Everything you need to know about a telephone job interview

By Robert Half on 23/01/2017

If you wrote a good cover letter, you may be invited for a job interview. Most companies conduct this first job interview face-to-face, but there are some companies that choose to do the first job interview by telephone. In this case, you don´t have to come to their office; instead, you’re called up at an agreed time in order to answer a few questions.

For more about a telephone job interview, read this article.

Why a telephone job interview?

Holding job interviews takes up a great deal of time. Especially when there are a lot of applicants for a position, some companies opt to do the job interview by phone. By means of a telephone interview, a first selection can be made of candidates who will go on to the next round of the application procedure, without the company spending so many hours on the initial interviews.

Preparing yourself for a telephone job interview

The danger of a job interview by phone lies in the fact that many people don´t really realise it’s a job interview. For example, if you receive an e-mail saying that you’ll be getting a call to ask you a few questions, many people wouldn’t think that this is a job interview. As a result, people don´t prepare themselves for a telephone job interview, and then they are unpleasantly surprised when they suddenly have to answer all kinds of questions. Have you received an e-mail that a telephone contact is going to take place? If so, always prepare yourself for a job interview, because then you’re sure you won´t be surprised by difficult questions you hadn´t expected.

Tips for a job interview by telephone

Have you gotten word that the first job interview will be conducted by phone? Then use the following tips to get through your job interview successfully and ensure that you go on to the next round in the application procedure.

  1. Take the job interview seriously. You may not have to travel to the company´s office to do it, but that doesn´t mean the interview is unimportant.
  2. Find an appropriate place to hold the telephone call. Nothing is so annoying as being disturbed during an important interview. Go to a quiet room where you can´t be disturbed, so that you’ll have full concentration and can do a good job of answering the questions during the interview.    
  3. Prepare yourself well. Look for information about the company you’re applying to, do research on the person you’ll be speaking with and seek as much information as possible on the position you’re applying for.
  4. Make sure your phone’s battery is charged up.
  5. Stand up while making the call. In this way you come across more actively than if you’re calling slumped in a chair - even if your interlocutor can´t see you.

Most frequently made mistakes during the telephone interview

Unfortunately, conducting a job interview by phone still sometimes goes wrong, because many people have no experience with this type of interview. The most frequently made mistakes for the job interview by telephone is the fact that people aren’t well prepared, aren’t easily understandable on the phone or hang up too quickly after the job interview has concluded. So always prepare yourself well, make sure that you can be clearly understood, and never hang up immediately once all the questions of the job interview have been asked. For example, ask what the next steps in the process will be, or thank your interlocutor for the enjoyable interview and only then say goodbye.

Learn from Robert Half’s expert recruiters so you can build a talented team of employees or advance your career. Operating in over 300 locations worldwide, with 12 offices in Belgium and Luxembourg, including our recruitment agency in Brussels, Robert Half can provide you with assistance including executive recruitment, where and when you need it.

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