Ace that telephone interview!

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Many companies use phone calls with candidates who look good on paper to determine if those applicants are ready to move to longer, face-to-face interviews. During this call, you'll typically speak with a recruiter rather than the hiring manager, and is a critical part of the interview process. 

If all goes well, the recruiter will move you onto the next stage. But if they come away with a poor or incomplete impression of you, things are unlikely to progress. These conversations usually last 30 minutes or less, so consider this your opportunity to summarise yourself - tell the interviewer what attracted you to the job and the company, as well as what you can bring to the table.

Here's our top tips for acing your phone interview!


Write down the skills the company are looking for and do your research!

Be ready to answer questions asking what you can bring to the table or your strengths and use this list to emphasise what you're good at. Remember that the phone call is short, so practice giving a brief but detailed answer to this question. Make sure you can give examples of each skill if you're asked!


Prepare your answers to the following questions and adapt if needed:

  • What are you looking for in your next job?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • What are you looking for in terms of company culture and benefits?
  • If you were offered this job, when would you be able to start?
  • What is your availability for an in-person interview in the next few days?
  • If the job is out of area: Are you willing to relocate?
  • Why are you looking to leave your current company or make a career change?

This last question can be hard to answer so be honest but stay positive. Companies are looking for problem solvers and people who overcome tough situations. For example, if you don’t get on well with your manager and believe it’s decreasing your chances of being promoted, you could say “I’m looking to join an organisation with more opportunity for growth and professional development.”


It's crucial that you research the company before the telephone interview!

Ensure you do your research on the company before speaking to the interviewer, so that you're prepared for any company related questions. They may ask you "What attracted you to apply for a role within the company?" or "What can you bring to the team that we may not already have?" 


During the phone interview - 

Relax! Find a quiet spot where you can relax and devote your full attention to the phone call. Get dressed, brush your teeth and style your hair as if you were attending a face-to-face meeting, as this can make you feel more professional thus giving better answers. Make sure you have good phone signal and are away from other distractions or noises (make sure to silence any other devices).

We recommend printing a copy of your CV, the job description and having a note book and pen at hand to take notes. This will allow you to refer back if needed, and also allows you to take a few moments to read through the job description again before your interview.