Telephone interviews in English

Telephone interviews have become a common method for employers to screen and evaluate potential candidates, giving them the possibility of filtering-out candidates before a face-to-face round.   While they may seem less intimidating than in-person interviews, they require just as much preparation and finesse.   

Being interviewed in English can seem scary, and it is really important to make a good impression so you need to get it right the first time.   In this article we aim to provide you with valuable advice and tips to excel in telephone interviews, particularly when conducted in English.

1. Prepare Thoroughly:

Before your interview, do some groundwork by researching the company: Understand the company’s mission, values, culture, and recent news. This knowledge will help you tailor your responses to align with their expectations.

Review the job description: Familiarize yourself with the key responsibilities and qualifications required for the position.

Prepare answers to common interview questions: Anticipate questions about your strengths, weaknesses, experience, and why you’re interested in the role.

2. Practice Your Communication Skills:

Speak clearly and confidently: Enunciate your words and maintain a steady pace while speaking. Avoid using slang or overly complex vocabulary or rambling.

Focus on tone and pitch: A pleasant and enthusiastic tone can leave a positive impression. Avoid speaking too loudly or softly.

Listen attentively: Pay close attention to the interviewer’s questions and comments, and respond thoughtfully. Avoid interrupting or talking over them.

3. Choose the Right Location:

Find a quiet and well-lit space: Minimize background noise and distractions. Ensure you’re in a well-lit area to help you stay alert and engaged.

Use a landline if possible: A landline phone often provides better call quality than a mobile phone.

4. Be Technically Prepared:

It may sound simple but you would be surprised how many people do not check! Test your phone: Check that your phone’s battery is fully charged, and that it’s in good working condition.

Have a backup plan: In case of technical issues, provide an alternative phone number where the interviewer can reach you.

5. Create a Cheat Sheet:

Prepare a list of key points and anecdotes: Jot down your accomplishments, examples, and important information you want to mention during the interview. Keep this cheat sheet in front of you for reference.

Have a copy of your resume and the job description: These documents can help you answer questions about your qualifications and match your skills to the job requirements.

6. Master the “Tell Me About Yourself” Question:

Craft a concise and compelling response: Highlight your relevant experience, skills, and what makes you a perfect fit for the role. Keep it under two minutes.

7. Mock Interview:

A great way to get ready for the call is with a mock interview.  This involves going through your questions and practising answering them out loud. Get a friend to help you a friend and get them to ask you some quick-fire questions too.

You can also record yourself speaking, that way you can identify any bad habits

8. Ask Thoughtful Questions:

Prepare questions for the interviewer: Asking questions shows your interest in the position and the company. Inquire about the team, company culture, and expectations for the role.   This will make you feel more confident about speaking on the phone.   There are many questions that you can predict will be asked; here are some to get your started:   Remember they might ask you about your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Avoid negative statements and try to put a positive spin on them instead. Always show you’re trying to improve yourself!

9. Follow Up:

So, you feel good after the interview and feel you are in with a chance, just to ensure you make a really good impression send a thank-you email: Express your gratitude for the opportunity and reiterate your interest in the position shortly after the interview.

Conclusion: Telephone interviews can be your ticket to your dream job, but they require careful preparation and effective communication. By following these tips and practicing your interview skills, you can confidently navigate telephone interviews in English and increase your chances of success.

Remember, each telephone interview is a valuable opportunity to showcase your qualifications and personality, so make the most of it and no matter what the outcome is, learn from the experience.   Good luck with your upcoming interviews!

Glossary for Language Learners

 Find the following words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

to hire (v): to employ

to screen(v):  to check that someone is suitable & able to do a job by getting information about their previous jobs, personal activities etc..

filtering-out            (pv): to reduce an unwanted number of candidates.

face-to-face round: interview is one in which you and the interviewer meet in person to discuss your credentials. 

Finesse(n):  impressive delicacy and skill

to excel)v): be exceptionally good at or proficient in an activity or subject.

groundwork (n): the preliminary work.

Tailor (v): make or adapt for a particular purpose or person.

to align (v): place or arrange (things) in a straight line

Enunciate (v): say or pronounce clearly.

steady pace (n): happening in a smooth, gradual, and regular way, not suddenly

slang(n): informal language

to ramble(v): to talk for a long time

pitch(n): the level or degree of one´s voice

background(n): the level or degree of something the level or degree of something

well-lit(adj): to have sufficient light

stay alert and engaged (exp): the ability to manage and direct one’s own feelings, thoughts and emotions

landline(n) a conventional telecommunications connection by cable laid across land.

a backup plan: a contingency plan in case your primary backup plan fails or is not sufficient

Jot down (v): to write briefly or hurriedly

cheat sheet(n):  a piece of paper bearing written notes intended to aid one’s memory

to craft(v): to create something

mock interview (n): an emulation of an interview.

quick-fire  (adj): rapid questions.

spin (n): a different interpretation

in with a chance (exp):  to have the possibility for success

to showcase(v): exhibit; display




pv = phrasal verb

n = noun

adj = adjective

v = verb

exp = expression

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