Phone interview advice: Five tips for landing your dream job

Phone interviews are becoming increasingly common.

They’re quicker and more convenient than their face-to-face cousins and can be very revealing if a job relies on communication skills, personality or phone manner. Which most do if we are being honest.

They can also be tricky.

Countless job seekers have been hindered by crackly reception, unexpected interruptions or have simply struggled to respond appropriately without visual hints.

However, if a job you are applying for involves a phone interview you’ll need to know the dos and don’ts or that will be the end of your application.

Want to know how it’s done? Read on for our top pointers for how to impress at a phone interview:-

1 Perfect your phone manner and make sure you are on guard at all times

Not many people realise they need to work on their phone manner – but plenty do.

We recently advertised for a position at our company.

We didn’t conduct any formal phone interviews but we did ring applicants on the phone and it’s human nature to make an initial judgement about someone after just a few seconds of conversation.

Well it’s our nature anyway – maybe we are just mean.

One applicant abruptly asked “who is this?” when we asked if we had the right person. It wasn’t the end of the world but it put her on the back foot for the rest of the conversation.

We all get frustrated with cold calls but it pays to be friendly – at least until you know who’s on the other end of the line!

As soon as you send off your application you should always be prepared to be called out of the blue by the recruiter or employer.

And, while we are at it, apologies for repeating ourselves but be careful what you post on social media too.

2 The environment where you carry out the interview is important

You might be doing the interview from the comfort of home. But don’t get too comfy.

Make sure you won’t be disturbed or distracted – whichever room you are in. That means no housemates coming in to chat and no Facebook up on your computer.

It goes without saying turn the TV and radio off and if you have pet dogs have a think about anything you can do to lessen the chances of them barking – or at least coming into your room and barking.


When on the phone, either sit upright or stand. Do not lie down. Your posture will affect how you sound and an upright pose conveys alertness and confidence.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to have a shave or put make-up on. Unless it’s a video call, in which case you do. Hopefully you won’t need to do both but we’ll leave that up to you.

3 Have props at hand – but not at the expense of being natural

Be prepared.

Take advantage of being able to have your CV, cover letter and application details in front of you.

Do your research and decide in advance on a few examples you’d like to bring up. Don’t read from a script though – unless you know it exceptionally well – as it sounds disengaged and flat.

It’s also worth having a glass of water to hand in case your mouth gets dry.

If you’re doing the interview over Skype, a headset might prove a valuable investment.

And if you’re using a phone, turn off call waiting. A beeping in your ear is the last thing you need mid-interview.

4 Prepare as thoroughly as you would for a normal interview

Just because you won’t be face to face with your interviewer doesn’t mean you should do any less work.

Take time to research the company and the role. Go over the job description with a fine-toothed comb, pinpointing exactly how you fit the requirements and backing it up with facts and examples.

Make sure you have answers to any common stock interview questions and anything else they might ask you.

5 Practice makes perfect if you want to iron out any issues

OK so now you know what you are doing, try recording yourself when you are talking on the phone to see if you’re speaking too quietly or quickly.

Maybe ask a friend or family member to conduct a practice interview. They can give you some pointers about tone, volume and pace.

Tone of voice is key – it’s the main way to convey your personality over the phone.

Talk slowly. Take time answering each question. Cut down on “ums” and “errs”. Don’t be afraid of the occasional short pause if necessary – this shows composure and thoughtfulness.

Without visual prompts it’s difficult to know if an interviewer is satisfied with your answer so ask if they want you to go into greater detail with your answer if you’re unsure.

Likewise, if you don’t hear a question fully don’t be afraid to ask for it to be repeated. Better that than answer incorrectly.

And do your best to make sure you’ll be somewhere with good reception – it can really undermine the whole process if either side can’t hear what’s going on!

OK we hope these tips help but please get in touch if you need any more specific advice. Failing that good luck!

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