Five tips for telephone interviews

When you start your internship search, you may find that the initial interview stage is conducted over the telephone. Telephone interviews can feel quite nerve-wracking if you’ve never had one before and many people don’t really know what to expect. 
While telephone interviews are often the first ‘test’ to see if you’re a suitable candidate to invite to a face-to-face meeting, it’s still important to impress. Here are five top tips for a successful interview over the phone.

1. Keep your contact details up to date

There is often a long period of time between applying for a role and being given an interview date. Make sure you keep your potential employer updated with your current contact details to make sure they have the best number to call you on. If you don’t have a landline and are using your mobile, ensure you can be somewhere that has good signal for the interview.

2. Research and prepare

Research the organisation online and look over any information you’ve been sent – such as the job description and person specification. Also, try to research the activity of any direct competitors and the industry as a whole – it’s helpful to have some wider knowledge to add context to your answers.
Just because an interview is over the phone, it doesn’t mean it will be any less thorough than the usual process. Prepare notes and gather information like you would before a face-to-face interview.

3. Get your notes in order

The biggest advantage to telephone interviews is that you’re able to have notes with you for reference. Lengthy notes could actually prove distracting, but short, relevant notes or a helpful spider diagram about your experience or the company can be used to prompt your interview responses. Make sure your notes are clear and legible – don’t risk tripping over your words. Also, have a pen and spare paper handy to make additional notes.

4. Check your body language and tone

Be aware of your body language, even though the interview can’t see you. Typically, standing up can make you feel and sound more alert and confident. Remember to smile too, it will show in your voice.

5. Choose the right location

Make sure you have a quiet, comfortable space where you’re unlikely to be disturbed with noise or other interruptions. Ensure that your family/housemates etc. know you’re undertaking an interview so they know not to disturb you.
Once you have aced the telephone interview you may be called in for a face-to-face meeting. Check out our interview tips and you will be just as ready for that challenge as you were for the telephone interview.