Home > Tips from the Pros > The Telephone interview: What to do – What not to do!

The Telephone interview: What to do – What not to do!

Phone interviews are becoming increasingly popular as a means of narrowing down candidates for a more traditional face to face interview. In the ultra competitive society we now live, a job advertisement can attract hundreds of resumes from candidates with similar set of skills and backgrounds. The recruitment process is all about finding the one perfect candidate among the basket full of candidates.  The phone interview has become a popular, flexible, inexpensive and speedy way of finding that one person.

Anna Press, a former recruitment agent with over 10 years experience in conducting telephone interviews shares her experiences below:

Preparing for a PHONE INTERVIEW

 Before you begin your phone interview make sure that you are confident in your understanding of the position you are applying for and the company you are applying with. Do extra homework on the company’s history and research recent company news. Preparation is the key and will make a great impression on your interviewers.

Prepare your Interview location. Make sure you’re in a comfortable place with no distractions. Keep your resume in clear view, have a pen and pad to take notes and a glass of water sitting close by. Minimise any outside distractions that could potentially take your mind off the interview (HOT TIP: Disable call waiting on your phone). Dress the part so you feel and sound professional. The more professional you feel the more professional you will come across on the telephone.

Most importantly – Practice Interviewing. Rehearse and Practice.  There are many ways to help you prepare for the telephone interview.  Have a friend/ family member conduct an interview.  Ideally, rehearse with someone from the same industry. The best way to hear how you sound is to tape yourself. Remember the more preparation you put into the interview the better prepared you will be.

Preparation is the key! Write down answers to questions you believe are going to be asked. Have questions ready to go so when the interviewer says “Do you have any questions to ask us” you’re ready and prepared.

What to do during the phone interview:

  • Remember to Smile. Experts say that smiling puts you in a better state of mind and will project a positive image to the listener
  • Speak in a steady voice.  Don’t rush what you’re trying to say. Ensure that you sound enthusiastic and passionate.
  • Don’t forget to breathe. It will help you stay calm and sound more relaxed.
  • LISTEN – Answer the questions which are being asked. Do not make the mistake of telling the interviewer what you want to tell them. Give them the answers to their questions.
  • Keep a glass of water handy – Nothing is worse than having a dry mouth
  • Address the interviewer in the appropriate way. Do not shorten people’s name. They are your potential employer not your “mate”
  • Take your time – Don’t rush the interview. This is your time to shine.  If your feeling nervous take a moment or two to collect your thoughts
  • “Cheat Notes” Prepare beforehand with notes to help drive you through the interview. If the interview is going to be technical than have notes ready to prompt yourself if needed
  • Don’t forget to ask questions.  (For tips on the best interview questions to ask go to the “Tips from the Pros” page of www.redstarresume.com)

What NOT to do during the interview:

  • Don’t eat, drink, chew gum
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
  • Don’t answer with just a “yes” and “no”- elaborate your answers, provide examples if applicable
  • Don’t be too Casual/informal
  • Long winded answers to questions


 The only way to master a phone interview is to practice, be professional, and show your passion for the job role. Remember you have made the phone interview stage so don’t blow your interview by not being ready.

Good luck!


© RedStarResume Publications – www.redstarresume.com

Anna is our recruitment guru! For tips and advice contact her directly: enquiries@redstarresume.com

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