Maxwell Stephens

Do's and Don'ts in a Telephone Interview

telephone interview

Often, when an employer has a high response to their job offer, they would rather not conduct hundreds of face-to-face interviews for a single position. It can be very expensive and extremely time-consuming.


Instead, they may prefer to filter out the most suitable candidates by conducting telephone interviews.  Once they have cherry-picked the best applicants, they can move on to physical interviews.


Many candidates do not reach this stage. Being interviewed over the phone often means they come under prepared or simply don’t take it seriously enough.


At Maxwell Stephens, we get plenty of calls from nervous candidates prior to a telephone interview. Don’t worry about being nervous. It’s perfectly normal. Unlike with a face-to-face interview, you can’t make judgements on the interviewer’s body language or facial expressions.

So, to pass this sifting phase, and move on to the next stage, follow Maxwell Stephens easy do’s and don’ts of a telephone interview.




Your research


Just like any other interview, you should find out as much as you can about the company you’re interviewing for. Start with their website; find out facts and about any upcoming projects.

Write down any questions you have


When your interviewer asks ‘Do you have any questions?’ this isn’t optional. They are seeing if you have done your research, and are genuinely interested in the position.


Prepare at least three questions to learn more about the role, the company, and potential for growth.


Charge your phone and disable any distracting features


If using your mobile phone, make sure it’s fully charged prior to the interview. A dying or dead battery suggests you are not very good at planning ahead. Turn off any notifications that could interrupt your conversations. If you have “Crazy Frog Sings We Are The Champions” as your SMS alert tone, best switch it off.




Treat it any differently from a face-to-face interview


Oddly, some find it helpful to dress for a face-to-face interview even for a telephone interview. It helps you to feel and sound more professional, despite being at home.


Allow distractions


This is extremely important to prepare before your interview. Turn off the TV and any music. Ensure all household members understand the importance of the call, and find yourself a quiet space to hold the interview.




Have your CV and the job description to hand


The good thing about a telephone interview is that you can have all of the information you will need laid out in front of you. No need to memorise everything.


You may find it helpful to highlight phrases in both which may help you in your interview.




Though your interviewer can’t see you, smiling through the conversation will ensure you sound upbeat.


Speak clearly and listen carefully


Speak slowly so the interviewer can understand you. Make notes on anything important, and don’t be afraid to ask if you need them to repeat a question.






Treat the interview as it is face to face; give the interviewer your entire attention. Don’t eat, drink, or search the internet during your interview.




Always leave a gap before answering questions. This gives you a chance to think about your answer, and means you won’t accidentally talk over your interviewer. Cues to stop talking aren’t clear over the phone, so try not to ramble.




Say thank you


Follow up immediately after your interview by emailing your interviewer.




Say ‘I love you’ by accident when you hang up


Always awkward.


Find your perfect role today, and let us help you prepare for a phone interview if one of our clients wants one with you. Call the team at Maxwell Stephens on 0207 118 48 48 or email us at   

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