Perfecting the Telephone Interview Technique

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Interviews are often a long process of multiple stages, and more and more employers are turning to the phone interview to help select the best candidates to progress to the next stage.

Recruiting new staff members can be stressful for employers, and many are using the phone interview to streamline this process and eliminate applicants according to certain criteria. For this reason, the phone interview may be specific to one area or factor, so it is an entirely different experience to an interview in person, and it is important to prepare for it as such.



1. Identify the purpose of the call. Some employers, particularly very large companies, use telephone interviews to screen applicants for specific criteria, whereas others employ the technique to assess how an applicant performs on the telephone or in a specific call-related task. This is likely to be the case if the job you are applying for involves telephone calls, particularly sales or follow up calls.

2. Establish rapport. If the call is just a basic procedure to confirm your details and your previous experience, for example, you may not have much chance to build up a rapport during conversation. However, smiling when you can and mirroring the tone and phrasing used by your interviewer can encourage a positive perception of you and make your responses sound more favourable.

3. Think about your voice. You don’t need voice coaching to succeed in a telephone interview, but it is a good idea to consider how you might come across to others. Mumbling, or sounding bored or frustrated, won’t give your interviewer a very positive impression of you and your application, so consider how you can express interest and professionalism with your tone and pitch.

4. Prepare yourself. Give yourself a head start on your competition by finding out how long the interview will take and what the purpose of it will be. If you will be modeling a telephone sales call, for instance, your preparation and research will be very different than for a call in which you are just having an initial chat. However, both scenarios will go more favourably if you have researched the company and its ethos, and are able to express your commitment to it as you talk.

5. Think positive. A telephone interview can be stressful, but it’s also a good way to make a positive initial impression on an employer. Try to see it as an opportunity to raise questions and to leave the interviewer wanting to meet you and find out more about you and your approach. Think positively, and imagine yourself flying through your interview and progressing to the next stage.

This originally appeared on