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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Langston

How to do a great telephone interview - top 10 tips and a huge list of interview questions!

Telephone interviews are becoming a usual first stage now especially with social distancing. It is great as you can keep resources around yourself like your CV, interview notes on the company and you do not have to travel. However you do need to do some specialist preparation when carrying out a telephone interview. Here are some top tips to help you ace your telephone interview.

1. Prepare. Get a good night's sleep. Then get up, eat something if you can to feed your brain and ensure you are hydrated.

2. Dress as you would for an interview. At least be smart. Get out of your PJ's and get ready as if you were travelling to a face to face interview. This gets you in the mindset of being in an interview.

3. Have your paperwork in front of you. CV and the job description. Also prepare some questions you may want to ask them at the end of the interview. You should have prepared by reading about the company. If you need to have some bullet pointed notes about the company which you may want to refer to, keep them close by. Remember to have all of these documents organised. You don't want them to hear rustling paper as you look for the next document. Or have your laptop open and the documents well organised on the desktop so you can find them easily.

4. Have a glass of water or drink nearby in case you need it. Dry mouth can be a side effect of an interview!

5. Be somewhere with great mobile reception which is quiet and use headphones if you can. This leaves your hands free to take notes if you need to. iPhone wired headphones pick up EVERY BIT of background noise so ensure it is very quiet if you use these. Sit at a desk or table and have all your resources in front of you.

6. Bring a notebook to write down important fact HOWEVER, it is VERY important that you are listening carefully as well. It is much more easy to be distracted when you are on the phone. Some people find it useful to CLOSE THEIR EYES and listen carefully to the person as they speak.

7. Smile when you pick up the phone and say hello. It is scientifically proven that a smile can be heard and automatically starts creating warmth and rapport. Even on the phone.

8. If you cannot hear the question properly ask the Interviewer to repeat. If there is a problem with reception or the call keeps breaking up, let the Interviewer know and try another form of connection, WhatsApp, Zoom Audio, Skype Audio. It is ok to say you cannot hear the other person and far better than answering the wrong question as you cannot hear. It can be a great idea to test your phone line and reception before and even do a practice interview on the phone with a friend before to ask them how you sound!

9. Remember stay focused, breath, and slow down throughout answering. Give yourself time to think before you respond. If you need a moment to think let the interviewer know. Just say "I would just like a moment to think about which is my best response to this question" so that it is not just silence. They cannot see your face and know that you are thinking!

10. Say thank you at the end, goodbye and MAKE SURE YOU HANG UP!

Above all stay calm focus on the Interviewer and listen carefully. Keeping your answers to the point.

For a really great list of interview questions visit here Good luck everyone!!!

About the author:

Caroline Langston has been a Recruiter and Coach for 11 years helping people across the world ace their interviews up to Global C Suite level. For interview training and preparation coaching, please send an email to

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