Nail Your Next Telephone Interview With These Techniques

Telephone interviews can be nerve-wracking. There’s something about talking formally on the phone, especially when you haven’t met the other party in person, that can be quite tough. Many millennials, in particular, express a dislike for talking on the phone, even with their own friends and family. Even though the majority of adults in the UK own a smartphone, one in four of us never uses their phone to make a phone call. There are various reasons for this, including the fear of misreading tone and the pressure to respond to the other person right there and then.

So if you’re faced with a telephone interview, which by its very nature puts you on the spot, how can you survive it? There are techniques that you can use if you want to come across well and avoid those long and awkward pauses or fumblingly talking over each other.

1. Prepare before the call

The preparation you do before your phone interview could be the most important part. The more prepared you feel, the more comfortable and relaxed you can be when it’s time for your interview. There’s plenty that you can do to get ready for the call, starting with some research about the company. You might even come across some example interview questions on sites like Indeed or Glassdoor. Some people reach out to enquire about the structure of the interview and any possible topics of discussion. You could write down some things that you want to mention, especially if you know some of the questions that you might be asked.

2. Find a quiet place to take the call

While it might seem obvious to some, finding a quiet place without distractions is a good idea before your phone interview. Even if you’re at home, you can choose a room where you can shut the door and make sure you don’t have the distraction of kids or pets, among other things. Don’t put yourself in danger of becoming BBC Dad and having the kids burst in mid-interview, even if your interviewers can’t see you. Set up your space so you have your CV in front of you, and perhaps a notepad and pen for notes. 

3. Acknowledge when you need a moment to think 

One of the things that can scare you most about a telephone interview is leaving long pauses. You feel compelled to say something, even if it might not make sense, because you don’t want to leave the interviewer hanging while you think. Interviewers can actually appreciate it if you let them know that you need a moment to think about your answer. Obviously, you shouldn’t sit there for five minutes, but a couple of beats should give you time to get your thoughts together.

4. Keep an enthusiastic tone

Tone can mean a lot when you’re speaking to someone on the phone. Sounding enthusiastic indicates that you’re interested in the job and not just going through the motions. It can help to smile as you talk because it makes you sound more upbeat. At the same time, don’t let your enthusiasm lead to rambling. Try to keep your answers brief and avoid speaking for minutes at a time, unless you’re asked to elaborate on an answer.

Telephone interviews might make you nervous, but they’re much easier if you’re well prepared. Get ready and take a deep breath before you answer the phone and you’ll be much happier.