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How to nail a phone interview

By Becky Postlethwaite on 29.09.16 in Your Career

It is becoming commonplace to pitch your worth to recruitment consultants or an agency in a telephone interview. There are challenges to watch out for; it's a shorter time to make an impression and because you can't see the interviewer you might miss out on non-verbal cues and body language that might give you a clue as to how well you're doing. 

Here atDirect Recruitment, we often use telephone interviews to screen candidates, before inviting them in to discuss a client brief. So we've put together a few tips that will help you succeed.

Choose a quiet place

It might sound obvious, but in our experience many candidates are talking to us whilst 'on the hoof' or in a noisy environment. This really isn't ideal for either party as it's distracting. Doing a phone interview in a café, with the milk frother gurgling in the background and children screaming is hardly conducive to selling yourself. 

Ditch your mobile

In this instance, we are talking about your telephone line. Ideally, you will be using a landline to avoid breaking up or being cut off, but if you do have to use your mobile, make sure you have plenty of battery life and a strong signal. 

Hello this is Jane speaking…..

A simple 'hello' isn't going to cut the mustard here. You need to make a good impression from the off. Get into the habit of always answering your phone thus: "Hello, this is (your full name) speaking".

By doing this on a phone interview, you have already identified yourself and the fact that you've remembered that your interview is due to take place. A positive start will help the flow of the conversation. 

Put your game face on

A phone interview is very different to having a chinwag with your mates. By sitting up straight and putting on your interview face on, you will release certain hormones in your body that have a direct effect on your confidence. 

Be prepared

We know this isn't the Girl Guides, but their motto is a useful one. Just because it's a phone interview, doesn't mean you can wing it. Make sure you are fully up to speed on the job spec, your CV and have answers for all the usual questions such as "why do you want to work here?" 


As with a face-to-face interview, make sure you have one or two questions you can put to the interviewer. This will show you are serious and interested in the company. How about "what, in your opinion, is the best part about working at X?" 


Once the interview draws to a close, remember to say thank you that you enjoyed the conversation and that you look forward to hearing from them in due course. Don't just say 'bye' and hang up.