Telephone interviews are typically the first screening interviews. These interviews are very important. This type of interview will get you through to the next stage. If you haven’t done this type of interview before, they’re also quite different to usual interviews. You do need to prepare in advance for telephone interviews.

We’ve created a few useful telephone interview preparation tips to help you. A telephone interview is actually pretty straightforward, but you need to understand the basics to do well in these interviews.

Telephone interviews fundamentals

A telephone interview is typically an audio-only interview, although some employers and recruiters now use video as well. The type of media used for the interview does matter.

A few basic points at this stage:

  • If you’re using a mobile phone, make sure your reception is excellent. You don’t want to be constantly asking the interviewer to repeat or clarify questions. You may be forgiven if your call drops out, but it’s not a great outcome.
  • Find a quiet place, where you can answer interview questions properly. Background noise may be inevitable, but you need to be able to hear what the interviewer is asking clearly.
  • Make yourself comfortable. A good chair can make you feel a lot better while you’re doing the interview. Declutter the space and remove any distractions so you can focus on the interviewer.

Phone interview questions

Phone interview questions tend to be “checklist” questions. You pass this type of interview by giving the right answers, within a bandwidth of acceptable answers. In this sense, the phone interview is very like a normal interview. Prepare well in advance, rehearse your answers, and think about answer quality.

These are the critical issues for phone interview questions:

  • Listen. These questions can be just as complex as any regular interview.
  • Ask questions if you don’t understand the questions you’re given. If you don’t understand the question, ask for clarification.
  • Think before you speak. You only get one shot at these questions. Don’t speak until you know what you want to say. Don’t rush yourself, consider your answers.
  • Focus! Remember you need to show the right skills, experience, and knowledge. Many people tend to get a bit casual on the phone, and speak conversationally when they should be focusing on the questions and their answers.
  • Stay alert. Some questions can be very important, like qualifications, licensing, experience on particular systems, or other core essential skills for the job.
  • Don’t get lost for words, express yourself properly. Some people get shy at the wrong time during interviews. Present yourself and your skills and credentials for the job well. If you’re asked why you should be considered for the job, refer to your proven skills, achievements, and experience.

The right outcome

After a successful telephone interview, standard procedure is that you will be told more about the next phase of selection. That’s one of the more positive things you learn to appreciate about phone interviews; they’re quick and very efficient.

We hope you’ve found our telephonic interview tips useful. Good luck!