Hidden tips to pass that telephone interview

Stephen O'Brien 12.06.2012

You got a phone interview - brilliant! It sounds easy doesn't it? No need to put on my best suit, I don't even have to drive to their offices; I'm going to just kick back and relax, maybe take the call while watching some daytime TV. It will be a breeze.

Trust me, people think phone interviews are that easy. And as you might have guessed, they are dead wrong. Over the years they were a quick ten minute call that gave the employer a chance to give a candidate the once over. We could coast through the interview without being asked anything too difficult and confidently expect to be called forward for a face-to-face interview. How times have changed! 

Phone interviews are not as easy as they sound. I have worked with people who have been on calls for up to 1.5hrs and the interviews have been every bit as thorough as they would have been in person.

Remember the overall goal of a phone interview is to secure a face-to-face meeting and it’s another step on the path to securing your ideal job. I've outlined a few simple tips that will help you succeed:

Preparation - "Fail to prepare, prepare to fail"

This could be your only shot at securing your dream job so treat this as you would a face-to-face interview and put in the preparation time. People seem to think they can make up the answers on the spot. Thinking, talking and keeping the interviewer engaged over the phone is a lot harder than it sounds so make sure you put the hard work in prior to the call. Know your CV inside and out, have relevant examples to back up your experience and some good questions to ask at the end.

Quiet location

If you need to drop the kids to the babysitter or lock the dog in the garage, do so, because the last thing you want when you’re on the call is distractions.  With a phone interview you need to be able to concentrate 100% so make sure you take the call in a quiet area


If you have the option of taking a call on a land-line, take it! There is nothing worse than running around trying to get good reception and the result being you can’t hear the interviewer’s questions properly. If you don't have access to a land-line and have to use a mobile, make sure it is fully charged. I have heard of many people running out of battery half way through a call, disaster!

Body language

Yes I know it sounds strange to mention body language as you’re on the phone and you can't be seen but the way you hold yourself is very important. Smile and think positive, you'll come across a lot more confident and assertive. Stand up if possible, you'll sound more dynamic and your voice will project better than if you’re sitting

Turn off call waiting

Turn off call waiting as the beep from an incoming call will only result in you losing focus

Don't get thirsty!

There is nothing worse than being on a call and your mouth dries up or you suddenly get a tickle in your throat. Have some water close-by to avoid any mishaps.

Express your interest

At the end of the call don't be afraid to let the interviewer know that it is a role you are really interested in and would welcome the opportunity to meet them face-to-face. Employers want to see candidates who are passionate about the role and want to work for their organisation so don't be afraid to tell them you’re that person.

If you need some more advice don’t hesitate to give me a call. Now to prepare yourself for the face-to-face interview check out how we discovered that "Going for an interview is like dating"

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