Telephone Interview Tips

The telephone interview is an opportunity for both you and the employer to appraise and learn more about each other.  First impressions are extremely important so you must project a positive image from the onset.

The interviewer has no intentions to unruffle you or trip you up with trick questions. He or she simply wishes to view you in person and to find out what benefits and qualities you can impart on the company. Obviously, they will also be seeking to satisfy themselves that your skills and experience match the job and person specification.

During the telephone interview you should have an objective view on how the company can benefit you; and you should have already done your research on the company when you first applied for the job.

The essential key to interviews is simply being yourself throughout the conversation and confidently so.  Remember compatibility works both ways; you are also there to establish how the role could benefit you and your career.


  • Research: Find out as much as possible about the Company and the Job Description. The best place to start is at the Company’s website, this will provide you with the background information required
    • Look at the size and structure of the Company
    • The products and services they provide
    • The market which they operate in.
  • Prepare questions which you may want to ask: A phone interview will help you to find out more about the role and the company which you have applied for. It is useful to take some notes during the telephone interview
  • Have your CV to hand: The interviewer will more than likely discuss your CV with you and ask questions about our experience, having your CV will ease you into the call
  • Listen: Listen carefully to questions or information the interviewer is telling you, therefore if they don’t bring up something that you would like to know you are able to answer the inevitable question ‘any other questions’
  • Make sure you are in a quiet place when they ring and remember to breathe and sound confident and happy.
  • Request a job/ person specification prior to the meeting
  • Find out the interviewers name prior to the phone call
  • Conduct yourself politely
  • Thank the interviewer at the end of the conversation on time to end the interview on a positive note.


  • Treat it differently from a face to face interview: Remember to sound professional and sell yourself, they cannot see but they will be listening carefully so your answers must be strong
  • Get distracted: Remain focused, the interview should be a two way conversation so speak clearly and be attentive
  • Mumble: Speak clearly and do not eat or be distracted during the interview
  • Interrupt: Always let the interviewer finish their sentence and allow for a brief gap before you respond (there is a different between a hap and an awkward silence). This gap will give you time to think through your answers and you will not speak over the person
  • Sound bored – Show interest, do not yawn or sound dull. Be positive and avoid mumbling.

Questions to ask the Interviewer

These questions are presented only as interviewing guidelines.  They are meant to help prepare you for the interview.  Some of these questions may or may not be appropriate for your interviewing situation.

  1. Why is this position open?
  2. How often has it been filled in the past five years?
  3. What would you like done differently by the person who fills this position?
  4. What are some of the objectives you would like to see accomplished in this job?
  5. What would you like to see achieved in the next 3 months?
  6. What are some of the long term objectives you would like to see completed?
  7. What are some of the more difficult problems one would have to face in this position?
  8. How do you think these would be best handled?
  9. What type of support does this position receive in terms of people, finances etc?
  10. What freedom would I have in determining my own work objectives, deadlines and methods of measurement?
  11. What advancement opportunities are available for the person who is successful in this position, and within what time frame?
  12. What significant changes do you foresee in the near future?
  13. What accounts for success within the company?

Questions you may be asked

By practicing your responses to some of these questions, hopefully you will not be taken off guard if asked one of them.

  1. Tell me about yourself (try to hold your response to two minutes).
  2. What do you know about the company? You can use Google to research the Company, try to obtain 5 facts about the Company and what they do to help you.
  3. Why should we employ you?
  4. What do you look for in a job?
  5. How long would it take for you to make a meaningful contribution?
  6. How does this position fit into your overall career plan?
  7. Describe your management style?
  8. Why are you looking for a new career?
  9. How would your colleagues describe you?
  10. How would your boss describe you?
  11. How would you describe yourself?
  12. What are the five most significant accomplishments in your career so far?

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