Your Career• 3 Min read

11th August 2021

Telephone Interview Tips

A telephone interview is a fast and effective way for employers to screen candidates and ensure they are maximising their resources to focus on the most suitable candidates. With more and more schools opting for a first-stage telephone interview we’ve put together our tips for acing your telephone interview and getting that all-important invite for a face-to-face meeting with your potential employer.


Get ready for your telephone interview exactly as you would for a face-to-face one. It’s normal practice for the interviewer to call you directly on your own phone, but you may be asked to ‘dial-in’, which means you dial a designated number and code at the appointed time. If you are working with an agency, your recruitment consultant will let you know how the employer would like to conduct the interview. Here are some extra tips to get prepared!

  • A good night’s sleep will help you face the interview refreshed and alert
  • Wear ‘normal’ interview clothes – it will help you get into the mindset of a formal job interview
  • Make sure your mobile battery is charged, or use a landline if possible.
  • Ensure you won’t be disturbed – let other members of your household know not to interrupt you
  • Have your CV to hand to refer to or answer any questions about your work history.

Doing your research is really important with any interview – not just telephone ones!. Visiting the school’s website and finding out its ethos and mission statement is a great start – make sure you get as much information as you can from your recruitment consultant before your interview. It’s always a good idea to have some questions ready to ask at the end of the interview – it will make you seem more passionate and enthusiastic as well as giving you the chance to find out any extra information you need to know. A first interview isn’t the time for queries about salary and benefits though – wait until you are face-to-face for these.


A telephone interview is a great chance to build a strong rapport with your potential employer. Don’t let the informality of telephone conversations affect your professionalism though – it’s all about getting across the key aspects of your experience relevant to the role.

  1. Keep your voice calm, clear – practise this if you have a tendency to talk too fast or slow!
  2. Give relevant examples to questions, but try not to waffle.
  3. Try to reduce your use of filler words (you know, like etc) and don’t swear!
  4. Smile – it makes a real difference to how you come across on the other end of the phone

Keep things professional and work-appropriate, but it doesn’t hurt to show a little bit of personality too! You can expect both formal and informal questions as your interview progresses. Make sure you listen carefully to questions (jot them down in shorthand if it helps!) and try not to go off on a tangent when you answer them! Although the interview might seem more casual, be sure to focus on your strengths and why you’d be perfect for the role in question – it’s likely the interviewer has an allocated time frame for your conversation so you want to make sure you’ve given the recruiter all the information they need to invite you to a second interview.


Once it’s over, relax and reflect. Thinking about where you think you can across well can help you in future interviews – did you have enough examples to give? Did you find you were talking for long periods of time and that the interviewer had to interrupt you to move things along? These are things to take note of for next time!

It’s good practice to send an email to your interviewer thanking them for their time – little gestures like this will definitely make you a more memorable candidate. If you don’t have the interviewer’s contact details, you should be able to find them on Linkedin, or forward your thank you note to your recruitment consultant who can pass the message to their client (and use it to score you that second interview!) It’s unlikely you’ll receive an offer during a telephone interview – most employers use them to screen candidates more quickly than they can in person.

We hope these tips have helped you prepare for your next telephone interview! Don’t forget to follow us on twitter for the latest updates from our UK offices!

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