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The telephone interview

One step closer to your dream job


Telephone interview – one step closer to your dream job

Telephone interviews are frequently used in application procedures. An increasing number of recruiters is using these interviews to preselect potential candidates and to save time and money. Normally the objective is to clarify any open questions about the CV and/or to get a first impression of the applicant. Nevertheless the possibility of a longer interview has to be taken in account. Although a telephone interview does not have the same significance as a personal interview, it is the first step towards your dream job. The application you submitted was convincing and you have been shortlisted for the position. The unaccustomed situation of not being able to see your interlocutor can be of advantage as well as of disadvantage. Moreover certain rules have to be followed in order to make a good impression.

Preparing fo the interview

Telephone interviews can be announced or unannounced. For this reason it is important to be prepared for any eventuality of this kind during the application process and to always answer the telephone using your full name. An unannounced call from a headhunter, however, does not have to be accepted. Rescheduling the telephone interview will give a more professional impression than holding an unprepared interview in inappropriate surroundings. It is of advantage if you can address your interlocutor with his/her name. Should you not know the recruiter yet, you should memorise his/her name and the coordinates of the company.

Before the interview

In order to convince the recruiter on the other end of the phone and in order to pass further selection processes successfully, it is necessary to be as well prepared for the telephone interview as you would be for a personal interview. Next to searching for information about the company, preparing for the usual interview questions about yourself and noting some questions of your own, some practical aspects are to be considered: should you be using a smartphone it is necessary to make sure that it is fully charged and that you can ensure a good connection. Also the choice of clothes is not to be underestimated. You do not necessarily have to wear a suit and tie but uncomfortable clothes can have unfavourable effects on your voice quality. 

During the interview

You should choose a quiet room for the interview. Background noises are to be reduced to a minimum. Ideally you are at home at your writing desk with all the relevant documents at your disposal and a notepad and a glass of water within your reach. Interviews while driving a car, shopping or in the proximity of noisy cohabitants are a no go. Avoid other distractions such as smoking or TV. 


During a telephone interview it is primarily your communicative competence that will count. Because of the lack of visual impressions it is vital that you articulate clearly and pay attention to the speed and volume of your voice. Do not interrupt the HR manager while s/he is speaking and do not let yourself be tempted to use colloquial speech. It is in your interest to stay polite and professional at all times.

Follow up

If the telephone interview goes well, you will be rewarded with an invitation to a face-to-face interview. To prepare for this job interview you will need to analyse the preceding telephone interview promptly. While analysing the interview, pay special attention to questions that did not come up and which gave you a feeling of uncertainty. Should you get a negative reply do not get disheartened. A feedback from the recruitment consultant can be helpful in this case. It will help you find any weaknesses you might have and help you take further steps to work on them.