Tips to Improve a Telephone Interview

Tips to Improve a Telephone Interview

What did we do before the advance of telecommunications? We sure didn’t use Morse code. Technology and telecommunications are a major component in screening candidates today. Telephone and Skype interviews are used as a cost and time effective pre-screening tool. However, many freak out when asked for a telephone interview with an executive recruiter or potential employer. It can be an uncomfortable and somewhat stressful process, but normally less so than an in-person interview. Consider a telephone interview as you would any other interview. It is a decision maker’s tool to secure a first impression and should be taken seriously. Here are some tips to ease the nerves for a telephone interview.

Tips to Improve a Telephone Interview

Research and Preparation

Do your due diligence into the company, their service or product offerings, their history and culture. Support this with an online Google search of the interviewer and review their LinkedIn profile to increase your knowledge of that person. You never know, you may have crossed paths earlier in your career or even in your childhood. This instantly strengthens the synergy and bonding between you and is a good topic which can be used to break the ice and start a conversation. If you are asked to have a telephone interview without preparation, politely say no and seek the opportunity to schedule at a more comfortable time.

Be Emotionally and Psychologically Ready

Don’t be rushed and think that you can answer the call at the last minute. Wrong idea! Sit close to the phone in a comfortable location and run through your selling points and value-add in your mind. Prepare to eloquently answer questions such as, “Tell me about yourself.” “Why do you want to work for ABC company?” “Why are you the perfect candidate for the job?” Leave other mental hinderances out of your mind space and if you have a family, seek a quiet location for the telephone interview.


The way to feel good about yourself, which hopefully can be picked up by the interviewer on the other end, is to be in a space where you feel as if it is an in-person environment. Don’t interview wearing your pjs. Dress the same as you would for an in-person interview. This will help you to defuse any mental or emotional barriers.


Place your resume conveniently in front of you and be prepared to talk about your complete history and the value you will bring on your appointment. If you applied as a result of a job posting, keep that close by and pick words from the job notice to include in your dialogue.


This is not a fine dining or beer fest occasion. Have a glass of water, tea, or coffee close by just in case your mouth becomes dry or you enter a coughing spell.


Your diction is always better over the telephone when you stand as it reduces the pressure on your diaphragm and enables you to speak more confidently, clearly and precisely. Use your arms to gesticulate in parallel with your oral delivery.

Pen and Paper

As the telephone interview unfolds, you may want to jot down some of the important questions and other information that is shared. Note information that would be worth expanding on during an in-person interview.

Interview Conclusion

Be courteous and wrap up the conversation by thanking the interviewer for their time while emphasizing your candidacy for the position. Ask them if they need any clarifications. Think of missing details that may be of value to assist them in making the further decision to invite you to an in-person interview. Your goal is to shift their mindset into wanting to meet you in-person.

Thank You

Remember that you are in a race and there is only a trophy for the winner. A psychological way of stimulating intrigue in your candidacy is to send a thank you note by snail mail. Remember that? Yes, writing out a thank you note. It will bring significant rewards.

 Happy interviewing!


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