The Telephone Interview - Ten Tips for Making a Good Impression
They liked the cover letter, they were impressed by your resume, but before you get
that oh-so-coveted face-to-face meeting, you've still one more test to pass: the telephone
interview. So making a good impression is paramount.
Telephone interviews present their own unique challenges; people act differently on the
phone, your posture, facial expressions, clothing, etc. cannot be seen by the party on the
other line so the tendency is to relax-become more informal. Sometimes, people are more
difficult to understand over the telephone; so dialect, accent, local vernacular can work
against you. Then there are outside factors like traffic noise, the clicking of a
keyboard, and other voices. All of these elements can work against you when you're
interviewing over the phone. So before you begin, take note of these ten tips for making a
1. In the days before the interview, formulate questions and make a list. Then, during
the interview, keep them in front of you. As you address each one, tick it off your list.
Add new questions as they occur.
2. Gather your resume and other documents so that you can refer to them during the
interview. Highlighting key information and dates may also help-we know you've seen your
own resume 100 times, but nerves can make even the best of us become flustered. So make it
as easy for yourself as you can.
3. Go to the toilet before the interview begins. The call of nature is the last thing
you want to be thinking about during this crucial conversation.
4. Hold the interview in a quiet place where you won't be disturbed; preferably one
with a table at which you can sit and take notes. Background noises and interruptions can
be both distracting and leave a bad impression with the interviewer. Never hold a
telephone interview outside where wind and traffic noise can interfere; and avoid holding
it during working hours unless you can ensure quiet and uninterrupted time.
5. Take notes. Note-taking serves two purposes; it keeps you on track with the
conversation and provides information which will help you strengthen your face-to-face
interview. Take the notes by hand; don't be tempted to use the keyboard-the sound of keys
clacking can be distracting.
6. Listen carefully and speak clearly. Keep your responses concise, don't ramble, and
avoid using local vernacular or slang. Say something once; avoid repeating yourself. Don't
interrupt the interviewer and don't feel rushed to fill pauses with sound. If you need a
moment to think out your response, say so and then be quiet. Avoid making "thinking" noises.
7. Smile when you speak. Even though they can't see you, the interviewer will perceive
you in a better light if you are smiling while you talk.
8. Maintain a professional attitude. It is easy to slip into casual conversation mode
when you're on the telephone, but don't be tempted. A telephone interview should be held
with the same level of professionalism as a face-to-face interview. This is not a friendly
chat; this is an audition.