How to Conduct a Telephone Interview

A telephone interview is a great way to speak to many applicants in a short space of time. Enabling you to pick to best candidate and invite them back for follow-up interviews. Telephone interviews need to be consistent so you can best gauge many applicant’s credentials. Below we show you some interview questions you could ask any prospective employee over the phone.


As with any interview, preparation is key when conducting one over the telephone. You’ll want to know as much about a candidate as possible before you speak to them. Pull up their LinkedIn or other social media profiles to get an idea about the person they are and consider them for the role they’re applying for.
It’s also a good idea to prepare yourself and make sure you’re in the right frame of mind for a telephone interview. Not having the person sat in front of you isn’t an excuse for not concentrating on the conversation.

The Introduction

This is an important first step to take when conducting a telephone interview. You should let the applicant know who you are and your position in the company, the role they're applying for and an overview of the interview process. You should try and spend no longer than 30 minutes on a phone interview.

You want to get an idea if the candidate will be suitable for the role before bringing them in for a face to face interview. There’s no need to get too deep into it, you can do then in the next interview. A good rule of thumb to follow is five minutes of conversation, then around 20 minutes of interview questions followed by five minutes answering any of their questions.

Do They Remember Applying for the Role?

It may seem like a pretty inane question but asking this will reveal how much interest they have in a role. The enthusiasm they show will tell you they're excited about the position and it’s not just one of 20 or so jobs they applied for at the same time.

Their Career Goals

After the introductions, you want to help the candidate to feel at ease. One way to achieve this is to ask them about their ambitions and what they’d like to achieve professionally in the next five or ten years. Asking this questions gets the applicant talking about themselves and will give you an insight into what’s important to them.

Likes and Dislikes

The next questions should be about the type of work they like to do and are good at and the type of work they don’t like doing. Asking them about what they like best in a role will allow you to see if it lines up with the role they’re applying for. Often a candidate will dislike the work they’re less good at so you’ll soon be able to tell if they’d be a good fit for it.

Wrapping Up

Once you’ve finished asking all the questions you have prepared it’s time to wrap up the interview. Ask the candidate if there are any questions they have about the role or the company. Then tell them what the next step will be in the interview process, thank them for their time and end the call.

This isn’t a definitive list and you’ll get a feel for what questions to ask as you develop as an interviewer. Starting with these types of questions should give you a feel for how the candidate might fit in to the role applied for. With follow-up interviews, you will be able to find the perfect candidate for the role offered.

Posted by: CloudScope Recruitment