How Tax Experts can Achieve a Successful Phone Interview

Tax expert completing successful phone interview for a tax corporation

Due to the recent changes across the globe, initial interviews by phone are far more common than they used to be, and we can’t see this changing any time soon, especially for tax professionals currently living in different locations. Luckily for Kingpin, we have been utilising phone interviews ever since we started, giving us great insight on how ambitious tax and transfer pricing experts can prepare for a phone interview and how to act on the call to give yourself the best chance of being a contender.

Typically, candidates don’t take telephone interviews as seriously as they would a face-to-face meeting with a potential employer, perhaps because candidates are more comfortable in their own home and feel more relaxed than they would be sitting across from their consultant or potential employer. However, when it comes to international tax recruitment, the phone interview is perhaps the most important hurdle in the process, as meeting face-to-face is now a thing of the past.

True, there’s no need to worry about travel arrangements, finding the office or ironing your suit; however, successful telephone interviews for high-profile tax, transfer pricing or treasury roles do require some careful planning.


Telephone interviews have their challenges, but with plenty of preparation, these challenges can be overcome. Candidates, you need to remember that you don’t have body language or eye contact on your side, so your verbal communication needs to be focused and precise.

Prior to the phone interview, ask how long the call will take, this allows you to prepare enough information to talk about throughout the duration of your interview – and also allows you to factor this time into your day, to ensure that the call does not need to be cut off early.

Next, find out as much as you possibly can about the tax or financial company you are applying to work for, and the person interviewing you. The major advantage of a phone interview is the ability to have all of your notes in front of you. Take advantage of being invisible to your interviewer by making notes that you can reference during your tax interview. It’s also a good idea to make a copy of your CV, the job description and any questions you want to ask. Some of you may thrive in an interview setting, but for those who can find the experience a little flustering, having all of this information in front of you will make sure you don’t forget any crucial points.

Conducting your phone interview on the move doesn’t convey a great deal of professionalism, and gives the interviewer the impression that you haven’t prioritised their call or their time. Try to make sure you are somewhere with good reception, and in a place where disruption and background noise will be kept to a minimum. If you plan to carry out your interview from your current place of work – which is sometimes unavoidable – try to go somewhere that you won’t be disturbed, even if that’s your car, an unused room or a quiet place outdoors. If you’re easily distracted, remove any tempting items away from you – including laptops, iPads and mobile phones.


Although technology is a fantastic thing, its reliability is often out of your control. If your interview will be conducted via your mobile phone, how would you cope if your network suddenly lost all coverage? Or, what if there was a power cut, rendering your landline useless? These scenarios are unlikely, but not unheard of, so make sure that you have a ‘Plan B’ should things go awry prior to your interview.


Even if you have the very best of intentions, what you say and how you say it can easily be misinterpreted – tone and your rate of speech can both play a part in this. Remember to avoid using any colloquialisms, particularly during an international interview, as these may not translate as well as you had hoped!

The format of the interview will largely be led by the person interviewing you.

However, it’s important that you take some control over the conversation and lead with answers and examples that are on topic, and provide additional information about your capabilities. Try to use the company‘s name and address the interviewer personally as much as possible, this will make the conversation feel more natural and assure your prospective employer that you have done your homework.

Have a Skype call instead? Check out our latest blog on how to ace your Skype or video call interview

If you are looking for a change in your career in tax or would like to speak to Kingpin International on what we can do for you then please get in touch with a member of our leadership. Alternatively, view our current vacancies and accelerate your tax career today.