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How to succeed at a telephone interview

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If you’re anything like me, phone calls terrify you. Perhaps it’s the new age of text and social media but phone calls just aren’t something we often do anymore. This may panic you if you’re asked to a phone interview but you have no reason to worry, especially not with these tips and tricks!

Just relax

It’s natural to be nervous for any interview but talking over the phone means you get the bonus of being in the comfort of your own home, removed from the stress of travelling and being in an unfamiliar environment. Give yourself plenty of time to relax beforehand, going over any notes and really getting yourself focused. It is essential to make sure you are in a quiet room, away from noisy children or pets.

Don’t get too comfortable though. While it’s tempting to stay in your pyjamas, wearing something smart will put you in the right mindset. It also helps to sit at a table, away from any distractions, to help you remain professional.


Preparation is key and you have the advantage of having notes in front of you. Take this opportunity to have your CV printed off to refer to and a couple of points that you want to make. Always research the company prior to the interview too, this shows you have initiative and gives you something to respond with. Be sure to also make some brief notes throughout in case you get the job, or get called in for a second interview.

Extra tips

While general interview etiquette of being polite and listening carefully to each question applies, there are some additional tips for over the phone. Remember that while the interviewer can’t see you, a smiley face will translate in your voice. Similarly, they cannot see when you are nodding or paying attention so be sure to add in the occasional “yes” and “okay” so they know you are still listening! Try to also think of some questions to ask – before and during the interview – so they know you have really thought about the job and what it entails.

Phone a friend

And finally, it always helps to have a run through with a friend. Practice talking eloquently, being concise with your points and not talking over the other person. If nothing else, it helps dissipate nerves and you can get feedback on how you are coming across. Making small adjustments like talking slower or even just altering the way you answer the phone can work wonders!

Do you have any advice on how to succeed at a telephone interview? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo: Mark Fischer / Flickr

Currently writing for multiple publications and also dabbles in social media marketing. Interested in a mix of lifestyle, relationships, careers and current affairs topics.
Charlotte HobbsHow to succeed at a telephone interview

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