Telephone Interviews: What are They and How can you Ace Them?

In these crazy days of COVID-19 – that almost sounds nostalgic, but I can assure you that it’s not – the ongoing restrictions mean that more and more job interviews are taking place over the phone. While you might breathe a sigh of relief that you don’t have to attend an in-person interview, you must still take telephone interviews seriously if you’re to perform at your best. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at what telephone interviews are, what they typically involve and provide you with a few top tips to help you ace them. 

What is a telephone interview?

A telephone interview, very simply, is a job interview that takes place over the phone. Telephone interviews commonly take place in the early stages of the recruitment process to whittle down the candidates before invitations to in-person interviews are sent out. However, given the current travel restrictions and social distancing requirements, now telephone interviews are increasingly being used instead of face-to-face interviews before a hiring decision is made. 

How to handle a telephone interview

Although a telephone interview might be less nerve-wracking, you should still treat it just as seriously as a face-to-face interview. If anything, it’s more difficult to be memorable over the phone than in person, so you have to get it right. Here’s what you should do.

  • Give yourself time to prepare

Don’t schedule a telephone interview for the same day or even the next day if you can help it. Preparing for an interview takes time, so give yourself a couple of days to research the company and think about your answers to the questions you’re likely to be asked.

  • Treat it like a face-to-face interview

Don’t get out of bed five minutes before the interviewer is due to call. Give yourself time to get up, shower, have breakfast, drink a cup of tea or coffee and be ready to perform. Wearing something smart, rather than throwing on an old pair of joggers, will also help you get in the right frame of mind.

  • Turn the television off!

You should remove all distractions before the call so you can concentrate on the questions and think carefully about your answers. Turn the television off, make sure you’re as far away as possible from the kids and sit at a desk in a quiet room where you will not be disturbed.

  • Prepare a cheat sheet

One of the benefits of a telephone interview is that you can have a cheat sheet in front of you with answers to the questions you think you might be asked. You should resist the temptation to simply read the answers word for word, but you can use it to guide you.

  • Say it with a smile

According to research, people can tell when you’re smiling based on the sound of your voice. In fact, they can even identify the type of smile you have. Smiling during the interview, not maniacally if you can help it, will make you sound positive and upbeat, which is exactly what the interviewer will be looking for.

Find your next bilingual role at Linguistica Recruitment

Despite the current uncertainty, telephone interviews and remote working mean bilingual workers can still find rewarding and well-paid roles across the south coast of England. Take a look at our current vacancies and submit your CV today.