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How To Stand Out In A Phone Interview

Telephone interviews have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially with remote work on the rise, and employers, more than ever, are turning to them to connect with prospective hires. While they may seem less formal than in-person interviews, they can be just as important in determining whether you are the right fit for a job. Therefore, it is essential to know how to make the most of them.

To help you prepare for and excel in telephone interviews, here are some tips and strategies from our expert recruiters at Allen Recruitment to boost your chances of landing the job.

First, let’s look at the reasons behind this type of interview. The hiring manager may be based in a different location to the candidate, so in this case, a telephone interview is the most practical first step. For Customer Servicing or Sales roles, for example, employers may want to test a candidate’s ability to communicate well over the phone. In cases where there is a high volume of applicants, companies may use telephone interviews as a pre-screening method in order to develop a candidate shortlist for the first round of face-to-face interviews.

So how do you make yourself stand out?


How To Prepare For A Phone Interview

Prepare and practice:

A phone interview is still that: an interview. You need to prepare, think through your responses and practice like you would if you were going to an in-person interview. Record yourself so that you can see what speech habits you need to eliminate. You can also see if you speak too fast or aren’t enunciating well.

Do some research and familiarize yourself with the company that’s calling and who the person is that will be interviewing you. Along with that, just like for an in-person interview, study up on what questions commonly come up in a phone interview and prepare for those. Tailor your answers to that specific job.

Think through ahead of time your strengths and weaknesses, for example, so that you have a quick, easy answer to that specific question. Then make sure, just like with any other interview, that you have questions ready to ask them.

Finally, get dressed and ready like you would for a face-to-face meeting. You may think now is the time to skip out on that step and relax, but getting ready like you normally would is a great way to get yourself into the right mindset.

The beauty of Telephone Interviews is that you can have as many things around you to make you feel more at ease. Be in a quiet room where you’re comfortable in your surroundings and have ready: 

  • Pen and paper.
  • The job ad and your CV.
  • A list of your accomplishments which relate to the job you are discussing – try and have at least 2 -3 specific examples.
  • Research you have done on the company.
  • A list with the names of the people with whom you’ll be speaking, questions you want to ask and three points you’d like to make during the interview.
  • Your calendar.
  • A charged battery and good reception where you are. The last thing you want is to lose your interview because of a low signal.

Get rid of distractions: If you’re at home, don’t sit out in the living room with your kids and dog running around. Think ahead and eliminate any distractions. This includes browsing the internet or flicking through channels on the TV. Your interviewer will know you’re distracted, guaranteed. So don’t let other things steal your focus.

How To Stand Out In A Telephone Interview:

The best way to make a positive impact is by smiling throughout the interview, this comes through in your voice despite the fact the interview can’t see you.

Other top tips include:

  • Speak directly into the phone.
  • Take your time:  When you’re on the phone, it can be difficult to know when the other person is done speaking. Make sure to listen and wait so that you know that they’re done and don’t have more to add to their statement or question. Then take time in answering, don’t rush it. Try to tailor your response to their specific needs. Make sure you speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
  • Stand up. Your voice sounds stronger.
  • LISTEN: Always be listening to what the interview is asking and make sure you pay attention.
  • Avoid “ah, er, hum”. This habit is especially noticeable on the telephone. This takes practice, so practice.
  • Remember that your single objective at this point is to sell yourself and your skills.
  • Be aware that the caller can’t see you, can’t see your hand gestures, and can’t see you taking notes.
  • It is important that you paint mental pictures when you describe your activities because the interviewer is also subject to the same sensory limitations you face – this is where the specific examples come in handy!
  • Beware of over-familiarity. It is best to use formal business language unless the interviewer is adopting a more casual approach.
  • Pace the call. Let the caller talk without interruptions.
  • Do use the technique of repeating or re-phrasing questions. It tells the caller that you listened carefully, and gives you time to think about your answer.
  • During the interview if you hear something that is attractive to you let the employer know this.
  • If you need time to think, say so – as in radio, silence during a telephone conversation is dead air time – to that end, don’t ramble irrelevantly in order to fill the space either.
  • The telephone interview is coming to an end when you are asked whether you have any questions.
  • The telephone interview is not the place to discuss compensation in any form.
  • Avoid smoking, eating, or drinking. It all telegraphs to your listener.
  • Don’t forget to thank the interviewer for their time and interest.


Telephone interviews can be a great opportunity to showcase your skills and experience to potential employers and they can turn out to be quite a pleasant experience too, so try not to be too anxious. Remember to stay confident, focused, and engaged throughout the interview, and be sure to follow up with a thank-you note or email afterwards. With a little preparation and practice, you can master the art of the telephone interview and take the first step towards your dream career.


About Allen Recruitment

We are a team of expert recruitment consultants with offices in Irelandthe UK, the NetherlandsSpainFranceSweden, Belgium and Poland, providing recruitment solutions and job opportunities all over Europe. We offer temporary, permanent, contract and contingency roles in a variety of industries such as IT, Tech, Finance, Telecom, E-commerce, Engineering and more.


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