The simple guide to successful Telephone Interviews – Part 2 – The Interview

phone interviewing part 2Telephone interviews are still very common when it is not easy or practical for a face to face interview for some reason.

In Part 1 we explored the preparation needed in advance of the call (see here for more information ) and now we move on to the actual call.

The primary difference between a telephone and face to face interview is the loss of certain senses – most notably, sight. This generally plays an enormous part in the tone of the meeting particularly in the initial stages, from appearance to body language and other visual cues..

The importance of a self-confident and enthusiastic voice therefore cannot be understated and is vital to success in the telephone interview. Without the visual influence the emphasis on sound is very much amplified so needs much care and thought.

Smiling whilst talking can be very powerful and definitely improves your presentation. This makes logical sense but is backed up by science as apparently the tone of your voice changes when you smile.

When talking on the call, speak naturally, but be aware of delays in the call and the necessity to slightly pause before you speak to ensure the other person has finished and you are not talking over them.

You will most likely need to speak a little slower on the phone interview, taking care to enunciate your words and speak directly into the receiver. Rapid speech is magnified on the phone, and most of us speak more rapidly when a little nervous, so take care to ensure you are not babbling on.

Try to avoid using slang, and try to minimise the ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ and ‘like’ and ‘you know’‘s that pervade everyday speech.

Think about your posture as this can affect the sound of your voice – some suggest standing for a phone interview, but if this is not you make sure you sit comfortably in an upright position without slouching.

Give clear, concise and relevant answers to questions – try not to waffle and never interrupt.

Don’t be afraid of silences – this is natural, but if you feel it is becoming a little awkward then maybe it would be is a good time to ask one of your prepared questions.

It should go without saying, but don’t eat or chew gum, avoid habits like clicking a pen, and staring out of the window – you need to be fully focused for the duration of the call.

As with all things, you improve with practice, so take time to practice a phone interview with a friend or family member that will give you some constructive criticism – it seems a bit corny but it can be a valuable exercise to improve your technique and make a good impression.

After the call evaluate your performance – jot down a few notes straight afterwards with your impressions and anything you found tricky (you can research/practice this before your next interview).

Achieving a successful outcome from any telephone interview can be summed up in a few words….preparation, research, focus, and positivity, so put these simple steps in place to increase your chances at your next phone interview.

Apart from our brief guide here, there are lots of free tips and resources on the internet about how to successfully conduct interviews. Take the time and effort to do your research and your chances of a positive outcome will increase exponentially.

About the Author

rsz_tim_johns_cc1Tim Johns is a former Hotelier and Managing Partner with Elite Search – a leading hospitality recruitment firm. For more information about Tim and Elite Search visit and The Elite Hotelier


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