Phone Interview Tips: How to be Successful at Telephone Interviews Part 3

6) Match your style to the interviewers: If the interviewer uses lots of technical terms and industry jargon so should you, if you know what they mean! If it becomes clear that your interviewer is a general recruiter- you will need to convey your broader skills set to them- they are not so interested in the technical aspects of the role, but will you fit into the company and your general personality traits.

7) Never interrupt- be a conversationalist: count to two or three seconds after the interviewer stops talking before you start. Do not be afraid of short silences- the interviewer will expect you to take some time to gather you thoughts. Listen properly- acknowledge them with the occasional supportive noise… use their name correctly- never use first names unless they suggest it… drop in the company’s name occasionally.

8) Avoid negative words: be positive, confident. Show that you are a problem solver not a problem maker.

9) Consider your voice, posture, appearance and body language:


Answer the phone professionally- Hello, this is Jane or Hello, Ashik speaking.

Wear suitable clothes- as if they could see you. It helps you get into the role

Speak while standing up or walking around- it makes a difference to the projection and quality of your voice


Smoke, chew gum, eat or drink while on the phone- but do have water handy

10) Ask questions: remember to ask your questions that you have prepared beforehand.

At the end of the interview:

Be ready to recap your fit for the job- have a 30 second summary of why you are right for this role.

Clarify the next steps:

  • When can you expect to hear from them?
  • Do you have permission to contact them if you have not heard from them in an agreed time?
  • Make sure you have all their exact contact details

Remember: your goal is to get a face-to-face interview

Phone Interview Tips: How to be Successful at Telephone Interviews Part 2


The rules of first impressions still apply on the phone. Annie Stevens a managing partner at a Boston executive coaching firm says “The first five minutes of a phone interview are the most important, since only about 2 out of 10 people will still be under consideration beyond that”

1) Be enthusiastic: smile while you talk- it really does make a difference to the image you project to the listener and the tone of your voice! Your voice is replacing body language- inject inflection into your speaking voice- monotone will be off-putting

2 Call on time: if you are required to ring them, do not do it too early and certainly not late. If they are busy, make sure you leave a message as evidence that you have called on time. Unfortunately they may not necessarily ring you on time- but that is their prerogative.

3) Use a landline wherever possible: no matter how reliable your mobile phone normally is, a broken line or being cut off is a big no-no. Also disable call-waiting- the bleeps can be a big distraction and throw your focus. If you do have to use your mobile ensure the battery is fully charged.

4)Be persuasive: your goal is to get a face-to-face interview. You will need to sell yourself, just as much in a phone interview as a personal one. Do not lose sight of the goal. Answer succinctly, politely and avoid slang and colloquialisms at all costs. Imagine the interviewer in front of you- sometimes getting their picture from the internet and putting it in front of you can be a useful tip.

5) Reschedule if necessary: if they call without notice and it is not convenient, just tell them and reschedule. However, make sure you get all the relevant information needed, confirm who will call who, timings etc…make sure you get their name correctly and how to contact them.

Phone Interview Tips: How to be Successful at Telephone Interviews Part 1

“Successful phone Interviews… Know what to say and how to say it. Avoid common mistakes and find out what interviewers look for…”

Job Interview Preparation Blog

Top 10 Interview Questions

These will still apply on the phone as well as in person.

However, a phone interview enables you to print out and have in front of you:

  • Your completed application form and CV- the same version your interviewer has
  • The job description and/or person specification
  • Your own notes and reminders of key things you want to get across, do not write out in full sentences, as you do not want to come across as reading a script- but keywords would be a good memory jogger
  • Questions you have prepared to ask the interviewer-

Questions are your primary tool of influence with an interviewer. They help you direct the conversation and assess if the company is right for you.

Tips for Phone Interviews

Eat a cough drop before you take the call to relax your voice.

Have water handy.

Have pen and paper ready to be able to take notes- your diary could also be helpful

Protect your environment: make sure you will not be disturbed- turn off the TV and ipod, settle the children, put the dog out of the room… turn your mobile off- in case it starts ringing while you are on the landline.

Show your interviewer that you respect their time and this potential role

Practise before the phone Interview:

  • Speaking slowly, fluently and enunciating words carefully. Record yourself into a recorder- apps widely available on smartphones
  • Replace aaaa and uuum and so no with pauses
  • Rehearse your answers to the common type of questions
  • Ask a friend or family member to conduct a mock phone interview with you- and ideally record it so you can go back and review it

Motivation Letter Sent In E-mail

An experienced job hunter knows well that he has to enclose his motivational letter in the envelope beside the curriculum vitae. But where should he put his letter, if he sends the documents electronically? What does the job seeker have to keep in mind if he would like to get a real position by sending his virtual letter?

