Before meeting face-to-face with a potential employer, you might have to do an interview over the phone. Recruitment agencies often use phone interviews to screen applicants.
Any contact you have with a potential employer should be as professional as possible. These six simple tips can help you to make a good impression on the phone.
1. Get Rid of Distractions
Find somewhere quiet to take call so that you won't be interrupted. It's a good idea to turn off your call waiting or call notification if you can. You don't want any interruptions while you're being interviewed. It's also better to use a landline than a mobile, because you'll get better reception and the line won't cut out.
If you do get a call while you're doing the interview, DON'T answer it! Ignore it and let it go through to voicemail.
2. Be Prepared
Before the interview it's good to try to think of the kind of questions you might be asked. Have a look at some of the other pages in our Job Interviews section for some ideas about things you might get asked.
You should also check out some of our job interview videos and do our online quiz, which includes some practise interview questions.
Make sure you're ready for the call at least half an hour before the interview is supposed to start. This will give you time to sit quietly and think about all the preparation you've done.
3. Speak Clearly
At the start of the interview, ask the interviewer if they can hear you clearly. If you're having trouble hearing them, politely let them know. Don't eat or chew gum or do anything else that might be distracting or make it hard to hear what you're saying.
Sometimes if you're a bit nervous your mouth can go dry and your voice can get croaky. Have a glass of water nearby so you can take a sip if you need it. Don't forget to excuse yourself before you take a sip.
4. Don't Interrupt
Try not to interrupt the interviewer. Wait until they've finished asking you the question before you begin your answer. There's no problem leaving a little pause between question and answer.
Even if you need to clarify something, don't speak until the interviewer has finished what they're saying.
5. Give Detailed Answers
Don't just answer with a 'yes' or 'no' or a short sentence. When you're on the phone, your interviewer can't see you nod or smile or make hand gestures. Words are all you've got to impress them!
If you need some time to think about an answer just let the interviewer know. Say something like "Let me think..." Don't leave them waiting in silence.
For more tips on answering questions, check out our Answering questions well in a job interview page.
6. Follow Up
Your phone interview might be just one part of the recruitment process. Ask about what happens next and whether you'll be doing another interview in person.
Make sure you follow up quickly on anything you'd promised to do, like sending in your CV, or providing referee contact details.
More Tips and Advice
For more tips on using the phone to get a job, check out our Cold calling - tips for success page.