Tips For A Successful Telephone Interview

Published by pinnaclestaffing on

Remember the purpose of the call, is not to “get the job”, but to make them interested enough in you to invite you for an onsite interview.

Be Prepared!

Your voice needs to sound excited and upbeat, employers listen for Enthusiasm! To calm your nerves, try this:  Jumping Jacks, Pace, Smile into a mirror – it works. Do your Research look the organization up online and mention you did so! Get a pad & pen. Write down the names and titles of the people who will be on the Interview, Write a short list of things they need to know about you before the interview is over, Prepare a short list of questions to ask at the end.  (See below)

Environment – Make sure the area you have chosen is quiet with no distracting background noise.  

I strongly prefer a landline for the interview, so turn off your cell phone. — seems dated RC

10 Minute Rule: If they do not call within 10 minutes of the scheduled time, Call ME! They have allotted a certain amount of time for this call, and even with a 10 minute delay, it can still go off without a hitch. Many things could’ve happened: schedule delay, time zone error, transposition of numbers, etc.  But, I can’t fix it – if I don’t know about it.

Have everything ready a glass of water, in case your throat gets dry, your paperwork spread out in front of you, no shuffling of papers on the call.  Make sure to have your resume, any job notes, your pad & pen, calendar, clock, and mirror. If English is a second language, speak slowly, clearly, and directly into the phone.

Cardinal Rule of Telephone Interviews – NEVER INTERRUPT THE INTERVIEWER!

Simply write down what you want to say, so you don’t forget. Then when they have finished, say:  I agree, and when you were speaking about …

Watch the clock and Respect their time, the interview rarely goes over an hour!


Compensation – they shouldn’t ask you on the phone, BUT, if they do, say, that your recruiter as reviewed the salary range for this position with you, and it is within your range, or you expected to be compensated fairly. If they ask you to commit to an onsite interview, ACCEPT.  I can change anything. Any hesitancy on your part, “check the calendar”, “ask the spouse”, will be interpreted as disinterest.


Length: Most telephone interviews are only 30 to 40 minutes.  Longer with more people. First few minutes is the Warm-up, introductions, weather, how’s your day? etc. Usually they begin with Standard questions such as tell me about yourself –short story version (be brief – what you learned, why you left), Strengths(Hard-working, loyal, dependable, etc), Weakness(Workaholic, Detailed, a Technology you may not have training on, etc), Why are you making a change now? (Be positive), Why this job (Mention the website, job details, then location)? 

As the interview starts to wind down they will ask you Departmental questions, pay attention to these, as they are likely issues in the department, they are trying to picture you in the department.

Then it’s your turn, Be prepared to ask good questions: Department questions:  Goals for this position in the first year? Personal questions:  How long have you been with the organization? Why do you like working there?  What was the biggest draw for you? And the biggie: “Is there anything in my background or qualifications, or anything we’ve discussed today that would prevent me from moving forward in the process?” 

STOP TALKING and Wait for an answer, it may take a minute.

If there is a question or doubt in their mind, you have one final chance to overcome it, right now. And Now it’s time for your Closing Statement

This is important because this is the last thing they will remember about you. Practice, in your own words, some version of this:

 “From the research I have done and everything we have discussed today,

I can tell you that I am very excited about this opportunity.

This is exactly the type position I have been looking for.

Thank you for taking the time to discuss this opportunity with me,

I look forward to hearing from you regarding the next step in the process.”

And it’s Over – Now what?

Hang up. Take a deep breath, AND CALL ME! I’m going to want to hear every detail, so I hope you took good notes! Let’s get out our email thank you notes, ASAP, to add a professional touch.

Relax … you did Terrific!

Categories: Tips


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