How to Handle Telephone Interviews: Our Top Tips

Interviews can be daunting enough, but the majority of professionals find it even harder to make a good impression on the telephone. If you need to take a telephone interview, remain calm. Just follow these tips for success.

Have Everything Prepared

One of the benefits of a telephone interview is that you arrange the information you need right in front of your eyes. Clients know that too, so make sure you take advantage. Write out (or print) all the information that might be relevant, then stick it on the wall in front of you. This means that you won’t have to keep leafing through a stack of papers to find what you need.


Yes, smile. Scientists have demonstrated that people can actually ‘hear’ your smile while you’re talking. Most people remain neutral when they’re talking on the phone, which often makes them sound rather monotone. Keep yourself looking happy to make a positive impression.

Control Your Environment

Telephone interviews can happen anywhere, which means you need to take a certain amount of responsibility. Make sure that you can be somewhere quiet and empty when the call comes through.

Avoid Yes and No Answers

Building rapport can be tricky enough when you’re in a traditional interview, but it’s even tougher when you aren’t even in the same physical space. This is why it is extra important to avoid answering either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a question. These are closed answers which don’t lead to further discussion. Of course, you don’t need to be too verbose, but try to find a happy medium.

Speak Slowly and Clearly

People generally begin to talk too fast when they’re on the phone, especially when they need to speak at length. In an interview situation, this will come off as unprofessional, and you won’t appear to be a very strong prospect. Make sure you remain calm – speaking slowly and clearly will demonstrate confidence.

Disable Smartphone Features

If you’re taking your call on a smartphone, remember to turn off alert tones (or vibrations) for incoming messages and calls. These noises can be distracting and embarrassing, and will generally throwing you off-track.


Try to see a telephone interview as an opportunity to impress. Show your confidence and enthusiasm for the position you’re applying for.

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