12 tips to tackle a phone interview

All shortlisted candidates for our apprenticeships undertake a telephone interview as part of the application process. This is so that we can get to know you better and ask you a few follow-up questions to ensure that the opportunity is the right fit for you.

You should take this seriously, particularly where the apprenticeship is a new vacancy, as it will help determine who will go through to the next stage of the process. Below are a few tips on how to prepare – they may seem obvious but are often overlooked!

1. Research

You should be familiar with the job description and the organisation you are applying for.

Knowing your CV and having relevant experiences to discuss also helps.

2. Practice

The more you practise, the better you’ll be at thinking on your feet and sounding natural on the phone.

Get friends and family to phone you up, or pretend to ring, and ask you questions.

3. Environment

You should be in a quiet place where you can hear the interviewer clearly… and they can hear you.

If not, ask to reschedule the call (unless you asked for it to be then, obviously).

4. Prepare

Have your CV and, where possible, the job description to hand so you can refer to them if need be.

Give yourself a few seconds ahead of the call to relax and compose yourself.

5. Attitude

It’s best to treat this as you would a face-to-face interview –
you may not want to wear a suit but you should sit up straight or stand…

and don’t forget to smile.

6. Tone

Be short and precise with your answers – don’t speak too quickly, mumble or use slang.

Stay professional at all times… and don’t forget to say hello, thank you and goodbye!

7. Time

The call will last around 10 minutes so you should pace yourself. We will ask a series of set questions.

Take your time answering, it’s fine to pause as you think about what you want to say.

8. Listen

Ensure that you answer the question that you were asked – not the one that you wanted to hear.

And don’t interrupt the interviewer!

9. Purpose

Be mindful of the fact that this is a call to screen you for eligibility and suitability – you need to make the best impression possible.

This is your time to shine.

10. Follow up

Have a pen and paper to hand in case you hear something you want to remember later.

Think of a question or two of your own to ask at the end of the call.

11. What’s next

Feel free to ask for feedback at the end of the call.

You can also ask about what happens next and when you can expect to hear back from us or the employer.

12. Good luck

Good luck with your telephone interview, we hope that it goes well.

Don’t forget, we’re here to help you succeed!