5 Insider Telephone Interview Tips to Secure Your Next Job

We’ve compiled the 5 key telephone interview tips you’ll need to impress your interviewer and give you the best chance at success. You’re welcome.

12 minute read

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Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve (most likely) managed to overcome the first hurdle of the job application.

Now you’re moving on to interviews, it’s time to cover some of the more advanced things you’ll need to ace your interview.

Here, we’re covering our top telephone interview tips. If that phrase conjures up images of a slippers/pyjamas combo, you could be making your first mistake, meaning you’re likely in need of some pointers.  

But even if it doesn’t, these tips will guide you through the entire process and ensure you’re well placed to ace your telephone interview.

Why Do You Need Our Telephone Interview Tips?

First off, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about why telephone interviews are so important.

Usually, they are the first part of the process after your initial application. This means it’s also the first, and most important, impression the interviewer will get of you. 

But in today’s digital & socially distant hiring world, telephone interviews are becoming more common.

In fact, we’ve seen a 23% increase in their use, suggesting it’s something more and more businesses on (and off) Jump.Work are turning to as a safe and reliable way to assess candidates.

That’s why we thought we’d let them do the talking and give you their best telephone interview tips. After all, they’re the experts.

So, after a few calls and a few shopping lists worth of advice, we’ve compiled their 5 best tips to ensure you’ll know what to expect and how to handle it like a pro.

Let’s get started.

 

1. Treat It Like an In-Person Interview

This one is a biggie, so really deserves the #1 spot. Not only is it one of the biggest bits of feedback we got, but it’s also a sentiment echoed by The Interview Guys and Reed. Regardless, it’s vital to address.

You would start thinking about an in-person interview from the moment you wake up (or even the night before). Do the same here.

Wear something that you would wear to the office, which means… NO PYJAMAS! While you should be comfortable, it’s as important to be professional, including when interviewing by phone.

Other things to consider:

  • Be on time, ready to start your interview 10-15 minutes beforehand. 
  • Consider how you answer the phone and converse with the interviewer – think colleague, not best mate.
  • Give the interviewer your full attention and don’t let yourself be distracted (we’ll come back to this one later).

These will all contribute to getting into the right mindset and ensure you give a professional and respectful impression.

On the flip-side, treating it like a face-to face interview means all our top interview tips can also be used here to ensure you ace your telephone interview. The most relevant of which is…

2. Do Your Research/Prepare

This telephone interview tip is another big one, and will be crucial to your success.

In fact, not doing this is one of the biggest interview mistakes you can make. Actually, it’s the #1 most common mistake interviewers see.

So, do your research. Make sure you answer the phone with a good understanding of the role, the business, and maybe even your interviewer.

Besides the company’s websites, one great tool you should definitely use to aid your research is LinkedIn. It can help find information about all the things I mentioned above, as well as guide you to any relevant articles that could give you a bit of extra knowledge.

It can also help to identify if you have any friends or connections who may work at the company you’re applying to. This can be a great way to get some insider knowledge that can really give you an edge in your interview.

Unsure about how to use LinkedIn? This article has a great guide on how to best use it in your interview research.

Of course, there is also some specific preparation that you may want to do for speaking on the phone, especially if it doesn’t come naturally to you.

There are a lot of ways to prepare for a telephone interview, but asking a friend or family member to help you with a “mock interview” over the phone can be really helpful for building confidence. After all, your interviewer only has your voice to go on, so it’s important you remain, and sound, confident.

3. Telephone Interview ‘Cheat Sheet’

Small disclaimer: While this tip didn’t come from the hiring teams we spoke with, we did learn this killer telephone interview tip from talking to a few colleagues at Jump about their personal experiences. So it’s still valid, and I think, very valuable.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to treat your telephone interview like a normal interview. But it’s also good to recognise the benefits of not being face-to-face with your interviewer, and using them to your advantage.

When preparing, put together a “cheat sheet” that contains key information and great points that you want to keep handy and make sure you cover on your call. This could include:

  • Relevant CV or cover letter information
  • Information or work you may have been asked to pre-prepare
  • Answers to tough questions, especially competency-based questions
  • Questions you want to ask (more on this later)
  • Any other relevant info you want to keep to hand

With this tip, the how is more important as the what. Although a “cheat sheet” can be very helpful, it has to be done correctly, so as not to distract from the interview itself. 

It can be tempting to put together fully prepared answers or points that you think will impress your interviewer. However, by doing this, you really run the risk of sounding monotonous, unengaged, or, worst-case scenario, bored. It can also leave you scrambling when an unprepared topic comes up, which is not what you want. 

Instead, use buzzwords and phrases to jog your memory. This will make sure you give great answers while keeping you naturally engaged with the conversation. For example, if you want to remember a STAR answer, a single buzzword for each part will keep you on topic and on track to succeed.

4. Be Zen

This point takes us back to tip #2 a little bit, but your tone and phone etiquette is so important here, it’s worth expanding on a little more.

With your voice the only thing the interviewer has to judge you by, you need to make sure you’re calm, collected, and in control.

Remove any distractions from your surroundings – especially if you’re at home, make sure you find a quiet and private space for the duration of your interview. Any kind of distraction can throw you off your rhythm and leave you panicking for an answer.

Slow down. Breathe. Take your time. 

This advice is crucial. You want to make the conversation as natural as possible (as if you were face-to-face). So listen carefully to the interviewer, wait for them to finish, and then respond carefully, clearly, and confidently. 

It can also be tempting here to rattle off your answer, but make sure to speak at an understandable pace to give the interviewer time to register and judge what you are saying.

If you’re worried about keeping on top of this, here’s a handy tip – take a sip of water before you answer a question. It will give you the time to relax, compose yourself, and gather your thoughts. This one has never failed me.

5. Prepare Some Questions to Ask

When speaking on the phone, it’s particularly important to make sure the conversation goes both ways. Asking questions is a great way to do this.

Whether you incorporate some into your cheat sheet or think of them as you go along, asking questions also means you get a better sense of the role and the company, and whether you could see yourself working there.

Questions also reflect your interests and priorities, and will help give an interviewer a better sense of your personality, which is another great bonus.

Of course, there are some questions which will really help you stand out – at Jump, we reckon there are nine of them.

Curious? Here’s our top interview questions to ask.

Ready to Ace Your Telephone Interview?

So with our 5 telephone interview tips all covered, you should be well on your way to mastering phone interviews and getting through to the next stage of your application process.

Typically, this would be a face-to-face interview, but in today’s climate, it could also be a video interview, which we will have a similar guide on for you soon…

Until then, these telephone interview tips should hold you in good stead and get you one step closer to landing your next job.

So if you only took one thing from this article – Don’t. Wear. Pyjamas.

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