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R13 #AskTheRecruiter

How can I make myself come across well in a telephone interview?

Question submitted by Tyler (Customer Service Sector)

The telephone interview can strike fear into the hearts of people… if you haven’t had much practice at these before then they can be quite daunting. As humans we do find it much easier to communicate face to face; we can judge peoples’ reactions, utilise body gestures to help make a point and have that all important eye contact. So how do you effectively communicate that you are right for the role, when you aren’t sitting opposite the interviewer?

Notes, Notes, Notes…

A huge benefit of telephone interviews is that you can have any notes you’ve prepped sitting right in front of you, this could be information about the business you’ve compiled, examples of where you’ve used certain skills for competency based questions and questions to ask the interviewer at the end. Even though you may have your notes in front of you, be careful NOT to sound like you are reading from a piece of paper; it can make your communication come across as a little wooden. Use them as a referral point/reminder.

Dress up

It may seem a bit silly but dress to impress! Even though they won’t be able to see you and it may be nicer to be in your pyjamas, dressing in business attire can help get you into the professional mindset. It’s best just to treat it as if it were face to face.


Make sure you take the call in a quiet place, where you will be free from distractions or loud noises. Also, try to make sure you are in a location with a strong phone signal so that you don’t break up part way through the call. If you know your house has terrible signal maybe try heading somewhere else or making sure they call a landline.


This also may seem a bit strange as again, they can’t see you, but research has found people can hear a smile in your voice, plus it helps to make you sound upbeat and avoid sounding bored.


Listening is such an important skill, not only in telephone interviews but in employment in general. Make sure you are engaged with the conversation and listen to the interviewer properly. This will allow you to give complete answers to answer questions they may have, and to take in any information they give you. Make notes as you go along that you can refer back to again.                                               

Don’t Interrupt

A typical don’t for any interview, but harder to avoid with telephone interviews as there aren’t physical cues as to when the interviewer is about to stop talking. Make sure you leave a brief bit of time between the interviewer asking questions and giving your answer. This will also give you some time to think about your answer before you speak.

If you are still nervous about a telephone interview, try practicing with a friend, they can tell you if you sound engaged over the phone and can help make sure you come across well.

Try not to treat telephone too differently from face to face ones and you will have an easier time with them, and, as with any interview, make sure you do your prep beforehand.

If you need any more interview support, check out our website: http://www.r13recruitment.co.uk/looking-for-work/interview-support

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