Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

Planning a better future
Planning a better future

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

8.7 Telephone interviews

An increasing number of companies are using the telephone in the first stage of the interviewing process. They do this in several ways:

  • Fully automated: you receive a letter giving a freephone telephone number to ring. You hear a list of statements and press a number on the telephone keypad to indicate your response.
  • Structured: a mutually convenient time is fixed in advance for the interview. You’re taken through a series of questions that are recorded and analysed by trained interviewers. The questions are designed to establish whether or not you have the required skills for the job.
  • Screening: you’re questioned on various aspects of your CV or application form to decide whether you’ll be invited to a personal interview.
  • A sales exercise: you’re given an opportunity to sell a product over the phone. This technique is used for recruiting sales, marketing or telesales staff.

The advice that follows about face-to-face interviews applies just as much to telephone interviews, but some things are especially important:

  • Try to arrange the interview for a time and place where you won’t be interrupted.
  • Keep your application and any other prepared notes with you.
  • Consider how you might come across over the telephone, using the following questions:
    • Do you speak loudly enough?
    • Is your voice clear or do you have a tendency to mumble?
    • Do you sound confident and interested, or monotonous or tentative?
  • Don’t forget to smile when you’re talking on the telephone, as you would when talking to someone face-to-face. The smile won’t be seen but it can be heard.
  • Standing up while talking on the telephone can make you sound more confident.
  • Some candidates dress in the clothes that they would wear to an interview to put themselves in the right frame of mind.