7 tips for a successful telephone interview

Written by Saffron Shergill at StudentJob, which puts students in direct contact with interesting companies that are looking for temporary, part-time or full-time employees. Also, she is a junior online marketing specialist at Study Clerk  

If you’ve managed to get yourself a telephone interview then congratulations! 

This means you are one step closer to landing your perfect role. Getting your CV and cover letter seen is often the hardest part so once you get through that stage it shows the company is interested in you.

Now this is your time to shine. You need to research and prepare yourself to ensure you are on top form for the telephone call. Most companies ring several candidates in one day so you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd

Fear not, StudentJob has complied a list of tips to aid you through your interview and ensure you are prepared… 


1)    Don’t be late

It goes without saying but it’s very easy to get caught out. If you are applying for a series of jobs at once, it is common to forget timings and mix up how far you are on various applications. 

It is, therefore, a good idea to document your progress on an excel sheet so you can see which companies have replied, given you a telephone interview, or invited you to an assessment centre. The last thing you want is to answer the call thinking it’s your mum and realise it’s the recruiter from your dream job…


2)    Expect it at any time

Some companies will receive your application and call you without arranging a telephone interview before hand. For this reason, it is important to do research on any company you apply to so you won’t be completely unprepared in this instance. 

If you receive a call from a company unexpectedly, it is perfectly acceptable to explain that you are busy and ask to rearrange the interview for another time. However, if you are prepared to take the call at that time, you may be able to dazzle them with your knowledge and understanding of their company, and for the job role you are applying for. 


3)    Dress to impress 

This one might sound silly, but it is a great idea to dress for your telephone interview as you would for a face to face interview, or a Skype interview. This will allow you to get into the right mind set for the interview and remind you to stay professional whilst on the call. 

It’s great to feel relaxed and ease your nerves, but wearing your pyjamas or jogging bottoms will no doubt leave you feeling sleepy or a bit too relaxed for the circumstances. 


4)    Do your research

We’ve mentioned this briefly already but this tip is probably the most important. If you want to have a successful telephone interview, you must do research on the company beforehand.

A good place to start is on their company website; this will give you an idea of their operations, their business style, and also who their clients are. 

It’s a great idea to research the competitors of the company too and find out how they operate.

A common telephone interview question is to describe one of the company’s competitors and how they are similar/dissimilar to the firm you’re applying to. 


5)    Listen to the news

Some interviewers may ask you what has been going on in the news recently and how it will affect their company. They can also ask you about a specific event in the news and expect you to discuss what impact this has on the firm. 

For this reason, it is important to have a clear idea of current events and spend time analysing their relation to the firm in question. We wouldn’t recommend spending days researching this, but having a glance at the news a couple of times before your interview should be sufficient. 


6)    Ask questions

At the end of your telephone call, the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions for them. It is a good idea to have one or two questions prepared in advance to show the interviewer how interested you are in the firm. 

You may want to ask more about the job role, the company, or about what your day-to-day tasks will be. Another common question to ask is about the next steps of the recruitment process, this is useful since it will also give you an idea of when you will hear from them again. If you can’t think of any questions to ask, don’t worry! It is better to not ask a question than it is to ask a stupid one…


7)    Practise

Our last tip is simple; practise, practise, practise. The best way to improve your telephone interview skills is to practise them; with friends, family, or in real life telephone interviews. You will notice a drastic improvement in your interviewing ability with the more practise you have.

If you want to land yourself an interview, StudentJob has a number of graduate jobs, internships, placements and part time jobs available for you to apply to today. 

Jan 16, 2019 by Charlotte

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Interesting and really helpfull tips!

posted by Marloes

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Thank you, Marloes.

Nicely said.Definitely, good to know. :)

posted by Filip

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Thank you, Filip.

useful tips thanks

posted by Joycee

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You're welcome!

Great blog post, some good tips in here!

posted by Nicholas

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Thank you, Nicholas!

really good tips. Thanks to people who tough about it

posted by Anil

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Thank you, Anil!

Interesting as usual, including the weird point (4). Dressing well gives more confidence indeed, even when not facing the interviewer.

posted by Paolo

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Thanks for the tips

posted by Daria

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You're welcome, Daria.

Great tips ! Hope it works :)

posted by Eda

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Thank you! Let us know:)

Great tips indeed. However, all of you guys out there dont forget the most important one. Make sure that you love the idea of the job you're applying for!

posted by Elias

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We couldn't agree more!

Great tips indeed. I will remember those for the next time as well.
However, all of you guys out there dont forget to make sure that you love the idea

posted by Elias


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