Telephone interviews in English can seem scary. Employers often use them toÂ filter-outcandidates before the face-to-face round. Itâs really important to make a good impression, but thereâs so much to think about. What will you say? How do you sound? What happens if you canât think of the right word?
For remote jobs, a telephone or Skype interview might be the only option, so itâs important to get it right first time. Whether itâs arranged in advance, or just a surprise phone call to chat about the role, our advice is to prepare the best you can!
So to guarantee that you get your dream job, here are our tips for telephone interviews in English.
Preparing for the interview
Before the interview, itâs best to do some groundwork.
Questions and answers
Youâll feel much more confident about speaking on the phone if youâve thought about the answers in advance. The good news is, you can predict the type of questions youâll get asked. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Remember they might ask you about your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Avoid negative statements and try to put a positiveÂ spin on them instead. Always show youâre trying to improve yourself!
And if you want to show that youâre interested in the job. Write some questions of your own. This post has some good examples of what to ask the interviewer.
The best way to get ready for the call is with a mock interview. Go through your questions and practise answering them out loud. You can work with a friend and get them to ask you some quick-fire questions too. If you donât have a friend whoâs available, donât panic! Try answering in front of the mirror, or use this video from English Like a Native:
Record yourself speaking
Do you know what you sound like speaking English on the telephone? Maybe now is the time to find out. Recording your voice is an excellent way to detect any bad habits you might have. Perhaps you speak too loudly, cough when youâre nervous, or simply say âermâ and âuhâ too much.
Listen back and ensure you are speaking naturally and fluently. Now is not the time to worry about grammar mistakes.
But think about your pronunciation and make sure you sound enthusiastic!
Preparing for the call
Here are some extra things to remember before picking up the phone:
Confirm the details – the date, time and name before the interview
Practise speaking in English an hour before to warm up
Find a quiet place with no distractions
Have a drink of water ready
Have a pen and paper to take notes
Count to ten before you make the call
The keys to a successful phone interview in English
The elevator pitch
In the first few minutes of every interview you need to sell yourself. Explain why you want the job and why youâre the best person for the job. The key here is to have your âelevator pitchâ ready.
An elevator pitch is how you would introduce yourself in the time it would take to travel in an elevator. Think about it. You meet an executive you really want to work for. You only have 30 seconds to tell them why to hire you, what would you say?
Use this time to say who you are, a little about your previous work experience and why you are suitable for the role.
Match your skills to the job description
Take some time before the interview to properly read the job description. Think of ways you can link what they are looking for with your own skills and experience. Also, research the company by looking at their website, blog and social media accounts. Itâs always impressive to know facts about the company that maybe theÂ recruiter doesnât even know!
During the interview, make sure you have your CV in front of you. Assume that the interviewer will too, and theyâll ask you questions based around what youâve written.
Speak slowly and calmly
Listen carefully to the questions and pause before you answer. Speak slowly and calmly and donât ramble. Keep your answers clear and concise.
Remember that the person interviewing you may have had twenty other phone calls that day. You donât want them to lose interest or switch off!
While itâs important to speak slowly, also demonstrate your energy and enthusiasm. Take an interest in what they are saying and try to appear confident. Smiling is an effective way to sound positive and friendly on the phone, and it will also change your tone.
Donât forget to follow up
So the interview went well and you think you might be in with a chance. But if you want to make a really good impression, send a thank-you email shortly after. Tell the interviewer it was lovely speaking to them and that you canât wait to hear what the next steps might be.Â
Whatever the outcome, learn from the experience. And remember – practise makes perfect!
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