Business English- Phone Interview Preparation


How to get ready for a job interview on the phone

Preparing for telephone interviews

Try to think of at least ten tips for someone preparing for a job interview by phone, then compare your ideas to those below.


Preparing for the interview – As soon as possible

  • Brainstorm what questions you think they will ask you and different ways that those questions might be asked
  • Think about your answers to those questions
  • Think about how you will start and finish the phone conversation
  • If it will take place at home, prepare a place and make sure there will be no distractions
  • If you think you will want to stand and/ or walk around, make sure there is room
  • Practice the interview with someone, preferably on the phone or back to back so that you can’t see them
  • Prepare any extra notes that you think will help you, e.g. answers to questions that you think they will ask you (in note form, not as full sentences), an expanded CV, a list of words and expressions that you’d like to use (e.g. positive adjectives or relevant jargon), information about that company and/ or job, useful phrases for pausing etc, or a list of correct versions of things you often make mistakes with
  • Revise telephoning language
  • Make sure that you can pronounce the company name, name of the person you will be speaking to, etc.
  • If you will be at home, try to arrange for everyone else to go out


Preparing for the interview – On the day

  • Make sure you have everything you need on the table in front of you, e.g. a laptop with wi-fi connection, your CV, your diary, any extra notes that you have prepared, a bottle of water, a notepad and a couple of pens
  • Have a drink and go to the toilet
  • Dress smartly but comfortably to improve your confidence and professional attitude
  • Clear the desk and/ or room of anything that could distract you, e.g. drinks you could spill
  • Decide if you will use your phone’s conference call function or not
  • Turn call waiting off so that you won’t be distracted
  • If you might have to wait to speak to them and might get nervous while you are doing so, bring something to keep you busy such as some knitting or receipts to sort through
  • Think about suitable small talk topics and phrases
  • Think about what you will say if you get their answer machine or secretary instead of them directly
  • Decide if you will answer the phone in English or answer in your own language and then switch to English


Are there any stages above which you disagree with?

What language could you use, e.g. to do the things in italics above?

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