your mouse. Some companies are also changing the procedures for recruiting new staff. One of the most common new strategies used by employers is screening candidates by phone. If you’ve never had a phone interview before, you might be wondering what to expect.

Phone interviews are just as important as traditional face-to-face meetings. It’s a huge mistake not to take a phone interview seriously because you don’t have to put on professional attire or head outside. Always keep in mind that your ultimate goal is to be invited into the office. You can only achieve this by having an exceptional conversation on the phone first.

Prepare for a phone interview the same way you would if you had to meet with a recruiter in person. Do research and practice answering questions about your CV. You need to have a good grasp on what the company does. Employers know that many people abuse the online job application process by sending their CVs out to dozens of businesses they know nothing about. Some people mistakenly think that this is a good way to get a job faster. You need to show your potential employer that you are not one of these people. Do this by reading up on the company and studying the original job advertisement. This won’t take up a lot of your time and will show that you are serious about wanting that position.


Set everything up before the phone rings. Have your CV and the job / people spec in front of you, so you don’t forget to mention any relevant work experience or skills. Write down any questions you may have. If you don’t, you might get nervous and forget to ask them.

Don’t miss the call. Things can come up and you might get called a little earlier or later than originally planned. Emergencies or impromptu meetings can affect the time you are called for your interview. Employers expect you to be prepared at least half an hour before or after the allotted time.

When the phone rings, keep your answers short and to the point. Employers who conduct phone interviews are looking to save time and money. Tell them why you are interested in working for them and what you can bring to the table if hired. Express any questions or concerns you want addressed. Ask when and how you will be contacted. Some recruiters contact candidates after the phone interview by e-mail and others call back.

Phone interviews can last anywhere from ten minutes to an hour. The length of time you are conversing doesn’t always correspond to how well you are doing. Don’t worry about your performance during the actual interview. Remain confident, calm, and collected. Your goal is to get an invitation to meet with the recruiter in person. You can worry about the rest later.

With 20+ years of experience writing CVs, it still puts a smile on my face when I hear a client has secured an interview Lee Tonge - Founder and Director


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