Don't be like this guy!

After years of participating in phone interviews – as both interviewer and interviewee – I’ve developed a short list of behaviors any prospective candidate should definitely avoid. A phone interview is a low-cost way for employers to quickly eliminate unqualified candidates or candidates who don’t seem like a good fit. As such, one inappropriate comment or behavior can easily get you screened out. Here are 12 things you really ought to avoid when being phone screened…

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  1. Eat food, chew gum, drink alcoholic beverages ( ! ) Yes, I once phone screened someone one evening who I’m pretty sure was midway through a 12 pack!
  2. Act tired, bored, or weird. If you’re naturally weird, try to contain it!
  3. Get overly chummy or familiar with the interviewer – you aren’t to that point yet, no matter how friendly or down to earth she seems
  4. Pay attention to anything other than the conversation & perhaps your resume. Do NOT surf the internet, check your Blackberry, or flip through a magazine!
  5. Mention anything to do with politics, religion, your collection of antique wooden buttons, your deep fascination with Lindsay Lohan, etc.
  6. Use a cell phone: unless you have an outstanding signal and NEVER drop calls, use a land line
  7. Be unable to provide a concise bio – i.e., your two minute elevator speech
  8. Say anything negative about your current employer or past employers. Duh.
  9. Inquire about benefits, salary, etc. – save it for a face to face interview – phone interviews are for screening out unqualified candidates
  10. Talk about yourself in the 3rd person – this is just too weird – in fact, NEVER do this!
  11. Know nothing about the interviewing company – see my related post on researching companies
  12. Don’t have a list of your accomplishments in front of you, organized by topic or category

Good luck. There’s no substitute for enthusiasm, energy, and passion for what you do: try to express these things without going overboard.

Please comment if you have phone interview experiences (or horror stories!!) you’d like to add to the conversation.

-kc

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2 Comments on 12 things to NOT do during your phone interview!

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Matthias Feist, YahooJobs. YahooJobs said: 12 things to NOT do during your phone interview! http://bit.ly/bnJUUx #interview, #careers, #employment, #mobile [...]

  2. Total Dorks says:

    Phone interviews suck. I would not do them at home. Find a good place where you think business not home and ive read you should stand not sit to be more in your game, and smile as that gets conveyed too.

    [Reply]

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