Preparing for a Telephone Interview 



Preparation for a telephone interview is as important as preparation before any other form of interview or meeting. The impression you create in the opening moments, and the manner with which you present yourself will determine whether or not you will be successful. 
 

Find out as much as you can about the company and the job description. If your telephone interview has been arranged by a third party, you should receive much of this information from them. But in any case, do your own researches - company websites are one of the best sources of information. Find out about the size and structure of the company, its products and its markets.             


Make a note of any questions you would like to ask. Ask about things if they are important to you, especially if your decision whether to proceed depends upon the answers for example: will I have to relocate? (if that is something you don't want to do!). Otherwise, ask broad questions such as 'What training will be given?', 'What opportunities are there for advancement?'. Have these questions written down. 
 

Have a notepad and pen ready, along with your diary

Have your CV at hand, in all probability the hiring manager will have a copy of it too, so you probably won't be asked to describe your background in detail. 
Prepare mentally, or better still in writing, a very brief 'potted history' to answer the demand 'Tell me about yourself.' Managers ask this not because they want the information (they already have your CV!), but because they want to listen to you, to find out how communicative you are, and how you sound. 

 

Tone of voice and communication skills are the most important aspect of this form of interview. The detail is of very little importance - the manager has your CV, so they know exactly what you've done, and in all probability wouldn't be talking to you if they weren't essentially interested. Make sure you speak clearly and confidently.
 

The main rules are: 

Think about how you normally answer the phone at home. When you answer the phone, do so by announcing your name, in an enthusiastic style: 'John Pickles, Good Morning!' If this is not your natural style, change it!
Sound interesting/interested, energetic and enthusiastic
Be succinct (don't waffle)
Don't use jargon
 
Prepare to answer these questions 
You can't prepare for every possible question, but there are a few which frequently come up:
Tell me about yourself!
What do you know about our company?
What are you looking for?
What would you like to know about us?
What are your weaknesses? 
• What else would you like to know? (an ideal opportunity to 'close' - see below)
 
Closing the telephone interview 
Part of the purpose of the telephone interview (from the hiring manager's perspective) is to find out how keen you are.  As soon as it seems appropriate during the conversation, ask for a date to meet for a face-to-face interview. Say something like 'Well, this certainly sounds like just the job I'm looking for Mr. Brown. I'm sure I can contribute a lot to your company. I'd really like to visit you to show you what I can do for you. When can you meet me?' 

 
If you are invited for a face-to-face interview, thank the manager, and ask for details: 
When?
Where?
With whom?
What should you take to the interview?
 
Lastly telephone the recruitment consultant who arranged the interview and let them know the outcome. They should be able to find out the answers to the other questions, on your behalf. 
 
Stay Calm and Good Luck.
 

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