How To Deal With A Graduate Telephone Interview

Published on: 16 Apr 2018

graduate telephone interview

As a graduate you probably don’t have extensive experience of the interview process. You’ve been at university for a minimum of three years, where you’ve spent your early evenings hanging around Tesco Metro in your PJs and your early mornings sipping E numbers mixed with vodka through metre-long straws out of castle-shaped buckets. BREATHE. You’re hardly equipped for corporate life and that’s putting it lightly. A telephone interview is a win-win situation for you if you know what you’re doing. They are nothing to worry about, but it’s important to be prepared for the possibility of one, especially if you really want the job or grad scheme that might lie at the end of it. So, the tips:


Find the right environment for it

Choose your location wisely. You need to be somewhere that allows you to give your full attention to the task at hand. The side of a main road, a busy pub or a public beach probably won’t be great places to take an important phone call. As a graduate, you’re likely to be in casual work or perhaps you’re not even working at all. Your bedroom is as good a place as any, just make sure you let everyone in the house know that you’re not to be disturbed.


Wear your professional hat

Don’t forget that this is a professional situation. You’re not at university anymore, it’s time to get serious. It’s important that you answer questions as though you’re face-to-face with your interviewer. It can be tempting to stay in your pajamas all day as you fall about in graduate limbo, but if you’ve got a phone interview it might help you to get dressed up as if you will be meeting in person. This can really help to put you in the right frame of mind.


Don’t forget to do your research

A telephone interview might seem like an informal prospect, but in all honesty, you have no idea what they’re going to ask you, especially at graduate level. You probably don’t have the security blanket of years of experience under your belt so they could really ask you anything. Knowing your stuff about the company and the role is going to demonstrate that you’ve made an effort and it always looks good to an interviewer if it looks like you’ve done your homework.


Use the situation to your advantage

Not being face-to-face with your interviewer can have its perks. Write notes and lay them out in front of you to jog your memory. Whether you use cue cards or simply pieces of notepad paper, it’s always helpful to have a few points laid out so that you don't fumble your words. Your CV will help too if you’ve got previous positions to discuss.  Anything you can do that makes you feel more comfortable and ready for your telephone interview the better. Light a few candles if that will help!


Keep cool, calm and collected

Phone calls can be awkward, especially if you don’t know the person and can’t bounce off physical prompts. Nervous behaviour can, at times, come across even stronger over the phone. You might speak too quickly, not enough or have a noticeable tremble to your tone. A good way to remain calm is to treat a phone interview like a call with a respected family member or perhaps a university lecturer. This isn’t a time to be pally but you’re also not a robot so figure out the balance. 


Post-graduate job hunting is an exciting time and you should feel motivated and invigorated by the prospect. This is the tip of the iceberg of your career so put some thought into it, work at it and most importantly, enjoy it! For more graduate career advice, check out our blog. If you're currently on the hunt for your first graduate or entry-level job, have a browse through thousands of fresh jobs right here