Making a Phone Call

Phoning an employer is not a social call - it is different to chatting to a friend. It's a business call - so before you phone, go through this checklist:

You can also download our leaflet on Making a Phone Call.

  • If you are using a mobile phone, make sure it is charged, topped up and that you have a good signal
  • If you are using a pay phone, make sure you have enough change for the call
  • Know who you want to talk to and have their name or job title written down
  • Have a copy of any advert or letter in case you need to look at it
  • Have a pen and paper ready to take notes - make sure the pen works!


When you make the call...

  • Introduce yourself. Speak clearly and sound businesslike. Remember, it's a business call
  • Explain why you are calling and who you want to talk to
  • Know when you can go for an interview. Sound organised. If you are offered an interview, write down the date and time and the name of who you are to see. Read it back so you can check the details
  • Thank the person for their time. Always be polite
  • Don't rush your answers; take your time and answer questions fully
  • Don't mumble - sound enthusiastic and interested
  • Some people say you sound better over the phone if you're smiling and standing up

Interviews on the phone

Some companies do a quick mini-interview over the phone before deciding if they'll ask you for a further interview. It is just like a normal interview, be prepared to answer some questions about yourself, your qualifications and your experience.

Always try to research the company before you call them - whether cold calling or for a phone interview.

  • Make sure everything is quiet
  • If the employer rings you when it isn't convenient, explain why and ask if you can ring them back
  • Don't eat or smoke
  • Put notes of anything you want to say by the phone. Have a pen and paper and write anything down
  • Try to relax and be natural
  • Listen to what the interviewer is saying
  • Ask if you aren't sure what a question means

Cold calling

You might want to call a company to find out if they have any vacancies, even if they haven't advertised any. This is called making a speculative application. Follow the same rules as before, but be extra careful to:

  • Explain why you are phoning, as the person at the other end isn't expecting your call. (You want to know if the company is likely to have any vacancies in a particular job)
  • Speak to the right person - it may not be the person who answers the phone. (You want to speak to the person responsible for recruiting for whatever job you want)
  • Offer to send in your CV so they have a record of your interest
  • Write down any instructions you are given - where to send your CV, when would be a good time to call back if they have no vacancies at the moment

Always try to research the company before you ring them. Their website is a good place to start.