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Phone Interviews: Why have them and What to do

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We’ve given you every possible scenario that can unfold in an interview,

-          How to answer interview questions

-          What to do before the interview

-          How to act during an interview.

Except through phone, so without further ado, ladies and gentleman . . .  The Phone Interview.


So keep reading and add this to your interview arsenal and start off prepared, they won’t know what hit them.


Why do employers pick phone interviews?


It’s a good question, and here’s why.

Imagine you are the employer and you have advertised your jobs. Hundreds perhaps thousands of candidates have responded and you are inundated with Curriculum Vitae’s. You see no light at the end of tunnel, and are thinking of possible ways of thinning the herd, phone interviews is a good approach.


First of all employers usually filter through Curriculum Vitae’s and cover letters, looking for keywords, length, basically anything that stands out to them.

Even after this they could still have a rather sizable pile of Curriculum Vitae’s to look through.


An email to the candidates may come next, but what you don’t know is that employers will use this to see who is truly interested by their response and their ability to follow instructions.


It is after this that the phone interview would come into play.

-          Narrows the applicant pool yet again.

-          This approach is less costly especially if there is travel involved.

-          It can be an introduction for both parties before the actual face-to-face interview.

-          Could also be used when you are applying for a position in a call centre, so they can see about your phone manners, i.e. how you present yourself over the phone.


How do I prepare for a phone interview?

First of all, make sure you have a professional voice mail message. You don’t want a potential employer to hear something inappropriate.


  1. Keep your Curriculum Vitae handy, in case they wish to ask you questions on your Curriculum Vitae content
  2. Have pen and paper near, you may need to jot down vital information or contact details.
  3. Have a short list of your background skills and accomplishments. Having these in front of you will keep you from trailing off the subject and will hopefully impress the employer.
  4. Make sure you are in a quiet location, no music, TV or people in the background. Of course this is easier to arrange with scheduled phone interviews. If the employer has surprised you with a call, it is perfectly acceptable to say ‘’I am very sorry I am unable to talk with you right now. Can I call you back at your next convenience? ‘’
  5. Practise, practise, practise. Many people feel awkward on the phone, and start babbling with their ‘uh’s’ ‘um’ ‘eh’. Get a family member or friend to do a run through with you, asking the typical questions and see how things go. The more you practise the better you will be.


During the phone interview:


  1. Don't smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink, this is all your employer will hear. But it is ok to keep a glass of water handy.
  2. It may sound silly, but smile. Even though the employer will not see you, our tone of voice changes when we smile, giving off a more positive vibe and with a phone interview you tone and quality of voice is all you can be judged on.
  3. Don’t speak to fast, take your time, it’s not a race.
  4. Only use the interviewer’s title, e.g. Mr/Mrs Surname, unless they tell you otherwise.
  5. Don’t interrupt the interviewer, they will give you time to talk and ask questions. Be well mannered and polite.
  6. Don’t wander off the point, use short and sweet answers that will get your point across.
  7. ABOVE ALL ELSE remember the goal of the phone interview is to get through to a face-to-face interview. After thanking them for their time, why not ask if you could meet in person, assuming the call went well.


Handy tip:

On the phone, your breathing is much more noticeable. So we would recommend keeping the phone near your chin.


After the Interview:


Like in point 7, thank them for their time; ask if there is a possibility of meeting up in person, if they haven’t said so.


We recommend jotting down a few of the points that were discussed during the phone interview. This is so you can evaluate, and see if you went wrong on a certain topic. Helping you improve for future interviews either in person or on the phone.


If you liked this blog perhaps you would be interested in our others, click here to have a look see.

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