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  • Michael Coulthard

How to Ace Your a Telephone Interview

A telephone interview is often ignored as being a vital part of the hiring process. They are often underutilised by Employers and seen as an unnecessary step by Candidates. Today we are going to discuss how to ace your first telephone interview...


Telephone interviews can be unnerving. As your only interaction with the company so far, the telephone interview serves as the deciding factor in whether you’ll have the opportunity to continue pursuing the role. Small and simple ways you can impression during the phone screen interview include:

  • Smiling while you talk is a good example as people can “hear” when you smile, as facial expressions naturally influence your tone of voice. Additionally, smiling can help relieve any anxiety you feel during the interview.

  • Laughing at appropriate times during the conversation. Genuine laughter communicates friendliness, and warmth. Conversely, don’t force a laugh.

  • Developing rapport with the interviewer. Don’t just say what you think the interview would like to hear. Try to mirror the tone of the interviewer and find things you have in common. If your own questions and observations are relevant to the question you are being asked, share them in your response. These types of naturally arising points can lead to a more fluid conversation that progresses beyond a rigid question-and-answer format.


Your qualifications and abilities are crucial. However, distancing yourself from the competition can require more than listing off your skills. Share responses on why and how you developed those skills. This will help provide insights into not only what you can do—but who you are.

For example, what are some accomplishments from past roles that will directly relate to the job? Sharing the story behind your qualifications indicates you can perform the necessary skills for the role. Just be careful to keep your focus. Steer clear of irrelevant stories and anecdotes.


The questions that you ask can seal the deal on whether the recruiter decides to pass your name onto the hiring manager. Recruiters typically love when candidates pose informed, high-quality questions: Ask about the role’s big-picture impact, the company culture, and training programs. These types of topics tend to be held in particularly high regard. When you're prompted to ask questions at the end of the interview, feel free to refer to a list you’ve prepared beforehand but also use the time to clarify any information from the conversation.


Sending a follow-up email directly after any interview is important. It is a thoughtful gesture, shows your interest, and can set you apart from other candidates. Referencing specific information from the call and reiterating that you’re excited for next steps can be particularly helpful.

Did you chat with multiple people? Avoid asking the Recruiter to thank someone on your behalf. Sending a follow-up email to a recruiter provides the opportunity to ask for someone’s email and thank the person directly.


Work has become increasingly virtual, and so are interviews. Some companies today conduct initial screening interviews virtually rather than over the phone. The following tips will help ensure your video chat goes off without a problem:

Have your virtual platform set up and ready to go beforehand. From your microphone and camera to your internet connection there are several things that need to go right to even begin a virtual interview. Check everything to ensure you’re not frantically fumbling with your computer as the call begins.

Remove distractions. It’s important your focus is placed squarely on the interviewer. Silence virtual distractions such as incoming email notifications. Avoid physical distractions too. (Setting up your computer in an area of your home that has a simple background is best.)

Dress professionally. It may be tempting to pair a business casual top with pyjama bottoms, but what if you need to move away from your computer? Additionally, dressing the part will help put you in the right mindset for excelling in a job interview.

Maintain eye contact. We are more memorable when we establish eye contact. That said, doing so in virtual interviews can be somewhat tricky. While it may be counterintuitive to look directly into the camera rather than the image of the interviewer, doing so can help establish a better connection.


The goal of each step of the interview process is to simply make it to the next stage and ultimately, secure a job offer. You’ll want to end the initial phone interview feeling like you’ve relayed why you are the candidate best suited for the role, but that you’ve also expressed the information in a compelling, concise and memorable way. Remember to approach the phone interview with the same level of enthusiasm and preparation as you would an in-person interview.

Good luck!

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