Phone Interviews: Are they a waste of time?

Phone Interviews: Are they a waste of time?

The Essential Phone Interview Handbook by Paul Bailo

Do you really need to bother preparing for phone interviews?  It is just a phone call.  It is not as though the person on the phone can see you.  Can you accomplish anything at all?

You’ve already invested time applying for the job.  You have filled out and application.  You may have completed a web-based questionnaire.

Now you are ready to get face-to-face with people at the hiring company.

But you can’t meet face-to-face, because you must speak with some screener on the phone.

Assume Nothing.

The person on the phone plays a real role in your getting a job with the company.  Even if you never speak with that person again, you cannot get a face-to-face meeting without their recommendation.  Furthermore, the person on the phone may be someone who will be involved with you throughout your career with the hiring company.  Getting off on the right foot may pay huge dividends down the line.

Make it Real.

Prepare as though you are going to a real interview.

Have these things on your desk:

  • Your resume
  • The job description
  • A list of key points you wish to make about how your experience qualifies you for this specific job
  • A list of questions

Select your interview place carefully.

  • Pick a quiet room.
  • Have a glass of water handy.
  • Pick a comfortable chair.
  • Don’t drive! 

Even though you are on the phone, let your personality shine.

  • Smile.  You will project warmth even though the interview cannot see you.
  • Listen to the interviewer’s questions.  Answer the questions. Do not just a reply to the question.
  • Remember to take a silent deep breath from time to time.
  • Say positive things about yourself and about your employer.
  • The reason you are interviewing with the new company is that they offer things you cannot get from your current company.
  • Make sure you understand the question before you answer it.

Remember to focus.

  • Make your answers detailed but to the point.
  • Allow the interviewer a chance to speak.
  • Ask trial close questions: for example, ask the interviewer when the company will decide.
  • Emphasize that you are interested in going forward for with the opportunity.

Do Not:

  • Interrupt the call to take another call.
  • Allow people to disturb you.
  • Certainly, do not multitask.
  • Interrupt the interviewer.
  • No jokes! Do not try to tell a joke.
  • Do not fake your answers. If you do not know that answer to a random question, just say so.
  • Again, Do Not Drive!

Remember to close on an upbeat.

Thank the interviewer for taking time to speak with you.  Emphasize that you hope to have a chance to speak again.