How to be phone interviewed

15 days ago, Damian Rhodes


During this coronavirus epidemic more and more employers in Hong Kong – and beyond - are asking for phone interviews rather than face to face to avoid infection. How best to prepare?

Before the call

  • Book a meeting room or another quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. As tempting as it might seem to take the call on the MTR or in an open office, these places may not be conducive to an interview. 
  • Thoroughly research the business and the person beforehand. A phone interview is as important as a face to face meeting and needs as much, if not more preparation. You might even want to have the person’s LinkedIn profile open during the call to get an idea of what they look like, their background and what they share. 
  • Prepare questions beforehand. Ensure that you’re ready with questions of your own - about the business, the person you are speaking to and the role itself. This is an opportunity for you to understand if this is the right opportunity for you too. 
  • Dress appropriately for an interview. This may seem unnecessary but how we dress impacts our mindset and impacts the impression we make even if someone cannot see you. 

During the phone interview

  • Smile. A smile can be heard as well as seen. Positive and cheerful people are significantly more likely to be hired. First impressions count.
  • Listen first:  Listen and do not interrupt.  Ensure that you answer both the question asked and the reason behind the questions asked.
  • Speak clearly: The spoken word is only one part of communication – when we are reduced to this it is especially important to enunciate your words and convey your meaning clearly.
  • Connect with the interviewer:  People hire people they like.  It is more difficult to convey attitude and demeanor by phone but making a connection is very important. 
  • Use the person’s name to make a connection and ensure that you address them appropriately.  If they introduce themselves as “Sarah” use that name, if they say “Dr Chan” then likewise use this form of address
  • Ask questions: If any of the questions you prepared haven’t already been answered then ensure that you ask them now.  Be curious about the business, their vision and values.
  • Gratitude: Thank the interviewer for their time and new insights into the business and the role.  Do not ask administrative questions at this stage such as salary, hours etc.

After the interview

  • Send a short thank you message by email.  This shouldn’t come across as desperate but if you are interested in the role, state this and explain why. 
  • One week later, if you have not heard back, do follow up and ask if there are any further steps.