Phone Interviews.

In our business we do a lot of phone interviews. In fact I have done searches where I have never met a single candidate face-to-face. In almost every case my evaluation of the candidates over the phone was dead-on accurate. After 15 years of this you develop a pretty good intuition around these things.

For the person being interviewed I guess there could be some trepidation.

A recent letter to Ask Annie in Fortune Magazine wanted to know how to “survive” a phone interview.

Annie feels that phone interviews are weird because:

“Studies have shown that about 90% of human communication is nonverbal (body language, eye contact, and so on), so you're in a kind of limbo when the interviewer can't see you”

This is true but think of it another way. The interviewer can’t see you so he or she cannot make judgments based on your looks, if you are a little overweight it doesn’t matter. Nor will they judge you on your shoes, hair, or grooming.

So for a phone interview you can dress as comfortably as you want.

Another upside is that you don’t have to take a whole afternoon or morning off just to get to the interview. From my side I feel that I get more questions asked in a phone interview because there is less small talk made. A lot of emphasis is made in interview training on making the candidate “comfortable” you have to do less of that in a phone interview.

From the candidate side remember you should be prepared as well – make sure you have a good list of questions and always make sure you know what the next step in the process is going to be and the timing of that step. Don’t be afraid to ask for a face-to-face interview or to confidently state that you think you can do the job.

Enthusiasm counts for a lot in job interviews but more so on the phone. I like to hear enthusiasm in the candidate’s voice. It equals energy and energy is contagious.

Annie’s full response to her reader is here:

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