Telephone interviews are often conducted by employers in the initial interview round of the hiring process, this type of interview allows an employer to screen candidates on the candidates experience, qualifications, and salary expectations pertaining to the position and the company. The telephone interview saves the employers' time and eliminates candidates that are unlikely to meet the company’s expectations. Employers tend to perform telephone interviews as a structured interview. The questions are custom tailored to meet the position in question. With the telephone interview there may not be direct contact between the employer and employee, however, the expectations are still there. Telephone interviews are scheduled and questions are generally prepared in advance, similar to the way other interviews are conducted. Another common reason a company looks to the telephone interview is that these interviews can be conducted on-the-fly. The interviewer does not have to assign company resources to the phone interview. It is a cost-effective method to short-list candidates for the position being interviewed for.
Reporters conduct a telephone interviews as part of investigative journalism or a live broadcast.
The telephone interview allows both interviewee and interviewer to be in a more relaxed state. The interviewer can use the relaxed state to better gauge the interviewee, and pick up on things that may be disguised during the more formal interview process.
The Virginia Tech career services department advises candidates to prepare and be in a similar state of mind for a phone interview as a candidate would for a in person interview. The department advises the telephone interview candidates use extra verbiage to make up for lack of visual cues and when a candidate needs to pause to think.