How to ACE Telephone interviews – Autumn Career Essentials


We are pleased to invite you to a telephone interview on Friday 9 November at 2.00pm. The interview will last for approximately 25 minutes.  If you are not available at this time, contact our HR department immediately to arrange another date.

Yes! Cue much air punching and self-congratulation until there’s a sudden icy feeling in your stomach……. A telephone interview: How does that work?

Answer: Exactly like a face-to-face interview but with some significant advantages in your favour.

1). You can have your application form in front of you to remind yourself of what you put on it throughout the interview.

2). You can have the skills the organisation say they are looking for written on paper and pinned round your room with examples of how you meet them underneath.

3). You can have prompt cards laid out on your desk to remind you of points you want to get across, and some questions to ask the interviewer at the end.

With all of the above, don’t fall into the trap of reading from notes of examples you’ve prepared in advance; it will be obvious you are reading and sound unnatural! If you choose to use these, they should only act as prompts; think brief one or two bullet – points per example to ensure you don’t end up reading from a script.

So, those are a few of the advantages of telephone interviews over face-to-face interviews. How should you prepare for a telephone interview?

  • Research into the organisation’s place in relation to competitors.
  • Make sure you check out their website to avoid asking questions you should know the answer to.
  • Keep an eye on the newspapers for anything of interest.
  • Make sure you understand the role you have applied for.
  • If the organisation has a Twitter account or Facebook site follow them and make sure the privacy settings on your Facebook site are secure to avoid any detrimental impression being given if you are successful in the telephone interview and they want to take your application further – many employers do check social networking sites.
  • Make sure you are as well-presented for the telephone interview as you would be for a “real” one. This will give you confidence and make you feel more professional.
  • Plan your space – make sure you have access to a quiet room where you won’t be interrupted or distracted and where you have good signal on your mobile (if using this contact method)
  • Enunciate clearly, speak slowly, sound interested and enthusiastic! Non-verbal communication accounts for approximately 2/3s of communication. In a telephone interview, all of this non-verbal communication is removed, so it is really important that you make an extra effort to sound enthusiastic and that you speak really clearly.
  • Last but not least, don’t forget to smile – you can hear people smiling across the air waves and it makes a positive impression.

Look out for our next blog post on face-to-face interviews, and remember you can come and see us for help preparing for interviews – including mock interviews – as well as any other careers-related enquiries!

2 Comments

Filed under Autumn career essentials, Interviews

2 responses to “How to ACE Telephone interviews – Autumn Career Essentials

  1. Pingback: How to ACE the face-to-face interview – Autumn Career Essentials | leedsunicareers

  2. Pingback: How I got my job – Paladis Graduate Scheme | University of Leeds Careers Centre Blog

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