Top tips on how to prepare for a telephone interview

January 24, 2018 2 mins read
Top tips on how to prepare for a telephone interview

Most people with a lot of job hunting experience have come across the first interview stage: the telephone interview.

These interviews usually last between ten and twenty minutes, and although they spare you from the anxiety of a face-to-face interview, they are still the first stage in the process and provide the interviewer a glimpse into your experience and personality. How can you smoothly complete the telephone interview and proceed along the road to success? I have a few top tips I’d like to share:

1. Preparation before the interview

There are basically two types of telephone interviews. In one, the interviewer will arrange a time beforehand, in the other they will just call you out of the blue. Regardless of the type of interview, however, you can make ample preparations beforehand: Think of reasons why you want to join the company; sort out your current work structure and highlights; think about your work achievements and problems you’ve encountered; if it’s a foreign venture, prepare a short self-introduction in English; and prepare and think about another two or three questions to discuss with the interviewer.

2. Responding during the interview

During the interview, your communication will be purely verbal, so choose a quiet place to begin. Do your best to relax, and to remain calm, cool and collected. To take the necessary notes during the interview, remember to have a pen and paper to hand. Once the interview has begun, listen carefully to the interviewer’s questions, then answer accordingly. Don’t interrupt the interviewer and definitely don’t answer a question that wasn’t asked. When responding, don’t speak too quickly, maintain an even tone and speed, and make sure everything is arranged logically. In most cases, the telephone interview is your first opportunity to engage with personnel at the hiring company, so it’s best not to ask questions related to salary. Throughout the entire interview, use polite and courteous language.

Each step of the interview process is extremely important, so don’t count on luck to get you through. To ensure you give your best performance, make sure you’ve adequately prepared beforehand. Treat your telephone interview with the respect it deserves.

Alan Li's picture
Alan Li
Operations Director, Greater China