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6 Handy Telephone Interview Tips

Face to Face interviews Vs Telephone Interviews

Telephone interviews over the years have become more popular with employers recruiting. Many recruiters conduct their initial screening process and first interviews via a telephone call which can save employers time and cost. They can be used by recruiters to eliminate the weaker candidates that have applied, rather than to identify the best candidate for the role.

Face to face interviews are when employers meet with candidates, they are conducted by the hiring manager for the position and are more formal than a telephone interview, these interviews can be on a one to one basis or can be conducted by a panel.

In certain ways a telephone interview can be harder than face to face interviews, as it is harder over the telephone to develop a personal rapport with the person conducting the interview as there is no face to face contact to read body language.

Phone interviews are usually shorter in length than a face to face interview, which usually means candidates have less time to impress and sell themselves, so it is vital that preparation is done before the interview so that candidates can make a list of the main points they want to get across during the interview.

Phone interviews can be advantageous to some candidates as they can create less stress and anxiety for the candidate, candidates do not come face to face with the interviewer which can be a big part of the anxiety they may feel.

Face to face interviews allow candidates to talk more in depth when they are answering questions and the interviewer can probe for more details and information if needed. They also provide candidates with the chance to make a better impression, as the interviewer and interviewee can use each other to bounce off body language and facial expressions, with a phone interview this is not an option.

Useful tips for how to prepare for a successful telephone interview

  1. Answering the phone

Candidates should ensure they answer the phone professionally, greeting the interviewer in a way such as “Good Morning Mrs Clover Speaking,” can create a positive vibe, as a candidate you should address the interviewer as Mr. MS…Miss etc unless you have been told to use their first name previously, it’s best not to call the interviewer by their first name unless you are invited to do so

  1. What to wear

Many candidates can think it does not matter what they wear during a telephone interview, which to a degree is true as the interviewer cannot see you so it can be said you don’t need to dress to impress, however candidates should think about dressing for a telephone interview the same as if they were attending a face to face interview, as this could help them feel the part and treat the interview in a professional manner as if it was a face to face one.

  1. Body Language

As much as the interviewer cannot see a candidate’s body language while on a telephone interview, candidates should be aware that interviewers can ‘hear a smile’ so it is important for candidates to be smiling and positive throughout the interview. To help do this it is advised candidates do not do their interviews while sat on their sofas, as much as this can be a comfy option! If a candidate can mimic being in an actual physical interview, sitting up straight in a chair it can help with how they sound over the call.

  1. Arrange a suitable place to sit for the interview

Candidates should think in advance where they will conduct the interview, it is important that there are no distractions nearby so that candidates will not lose concentration during the interview, if a part of the house is noisier than another then a candidate should avoid that and try to go for a quieter part.

Also, candidates should ensure that they test any technology that they will be using, if planning to use a mobile phone, it is important to test that you will not be in an area where the signal is poor and also ensure the phone to be used, whether mobile or landline, is fully charged. It is also advisable to have the charger close by just in case its needed, there is nothing worse than a phone cutting off during an interview.

  1. Speak Clearly

Candidates need to speak clearly during the interview and remember to sound enthusiastic when they are talking and especially when answering questions.

It is also advisable for candidate to keep a copy of their CV and the job advert or job description close by so that they can refer to it during the interview..

  1. Prepare in advance

 Candidates should prepare for their interview in advance

It is  good if candidates can prepare answers to some scenarios in advance of their interview, so they can have some examples of their experience ready to provide to the interviewer.

Phone interviews are usually between 20 minutes and forty-five minutes long, so answers to questions should be kept as brief as possible but ensuring that they cover all the relevant detail.


If you would like further guidance on phone interviews or any other HR topic, please contact Clover HR on 0121 516 0299 or email us at info@cloverhr.co.uk

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