Make sure you research into the company, think about the questions they may ask and make notes on how you’ll respond. The beauty of a telephone interview is you can have your notes in front of you and scan them whilst they ask you the questions. Read over the job description that was advertised and make sure you understand the responsibilities of the role and how your experience relates to these. The interviewer will often use these as a basis for their questions so make sure you can give examples of how your skills match those required. Make sure to prepare thoughtful questions you can ask at the end, include questions to find out the next stages of the application process and when can you expect to hear back.
Review your CV and/or application
Make sure you have your CV and/or application to hand and remind yourself of what they know about you already. This is a great starting point in preparing for the questions they may ask, for example, around your previous work experience.
Remember their name
When the interviewer introduces his/herself, jot down their name. You can then use it when you ask any questions at the end and thank them for their time, they will appreciate this personal touch and it will come into use for any future conversations you may have with them and/or the company.
Be confident in your answers
It’s usual to be a little nervous before the interview, but try to answer with confidence. They are looking for someone who knows what they are talking about and can speak about what they can bring to the company. The fact that you have been offered a telephone interview in the first place shows that from your CV they feel you have the potential to get the position, so don’t be afraid to show them this!
They may not be able to see your body language or expressions but make sure you sound enthusiastic on the phone and genuinely excited about the job. Smiling whilst talking may seem strange when you’re on your own, but the interviewer will be able to hear it in your tone of voice.
Take your time
Try not to get flustered by any unexpected questions and don’t be afraid of silences. The interviewer would prefer you took the time to think about your answer rather than dive in and waffle on.
Switch off the TV, tell your family and/or friends not to disturb you during the interview and seek out a quiet space where the dog can’t barge in and trample over your notes.
Don’t rely on your laptop to frantically google any question you’re unsure of how to answer during the interview. Make sure you have done your research into the company and think of your previous work experience and how you can relate this to the job you are interviewing for. If you don’t understand or hear a question asked properly the first time, don’t be afraid to ask them politely to repeat the question as this may give you time to think of an answer.
Eating during a telephone interview is incredibly noticeable and not professional. Have a power snack before the interview to give you an energy boost and ensure your rumbling stomach is not a distraction.
Read off a script
It is a great idea to prepare answers to potential questions and have these in front of you before the interview, but don’t just reel it off as it will be obvious by your tone. It is often useful to make bullet points rather than a descriptive answer and use these as prompts when answering questions. Make sure you sound natural, enthusiastic and genuinely interested in the job whilst speaking to the interviewer.
Worry about silences
The interviewer will need time to write notes about your answers so don’t worry if there are a few silences and little feedback on some of your answers; they have to make sure they’ve captured your answers to review later.