7 Ways to Nail a Telephone Interview

Robin Judson |

We see more and more of our clients conducting introductory interviews by phone instead of in person.  We also use telephone interviews to screen potential candidates.  The telephone interview differs in numerous ways from the in-person interview.  What is the best way to nail the interview and make it to the next round?

As an interviewer, I am influenced by the body language, demeanor and expressions of candidates that I interview.  There is also eye contact.  The phone interview offers none of that. Skype, Facetime and video conferences offer their own set of challenges but with the telephone interview, it’s all in the voice, enunciation and choice of words.  So, how does one nail the telephone interview?

  1. Find a place that is quiet and where there will be no interruptions. Trains, coffee shops and restrooms are not the best places to go.  If you take over a conference room, make sure that a large group will not head in for a meeting while you are speaking.
  2. If possible, use a landline rather than a cellphone. It will minimize the likelihood of an echo, electrified voices and dropped calls.  If you must use a cellphone, try a head set to minimize noisy distractions for you and provide a clearer sound for the interviewer.
  3. Have a copy of your resume in front of you and as always, be prepared to talk about anything that is on the resume in detail. It can be helpful to have a single sheet of paper with points that you would like to make before the end of the interview and questions to ask.  That is one advantage of a telephone interview since you cannot have your list in front of you during an in-person interview. Make sure you have water with you to keep your voice fresh.
  4. When you speak, make sure that you convey energy and enthusiasm in your voice to compensate for the lack of body language and expression. Make sure you “sell” yourself.  A lack of enthusiasm in your voice may mean no in-person interview later.
  5. There can be awkward silences on a phone call. Be careful not to interrupt the interviewer but jump in with a question or a comment rather than leaving too much silence.
  6. At the end of the call, be sure to thank the interviewer, express your interest in the role and ask for next steps.
  7. Send your thank you note just as you would after an in-person meeting.

Good luck!


If you found this article helpful you might also want to check out “Take Five Crucial Steps to a Successful Job Search

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