Career Toolkit


Telephone interviews are an additional stage in the recruitment process used to shortlist candidates for face to face interview. They tend to have a duration of 15 – 30 minutes and are typically of a standard question and answer format, focussing on technical issues to ensure that you have the right skills and experience for the role and are genuinely interested in progressing. The telephone interview is therefore of vital importance and can be the deciding factor in whether or not your application will be taken any further.

If selected for a telephone interview the following guidelines should be followed.


  • If you have been asked to call the company yourself, make sure that you have the correct telephone number and that you know the name and title of the person you need to speak to.
  • When an employer has arranged to call you, it is important to provide them with a telephone number that you are guaranteed to be able to answer. If there is the possibility of this telephone being answered by someone else, make sure that they are aware that you are expecting a call so that the telephone will be answered in an appropriate manner.
  • Research the company and the interviewer – website, Annual Report, Google, LinkedIn and take notes on company history, products / services, key facts and recent news as well as the interviewer’s background.
  • Research the industry sector using trade publications and websites. It’s a great way to impress the interviewer and show that you really understand the environment in which they work, the challenges which they face and their competitors. Good and relevant research is one of the most important things you can do to improve your chances of getting the job.
  • Read the job description paying particular attention to the requirements of the role. Think about the questions they may ask – you may well be asked why you are applying for the role and how you meet the essential requirements so it is important that you are able to provide well-informed responses. An advantage of telephone interviews is that you can prepare notes and even have a copy of your CV in front of you. (SEE STANDARD INTERVIEW QUESTIONS GUIDE)
  • You should also prepare a list of questions that you want to ask the interviewer. (SEE QUESTIONS TO ASK AT AN INTERVIEW GUIDE)
  • Make sure you have your diary with you in case the interviewer wants to book in a face to face interview there and then.


  • If you have been asked to call the company yourself, it is important that you do so at exactly the specified time. In the event of the interviewer being unavailable when you call, make sure that you leave a polite message asking them to contact you to reschedule. This ensures that they will at least be aware that you did try to call at the appointed time.
  • If they are contacting you, make sure that you are available to take the call at the right time, in a quiet place where you will not be interrupted.
  • Make sure that you have in front of you a copy of the job description, any notes you have made, your CV and diary.
  • Ideally it is best to take the call on a landline. If you have to take the call on your mobile, make sure you have good reception and your battery is fully charged. If you are making the call, make sure you have sufficient credit.
  • Apart from the content of your answers, your voice is the only way that you can make a positive impression. Make sure you speak clearly and confidently, sounding enthusiastic about the role and company. Stand if possible as you will sound more animated and smile as it will show in the tone of your voice. • Make sure your answers are structured and don’t waffle.
  • Show interest in attending a face to face interview.
  • Thank the interviewer for their time and ask for a timescale on feedback.

If you require any further guidance on preparing for a telephone interview, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Good luck!