The expression “motivational letter” well indicates that it is necessary to put the letter above the curriculum vitae, and to place them together in the envelope. But this rule does not provide a guideline what the applicant should do with the motivational letter if he has to send it via the internet.

“The best solution is if the applicant sends the motivational letter and the curriculum vitae separately in attached files”, says Akos Jahnyi, the division leader of the GWH PLC. If he does this, the person making the selection has an opportunity to open the curriculum vitae only if he wishes to see it merely, or the documents are printable without any difficulties. Of course, one should not send the letter empty even in this case. Besides the text “I am sending the documents enclosed” the applicant should write the address, greet the reader and say goodbye. One should not forget to fill in the subject field of the e-mail and if the advertisement has got a reference number it should not be omitted either.

An HR specialist does not consider it a serious mistake if the job seeker does not attach two individual files but he sends his curriculum vitae together with the motivational letter in one file, or he makes a copy of the motivational letter with the help of the e-mail program onto the surface for sending messages.

It is necessary to cut the motivational letter to suit the firm the applicant wants to apply for. It is even more important than in case of ones sent by post in a traditional way. The specialists making the selection know well that searching for a position on the internet offers an opportunity for the applicant to be able to send his curriculum vitae and his motivational letter in a big quantity to many directions within short time, possibly without thinking it over whether he really wants or is able to accept responsibility in the advertised position. However, the motivational letter cut to suit the advertising company convinces the one making the selection that the applicant applied for the position after careful consideration. This way in the selection procedure he can secure a considerable benefit opposite the ones using the scheme.

Top Interview Questions asked in Interviews

The Case Study Scenario Question- describe a successful or difficult work situation and tell us how you managed or worked through it.

Thinking through these scenarios in advance will definitely help. It is also likely that you can work out the kind of scenario they may ask.

For example, if the new role has an emphasis on customer service- it is likely that they will ask you to describe a customer service scenario.

Equally, if the job is all about time management- expect a scenario on that!

Focus on:

  • What YOU did- not the other people involved
  • Give the background to the scenario succinctly
  • Explain logically and sequentially how you approached the situation
  • Share with them your thinking behind the decisions- what options did you have
  • Reflect with them how you could have possibly done things differently
  • Always end on a positive note

Questions pertinent to the new role- these may be more technical- depending on the type of job you are applying for- are you aware of legislation changes or the latest research. Have there been significant changes in your industry recently?

Again, the trick is research, research, research. Typing these queries into a search engine will yield dividends.

You will need to show you are up to date in your particular area of interest and have thought through the implications for your new role, your new colleagues and management.

For example, in the NHS- how could the proposed white paper affect your work with clients?

 What are your goals for the future? Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years time?

Don’t say retired or working for a rival company!

It is great to show ambition and vision…however make sure you come across as realistic- having thought, through how you can achieve these goals.

For example, if your goal is to be a supermarket store manager, feel free to say that, but outline the steps to getting there.

“I would hope to be promoted to section manager within the next year and this will enable me to apply to the fast-track management apprentice scheme, where I can develop my leadership skills. My ultimate goal is to be a well-equipped successful store manager.”

However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to stay at your current level and be the best that you can be in that role.

It is important to not give the impression that this role is just a stepping stone onto the corporate ladder- as your employers want to fill this role now! Not everyone wants to be a manager- and that is great!

Again- be honest- don’t try and second guess the answer you think they want to hear. You just need to show your employer that you have some views on it and realistic expectations.

Top Interview Questions asked in Interviews

How do you handle stress and pressure?

This is a common question to try and ascertain a bit more about you and your personality.

It is fine to be quirky if your outside activities are a bit quirky!

However, if your outside interests could be considered controversial- step a little lightly.

For example, if you go on anti-hunting protests that is great, but your employer may be concerned that you could get arrested and also it is possible that they are pro-hunting.

In this question, it is also worth communicating what you consider to be stressful.

One candidate may find a messy desk stressful, whereas another candidate may consider human conflict more stress inducing.

Neither one is necessarily better or worse, but your prospective employer will be trying to assess your stress levels- but more importantly how you manage that stress.

 Be prepared to ask your prospective employer questions.

This is important- it shows that you are taking working for them as a serious proposition.
The questions can range from practical things like “when I am likely to hear from you or when would I be expected to start” to questions about the organisation