Telephonic Interviews – Play it by the ear!!

I am a project manager in software industry and anyone familiar with the industry would know that it has been the single largest recruiting industry in the last decade. Given this backdrop, I have been involved in lot of recruiting for my company at various levels. These interviews involve both telephonic as well as personal interviews. During the course of these interviews, there have been certain patterns which I have appreciated and others which happened to be irritating. So I thought it would be good to give youngsters an inside view in what an interviewer expects during a telephonic interview.

Before a telephonic interview, you need to all the things that you would do for a normal interview like study of the topic on which you are going to be interviewed, study of the profile etc., but additionally you need to have some more preparation.
My advice is be at the place from where you are taking an interview at least one hour in advance. Have a nice little bath or wash you face so that you are refreshed. If you are the beverages type make your self a glass of your favourite beverage. Next, keep a set of blank papers and a pen ready near the phone. Make sure you have your privacy around the phone. Noisy kids or friends are a danger for a telephonic interview. Now you are ready for the next step.

First Impressions
An old saying goes,”The first impression is the last impression!!” This saying is pretty correct in terms of telephonic interviews as well. As the interviewer does not have a chance to see you, it is your voice that carries the message across. So keep a very sedate voice, try not to sound too excited or too dull. Keep a well modulated voice. Make sure you are available to pick the phone as soon as it rings. Give a confident hello, and once the interviewer has introduced himself, greet him with a polite good morning or good evening. Always good to start on good note with the interviewer. Another important to remember is not to speak too loud or too slow or too fast. This is the most common issue that we face as interviewers. Most interviewers don’t like it when the interviewee either shouts or speaks too fast, which makes them lest tolerant of such candidates.
My advice to all candidates is to do a shadow practise. Record your voice and listen to it. You yourself would be able to see patterns that might make you less audible.

Main Act
Now onto the more serious interview part. Again remember, the interviewer can’t see you. That makes him always suspicious of you, so be careful not to increase those suspicions through any of your answers. Try not giving bookish definitions, it makes it look that you are reading it from a book. Use examples wherever possible. There is no better way to make an interviewer feel that you have practical knowledge of the stuff than by examples of where you have used such a kind of thing. Keep the answers to the point. Answer in as much detail as is required. As interviewers we don’t like interviewees who keep on drawling and elongating answers for a long time. If in doubt ask the interviewer as to whether he/she wants more details.
Never!! Never try to cut in when the interviewer is speaking. If that happens inadvertantly, then say sorry and ask him to continue. Wait for your turn to speak.

Closing Act
Whether the interview has been good or bad, you can anyhow leave a good taste in the interviewer’s mind. Who knows he might reconsider. So give him a thanks and greet him with a good bye or a good night. Also make sure to ask him when or how you would get the interview results.


  1. Speak in a well modulated voice.
  2. Speak softly and clearly.
  3. Take notes if you feel like it, always helps if you can refer back to an earlier point.
  4. Keep papers and pen ready in case the interviewer wants you write down a few points.
  5. Prepare for usual questions like tell me something about yourself, why do you want to change your job etc.
  6. Keep your wits about you. The interviewer might just try to plummel you a bit.
  7. Be upto the point.
  8. Use examples wherever possible.
  9. Prefer taking calls on a landline rather than a mobile call. The clarity is much more on landlines than mobile.
  10. In case, you are forced to take the call on a mobile make sure it is fully charged and not going to run out of battery in the middle of the interview.


  1. Speak too loudly.
  2. Speak too fast.
  3. Using bookish definitions.
  4. Interrupt the interviewer.
  5. Self praise during the course of interview.
  6. Critisize your former company.
  7. Give long answers and keep talking beyond the point.
  8. Argue with the interviewer.
  9. Take calls while walking on a road or in a loud place like clubs.

Keeping the above advise in mind would help you giving good telephonic interviews. Add technical knowledge to the above points and you would land up your dream job.

So all the best and happy tele-conferencing!!



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