Telephone Interview Guide & Checklist

Congratulations! You made it past the screening stage of selection, now here you are ready for your telephone interview. Read on whilst we guide you through your telephone interview…… your opportunity to make that all important first impression.

Prior to the interview

Step 1.


As a voice on the other end of the line you won’t be able to rely on your sharp suit, perfected handshake or your impressive folder of work examples to get you through. If anything, a telephone interview is more difficult as 100% of the interviewers’ focus and judgement is based on what you say, and how you say it.

Step 2.


I truly wish this was a radical and miraculous point that would promise you success for every interview you attend but when the content of your speech is being scrutinized, preparation is crucial.

Have you ever sat in a face to face interview, wishing you could have all the notes you wanted in front of you? A telephone interview gives you that opportunity.

The essentials

□   Make a note of the interviewers’ names, job titles.

□   The telephone number.

□   Double check who is calling who.

The Questions

If you’ve been to an interview before then you may be aware of the common stock interview questions, if you haven’t, then be sure to check out our other handy guides!

You need to be able to master questions about

□   “Tell me about yourself” – An interview opening classic.

□   Your previous career history.

□   Reasons for leaving previous employers.

□   Any gaps on your CV.

□   Your skills and experience.

□   Qualifications and Educations.

□   What you have found out about the company? (AKA have you bothered to do research?)

□   Why you want this role?

□   What you think makes you the right candidate?

**Bonus Points** Remember, don’t panic, be professional, ooze confidence and remain honest as the truth always comes out.

□   Finally, you should have a list of questions to ask the interviewers about the role, the company, progression, the training opportunities etc.

Step 3

During the telephone call

What you will need:

□   Your telephone (obviously), if it is a mobile phone then ensure it is charged!

□   Your CV.

□   A pen and paper.

□   The job specification.

□   YOUR NOTES! (See step 2).

Where you will need to be. Check that your surroundings provide:

□   A quiet area.

□   An area with good mobile reception.

□   An area free from distractions

What you will need to do:

□   Believe in yourself. Briefly highlight your accomplishments, successes, and promotions. 

□   Try to relax and sound confident.

□   Give your full attention so no driving on handsfree

□   Show enthusiasm and make your interest clear.

□   Speak clearly and try to moderate your speed, volume and tone making sure not to mumble so you can be fully understood.

□   Avoid using handsfree as this can make it difficult for the interviewer to hear you.

□   Make plenty of notes – the interviewer may impart key knowledge that you can use within your questioning or you can use for further research towards your face to face interview.

□   Try to elaborate on simply yes or no answers but avoid waffling.   

Expert tips…

Remember to smile. It may be an old cliché but smiling can help your intonation to sound more positive. Answer questions courteously, a note of irritation in your voice is even more obvious over the phone than face to face and without body language questions/answers may be misconstrued. 

If you are asked a question you are not sure how to answer, then repeat it out loud.  This gives you a little longer to think it through and provide an answer.  This will also ensure you have correctly understood the question and avoids a potentially awkward pause.

When the interview is finished say “Thank you.”

Most important of all is to sound interested and state that- “you would be interested in talking further if the interviewer wants to take the process on to the next step” and find out what the next step is.

Finally, Good Luck!

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