The Phone Interview


Last week we addressed the 10 most common interview questions and how to prepare for them. Today we're going to talk about the phone interview. There are two main reasons for a phone interview. Not only is it your opportunity to sell the company on "why you want the position" or "what you bring to the table" but it is also the fastest way to qualify the position as the right fit for your job search. If you are interested in the position, or not, then tell the interviewer specifically. It's always okay to be politely assertive.


Set aside an hour in a place that you'll be comfortable and can talk confidentially without interruption. 


Your enthusiasm and animation will be important in conveying your interest. Make sure that you are alert and ready. Be honest and try to relax. Always remember that the interview is a conversation and try to avoid long responses to questions.


Always obtain some background on the company. You should visit their website and prepare several questions about the opportunity and position. Be ready to summarize your "having" attributes such as education or work experience and your "doing" attributes, which are quantifiable things you have done that have added value to your employer.

Things to Avoid:

- What's in it for me? Avoid any comments that allow the interviewer to perceive that you are primarily concerned with what the opportunity provides for you rather then what you can do for them.

- Avoid the negative.  Don't overtly criticize your current/former employer. Be positive, tactful, and professional throughout the entire conversation.

- Avoid "Yes" or "No" responses. Always expand on direct questions and sell yourself at every opportunity.

Salary Question. Let the company initiate the discussion on money. Your first telephone interview is not the time to start an in-depth salary discussion.

Closing the Call:

If you are interested in the position then tell them specifically. If you have decided you are not interested any longer, let them know so they don't waste their time and yours in follow-ups. Ask them what the next step is. Tell them you're interested in a personal interview. After concluding the interview, immediately send them a brief email thanking them for their time and expressing your desire to move forward.

Phone interviews, like in-person interviews, can seem intimidating and scary, but they don't have to be. Practice your interview skills over the phone with a friend and study the ten questions from last week. Questions? Comments? Leave them below and check back next week to learn more about how to do great on your next interview.