9 tips to help you pass your next telephone interview

Photo by Miryam León on Unsplash

In today’s competitive job market, securing a phone interview is a fantastic step forward to securing your next dream job.

The hard work you put into creating a detailed and eye-catching CV paid off, you have done your research and now it is time to conduct the first telephone interview… but it might have been some time since your last phone interview, or you might have never conducted one before for this industry, now your excitement turns to panic.

To help you through this step as much as we can, we have compiled some of the best tips we know to help you progress forward to the next round. When we work with you, we do our best to talk you through how the phone screening will go in as much detail as possible for each unique company, providing insider knowledge and extra tips along the way, however, if you decide to apply for a role without our support then save this article and refer back to it when you need it.

Get clear on the details

Before the call takes place, you want to be clear on the details, this means understanding who you are speaking with (their job title), if there is more than one person, what time the call is (and time zone), what number they will be calling and any specifics you can find out about the structure of the call.

If you are working with Peritus Partners, we will give you all of this as part of our interview perpetration process, alternately if you are applying solo, ask the internal recruiter or hiring manager directly.

Feel free to use this template to find out this information:

Example #1:

Hello [Name],

I am looking forward to speaking with you on [date]. I wanted to confirm the time once more to make sure I have the correct information, I have [time (with zone)] on my side, can you please confirm.

Also, if there is any specific information you would like me to prepare, please let me know.

All the best

[Your Name]

Job description to hand

Make sure you have the correct job specification in front of you when the interview takes place. If you have been applying to lots of companies, either ask for the ‘latest’ job description ahead of the interview or, if you have been tracking your applications you should have it saved.

Again, if you work with Peritus Partners, we will attach the job description for you ahead of time. Open up the description on your computer/laptop allowing for easy reference during the call.

Don’t forget the CV

Similar to the job description, you will want to have your CV close by. Especially if this is a first stage interview as it is rather likely the interviewer will reference your CV and ask questions about what you have written.

Having it to hand will allow for you to not only follow the questions easier, but you could also aid your answers by specifying particular parts within your CV, making the telephone interview a little more visual.

Minimise distractions and noise

Wireless headphones and telephones have powerful receivers, and some will very easily pick up surrounding noise, amplifying it for the interviewer.

Where you can, minimise noise but also distractions. Anything that can you take your attention away from staying present during the interview.

If a distraction occurs (a dog barking for example), apologise and continue in a professional manner.

Signal strength

Hopefully, both yours and the interviewer’s telephone signals are strong enough to cause no issues, however, if you run into a few simply ask them to repeat the question or if an issue persists suggest another form of communication (Zoom, Hangouts, Skype etc.).

Slow down

Do your best where you can to slow yourself down in your answers, this applies to telephone and in-person interviews.

When a question is asked, we are often quick to jump in with an answer, instead take a moment to reflect on the question, find its true meaning and structure an appropriate answer.

The extra seconds will help structure a better answer but help portray a more confident tone in your voice.

Stay hydrated

An average telephone interview will usually last around 45 minutes to 1 hour. With the majority of that time (75%) reserved for you to speak, that is a lot of talk time. Having a glass of water nearby to help reduce dry mouth as well as relax you a little more throughout the call, you could also time in sips of water with the previous tip of slowing down (just don’t take water every pause, otherwise they might think you are a fish!).

Questions at the ready

Questions are extremely important, it doesn’t matter if it is your first or last interview, you should always have questions at the ready. We have compiled a comprehensive guide that you can use to formulate questions across a number of topics (https://www.perituspartners.co.uk/peritus+/media-centre-applicants/applicant-interview-questions)

If you choose to not use our guide, then simply having your questions noted on a piece of paper or digital document is also okay, as long as they are easy to find during the interview.

Ask about the next steps

Finally, the last tip we suggest would be to actively ask about the next steps at the end of the interview. Be proactive in your process, it is better to know where you stand than be left in the dark.

If you are speaking with a hiring manager directly, you might get positive or negative feedback straight away, if you are speaking with someone from the recruitment team, you will likely have to wait.

If the feedback is negative for any reason, whilst on the call look to learn why and help yourself grow for next time.

You now have some of the best tips we actively share with our partners, use these to develop your interviewing skills and over time it will become a lot easier. If you want more help, check out our other articles or reach out to us today for more tailored recruitment support across Design, Product, Software, Data and Cloud.

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Eden Whitcomb

Eden Whitcomb

Bringing simplicity to the chaos of recruitment, one educational post at a time.