Telephone Interviewing – How to Succeed

In the current climate with working from home and the COVID-19 crisis, remote interview processes are being utilised massively.

Telephone interviews can seem daunting but in your job search, interviews over the phone have become inevitable. Having this style of interview can be very different from being there in person and there are plenty of things that you need to get right to give yourself the best chance of being successful on the day.

Here is a series of tips to help you make the most of your telephone opportunity.


Here at Verus Recruitment we always advise preparing well regardless if it is a face-to-face, telephone or video interview.


So, What Should I Prepare for a Telephone Interview?


  • Pick a location where you will not be disturbed, free from distractions and in an environment that allows you to best focus on the interview.


  • We would always suggest using a landline if you can. However, we know not everyone has access to one with the popularity of mobile phones.  Once again, you need to plan an interview on a mobile phone, ensure you have adecent battery and signal.
  • If you decide to utilise Skype, Zoom or other online/video call options, test for network connection, power supply and sound quality in advance.

Initially answering the call:

  • When you first answer the call from the interviewer, we suggest you utilise a professional-sounding greeting. An example of this would be: “Good afternoon, David speaking,” It is much more personable and professional and does not require the interviewer to check if they have the right person.

Dress for the interview:

  • This may sound weird, but psychology indicates that for a high proportion of the population, the way we dressed directly impacts how we communicate. So, for the best chance of presenting yourself in a professional manner, it is best to dress accordingly. Try it. It can really make a difference.

Your body language:

  • Please be mindful that your body language can affect how you communicate. If you are sat awkward or tense, your body language will be effectively closed, and you may come across as lacking in energy or confidence. We would always advise to stand up and stand tall while taking the interview. This is your best chance of projecting positive energy and self-assurance.


  • The best way to engage with an interviewer is to smile. Sales professionals have always used the smile technique. In an interview you are selling yourself, so the same rules apply. If you are straight-faced throughout the interview, this could hinder rapport building and potentially affect your communication.


  • Remember to speak clearly as it is much easier to be misunderstood while on the phone compared to being there in person, especially if technology or environment is less than ideal. You may need to speak a little slower, especially if you are nervous, prone to speaking fast or have an accent that may not be familiar to the interviewer.


  • You need to make sure your conversation is specific while allowing the interviewer to ask all the questions in the process. Try to guard against going off-track and running out of time.


  • Listening is as important as the other key points above. It is so easy for you to mishear or misinterpret the interviewer during a telephone interview. Try listening attentively and ensure that you fully understand the question before giving your answer. Always be active listening (acknowledge information) as you receive it and ask clarifying questions if necessary.

Other Advantages:

There are some things that you can do in a telephone interview that will give you an advantage over a face-to-face one and it makes sense to take advantage of these:

  • Have your CV and the job specification in front of you for your reference.
  • Prepare and have notes available on the company/interviewer that you could use.
  • Write down any questions you may want to ask.
  • Also, consider making notes of key things mentioned which you could relate back to.