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Talking to a Potential Employer on the Telephone

5 Jun 14 by William

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So we have arranged to call you on the telephone (or Skype for that matter) to discuss your job application; what do you need to think about?


The telephone screening is as important as a face-to-face interview, as it is your first formal interview contact with the organisation. A telephone screening can be used to ‘screen’ a candidate for a face-to-face interview or can replace a face-to-face interview if the organisation is located outside of Christchurch or New Zealand. You may have one or more interviewers on the telephone.


Below is the list of tips you can take to prepare for a phone screening:

  • Prepare the same as you would for a face-to-face interview.
  • Ensure the telephone number you give is correct.
  • If the telephone connection is a bad one, ask the interviewer to call you back in an attempt to secure a better quality line.
  • Make sure that on the scheduled day and time of your interview you are in a private room i.e. one that is free from noise, distractions and interruptions.
  • If you use a cordless telephone ensure that the battery is fully charged.
  • If you want to have notes in front of you during the interview, make sure they’re easily visible. Rustling through papers while the employer is listening does not give a good impression.
  • Visualise the interviewer asking the questions and respond as if they were in front of you i.e. smile and make gestures. Finding an object to focus on, such as a picture on the wall, may assist you in this.
  • Vary the tone of your voice and ensure you have clear pronunciation and are matching the voice pace of the interviewer.
  • Dress for the telephone interview as you would for the face-to-face interview to help you get into an appropriate frame of mind for the interview.
  • Consider standing up. This helps you stay alert and can impact the energy you project to the employer.
  • Do not feel obliged to speak if there is a silent patch during the telephone interview as the interviewer is likely to be processing your answer and taking notes.
  • Finally, take a deep breath and relax. Let yourself be the best you can be on the day.


Employers use telephone screening as a way of identifying and recruiting candidates for employment. Phone screenings are often used to screen candidates in order to narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for in-person interviews. They are also used as a way to minimize the expenses involved in interviewing out-of-town candidates.


While you're actively job searching, it's important to be prepared for a phone screening on a moment's notice. You never know when a recruiter or a hiring manager might call and ask if you have a few minutes to talk.