RCA Flag
RCA Flag
Connecting Africa’s Skilled Professionals
RCA Flag

ReConnect Africa is a unique website and online magazine for the African professional in the Diaspora. Packed with essential information about careers, business and jobs, ReConnect Africa keeps you connected to the best of Africa.


If you’re facing a telephone interview, here a few tips from leading careers guru Peter Cobbe on how to make the most of this opportunity to win your dream job.

If you’re facing a telephone interview, here a few tips from leading careers guru Peter Cobbe on how to make the most of this opportunity to win your dream job.

The key to having a successful phone interview might be to remember - it's an interview. Treat it as you would any important business call, wherever you happen to be.

  • Be on time: Phone interviews are scheduled by appointment, so don't treat it any differently than an in-person interview.
  • Select a quiet place: No barking dogs, no kids in the background. You want silence and privacy. Close the door to the room, answer the phone yourself and wear a headset if possible so your hands are free to take notes. Shut down your e-mail or anything else that will distract you.
  • Prepare some crib sheets: One advantage to phone interviews is you can have information in front of you. If you don't know the names of the interviewers in advance, write them down as they are given to you and make a note to help you recognise their voice. For example, Mr. Jones has a high-pitched voice, or sounds like your Uncle Bill.
  • Have a print-out of your resume and your experienced-based stories/vignettes in front of you in large type, so you can refer to them.
“No barking dogs, no kids in the background…you want silence and privacy.”
  • Do your homework: Study the job description and the company's Web site. By doing so, you can anticipate some of the questions you'll be asked, and you'll be able to customise your examples and vignettes.
  • Smile: Okay, it's corny, but there's a reason everyone suggests it: It works. Stand up if it will help you transfer more energy into your voice and try putting a mirror on the wall in front of you. To prepare, role play with a friend or your spouse and try recording your voice to see how you sound.
  • Speak clearly and not too quickly: Remember that on most conference lines, one person cuts out if two people speak at once. So always wait a second before you start speaking to make certain the other person has finished.
  • Listen: Connections can be challenging and the interviewer who's the furthest away from the speaker phone can be hard to hear. Focus on what you're being asked and request clarification if you're uncertain. It's always good to start your response by addressing the questioning interviewer by first name. If you're not sure who asked the question, identify them first before responding.
  • Prepare some questions: Don't focus on compensation and benefits. Ask about the company, its performance expectations, and the culture. In other words, show interest! Also, be sure to close by saying you're interested in taking the next step and asking if there's anything else you can provide.
  • Obtain the contact information and titles for the interviewers and send each a follow-up note or e-mail as soon as the interview concludes.
  • Because most phone interviews focus on screening a candidate for their knowledge, it's important to be ready to articulate your expertise clearly and succinctly, but not curtly. Avoid 'ums' and 'ahs' because those bad speech habits tend to magnify when you're speaking over the telephone.

Although many candidates don't like phone interviews, in some respects they're fairer than in-person meetings because the candidates aren't judged on their appearance, just their competency. So, in that sense, phone interviews are truly equal!

An accredited Career Coach, Peter Cobbe holds a BA and MBA and is a member of the CIPD, CIM, ICF and Association for Coaching. His aim is to provide insights to help people make a real difference in their careers, business and life. His career experience includes HR Director and executive roles in Barclays plc and Tesco plc. “In my private practice I have had the privilege of helping people of all ages, different cultures and job levels to understand more about themselves, their impact on others and how to develop across major dimensions in life,” says Peter. “My philosophy is to be kind, totally respect the integrity of my clients and to wander in total amazement with unending curiosity through life.”
Welcome to the new, upgraded ReConnect Africa website.
Please help us provide you with information relevant to your needs by completing the fields below (just this once!)