Increasingly we’re seeing employers opt for a telephone interview as a first point of contact with candidates, particularly if there is a lot of interest in the role and they want to make an initial sift of applicants before sending out invitations for interviews. It can be a little more challenging to put across the information you want without the natural interaction that comes from being in the room with the interviewer, so here’s our guide to help:

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!

You shouldn’t treat a telephone interview any differently than you would treat a face to face interview, in the sense that you need to prepare, prepare, prepare and really sell yourself! Take a look at standard interview questions and practice your answers. You don’t need to have a scripted response, but having a few points noted down to remind you what you want to cover will definitely improve your performance and make you feel more confident. If you’re working with a  recruitment partner they’ll typically help you to prepare and give you any useful information they have gained from the client.

Do Your Research

You will more than likely be asked “What made you apply for this role?” and “What do you know about the company?”, so you need to make sure you do your research. Take a good look at the company website and anything else you can find online, such as performance data or news articles, that demonstrates that you understand what their business does and generally how the role fits in to the organisation.

Avoid Distractions

To enable you to hear exactly what is being said you need to find a time and a place where you can listen carefully without any distractions. For example if you decide to take the call in your office at your current workplace, you may struggle to concentrate if you’re worried that someone is going to overhear you. So pick somewhere quiet, make sure your phone is charged and turn off any notifications that could distract you mid-flow.


It might sound a little obvious, but it’s really important to listen to what is being asked. Try not to interrupt the interviewer so they have chance to ask their question and you can have a moment to think about your response. The questions they ask will tell you a lot about how they’re planning to shortlist candidates, so make sure you really sell yourself! If a question is in two parts, make sure you hear and then answer them both so you put yourself in a great position alongside your competition.

Speak Clearly

Make sure you speak clearly on the phone so the interviewer can catch all the great points you’re making. If you naturally speak quiet quickly then try and slow this down a little to give the interviewer chance to catch up! Maybe have a practice call with a friend or family member beforehand so they can give you feedback.

Have Questions

Just like a face to face interview you need to prepare some questions in advance. Interviewers will expect you to have questions to ask, so note down anything you think of before the call. Not having any questions prepared will give the impression that you’re not overly interested in the role, so don’t fall down at the final hurdle.

Find Out Next Steps

Before you end the call make sure you know what the next steps are. Typically the interviewer will reflect on the telephone interviews with their team and shortlist for a face to face meeting. It’s a little frustrating when you end an interview and have no idea when you can expect to hear, so save yourself the worry and find out when you may get a response. Here at Optimum Recruitment we always make sure we keep candidates updated throughout the process, so you’re aware of any delays that occur.

Get Feedback

Hopefully you’ll do a fantastic job and be shortlisted for a face to face interview, however if you’re not successful then don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Feedback is fantastic as it can help you identify issues that you can address next time, for example the interviewer might feel your experience didn’t translate well to the role, or even something simpler like they may have felt you lacked enthusiasm for the position. Whatever it is it’s best to know, so when it comes to tackling that next telephone interview you’ll have the position in the bag!


Good luck, we’re sure you’re going to do great!


Here at Optimum Recruitment Group we specialise in the recruitment of Accountancy, Finance and Human Resource professionals across the Yorkshire region. Let us help you find the opportunity you’re looking for, call 01904 208065 or email

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