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…
- 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!
- Act tired, bored, or weird. If you’re naturally weird, try to contain it!
- 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
- Pay attention to anything other than the conversation & perhaps your resume. Do NOT surf the internet, check your Blackberry, or flip through a magazine!
- Mention anything to do with politics, religion, your collection of antique wooden buttons, your deep fascination with Lindsay Lohan, etc.
- Use a cell phone: unless you have an outstanding signal and NEVER drop calls, use a land line
- Be unable to provide a concise bio – i.e., your two minute elevator speech
- Say anything negative about your current employer or past employers. Duh.
- Inquire about benefits, salary, etc. – save it for a face to face interview – phone interviews are for screening out unqualified candidates
- Talk about yourself in the 3rd person – this is just too weird – in fact, NEVER do this!
- Know nothing about the interviewing company – see my related post on researching companies
- 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.
- Twenty something? Job seeker? How to dramatically increase your chances of getting the job
- 6 great interview questions – for employers
- Interviewing: do you know where you are???
- Twenty something? Job seeker? Are you forgetting these 10 interviewing basics??
- A powerful question to ask a prospective employer
- Stupid resume tricks: don’t make these 5 critical mistakes!