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…



  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.


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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! #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.


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