Eight tips for a successful telephone interview

Many employers choose to screen the first round of candidates by conducting a telephone interview, before choosing a more select group to invite to a face-to-face meeting. While you might think that an interview over the phone sounds easier than a formal meeting, there’s still a lot to think about.
As well as considering the logistics (do you have somewhere private you can take the call for instance?), make sure you’ve thought about the following tips for a successful telephone interview:


Failing to properly prepare for any interview is a sure way of reducing your chances of success. Research the company and the role like you would for a face-to-face interview but remember that over the phone it’s harder to build rapport with someone, so you really need to impress with what you say and know.


It can be tempting to slip into a more relaxed tone over the phone – especially if you’re taking the call at home and are in a comfortable environment – but it’s important your responses are spoken clearly and kept concise to make yourself heard.

Use a landline

Using a mobile phone can be a big risk, you can’t guarantee signal strength and battery length, so use a landline (preferably in a quiet space) to ensure a clean line.

Be confident

You can’t rely on a sharp suit to make a good first impression here, so remember to be personable and sell yourself through your knowledge and expertise, even if you don’t have the natural connection that comes with meeting someone in the flesh.


Because you can’t see your interviewer, you should be listening extra carefully to ensure you understand their meaning. When you’re not in the same room as someone, it can be easier to misunderstand what they’re saying.

Have your notes to hand

The biggest advantage of interviewing over the phone is that you can have as many notes in front of you as you need. Try to keep them tidy and concise so you don’t have to spend time reading what you’ve written while the interviewer is waiting for you to respond.

Practice your responses

This is a general interview tip but is just as applicable here as it is in any other interview. See our top 10 interview questions for some practice ahead of your telephone interview.

Ask what the next steps are

Prompt the interviewer to communicate what happens next in the interview process. As well as clarifying any steps you yourself need to take, it also shows that you’re keen to hear from them and still interested in the role.
Chances are, unless you’re interviewing for an international job, your telephone interview will be the initial round of interviews, so getting details like the above right should improve your chances of being called back for a second interview.
You might find it easier to stand during your telephone interview, it can help keep you alert, but if you’d prefer to sit down, avoid a comfortable sofa and instead opt for an office or desk chair. Good luck!