15 Do’s and Don’t's for… Telephone Interviews

  • Do… prepare. Ask for a briefing document; talk to the recruiter or client about the role and what’s expected; dig around the company’s website; look at Companies House.
  • Do… Get settled. Find a quiet room or go to your car. Get there 15 minutes before the call is due to start and re-read your briefing materials.
  • Don’t… Take the call while wandering around John Lewis looking for gifts. Yes, this has happened.
  • Don’t… Get stressed if the interview starts late. Read a newspaper or put the radio on to take your mind off things.
  • Do… Chase. If the call hasn’t yet come in 10 minutes after it was scheduled to start, call your contact or email the interviewer if you have the email address.
  • Do… ask clarifying questions if you’re not sure of your direction or if it sounds like the same question is being asked twice.
  • Don’t… try to second guess what your interviewer is thinking. You can’t see their face or body language.
  • Don’t… make inappropriate jokes or use sarcasm to make a point. This REALLY needs body language to work and you’ll never be able to gauge what your interviewer thinks.
  • Don’t… close the interviewer by asking how you’ve done. Unless it went stupendously well, it’s unlikely the interviewer will tell you then and there what they think of you.
  • Do… ask what the next stage will be. It shows that you’re keen, and will be a great litmus test as to how you performed.
  • Do… stick to time. The interviewer’s probably got a whole stack of people to talk to after you, and by running over you’re making them late, which is never going to give them the warm and fuzzies.
  • Don’t… take it personally or negatively if the interview ends quickly. The interviewer has probably worked out whether you’re right or wrong for the post already. And in all likelihood, so have you!
  • Do... stick to the point. Your interviewer might need those five minutes you’re waffling in to go to the loo or get a drink.

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