….the telephone interview

I can already tell that you are ecstatic and excited and emotionally charged to read this article. You can’t believe that someone is writing about something that’s been on your mind incessantly and then all of a sudden this miracle appears. Right?

Most people are absolutely totally bored with this subject. That’s because they think they know what they’re doing when it comes to a telephone interview. No big deal. So, why am I writing about this?  One, because in this coronavirus situation, 90% of at least initial interviews, are over the phone. And two, people screw them up at least 60% of the time. So that’s why I’m writing about the telephone interview.

More people probably screw up this part of the interviewing process more than any other since we’re used to talking, texting and communicating very casually on our cell phones. We take these conversations for granted, as well as the communication surrounding the phone. That’s a problem. It’s really easy to carry over these kinds of habits to interviewing. Now here are some quick rules. First of all, your telephone message on your cell phone needs to be professional. It needs to state your name and your phone number. Lots of people simply use the automated message on their cell phone and they neglect to remember that two or three years from now, somebody is going to pull your resume out of their file. They’re going to look at it, they’re going to be interested in you, and they’re going to call that number and they’re not going to be sure that it’s you.

So you’ve gotta be sure that you leave a professional message on your telephone so they know the number and who they are talking to. Now, let me share with you why companies do telephone interviews (besides these days of the coronavirus). They do it to eliminate you. They are trying to cut down the number of people they have to interview face-to-face, so they’re going to try to do it on the telephone. You think they’re trying to qualify you. They think they’re trying to disqualify you by talking to 25 people so they can boil it down to two or three. Remember in the telephone interview that you are trying to get a face-to-face interview. That’s what you’re selling. You are not trying to sell “hire me over the phone”. You’re trying to sell the idea of “let me come visit you and we can talk about that”. Conduct a telephone interview from a quiet place where you can focus and where you can get good reception.

For goodness sake, do not do it from your car, a restaurant or a loud place while you’re babysitting. When the dog barks at the postman delivering mail and so forth, it’ll totally screw it up. Poor cell phone reception is going to kill any interview. You need to treat a telephone interview with the same respect that you would treat a face-to-face interview. Try to use a landline if at all possible. Now the majority of people out there don’t have landlines anymore. I get it. But if you can find a landline to do the telephone interview, you are going to be a lot better off because the technology, unfortunately with cell phones, is still imperfect and there are lots of places where a cell phone reception is poor. A job candidate has enough problems to worry about without creating this one. If you have a landline available, even if you have to borrow one, do it that way.

Be sure that your cell phone is charged. You don’t want to drop a call in the middle of an interview, set a specific time for the telephone interview and preferably you initiate it. It gives you a little bit of an advantage. Don’t get caught off guard with an out of the blue call in starting an interview. If you answered the phone, do it professionally, enthusiastically with energy. This is Tony Beshara. Don’t give it a ‘hello’ or ‘what’s up’..  you don’t know who’s on the other end of that line. Especially when you’re looking for a job, answer the phone with your name and do it clearly. Find out beforehand who exactly is doing the telephone interview. Find out their role. If it’s a call from the human resources department or a vice president, it will make a very big difference and you need to find out as much as you can exactly what the purpose of the call is. Is it to set up another call? Is it to qualify you for a face-to-face interview? Is it an interview on the second or third level of managers and so on? You don’t want to get caught off guard expecting one kind of interview and get another. You might want to email someone and be clear about who you were going to speak with, what their role is and what the reason for the call is. If you don’t have the opportunity to know exactly who you’re speaking with, don’t make an assumption about the person’s gender based on their voice. Uh, Chris can either be a male or a female and sometimes a female Chris may often sound like a male Chris. So if it’s at all possible to tell a person’s name, what their gender might be, and if you likewise can’t tell by their voice, be mindful of that.

(more next week)


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