5 Tips For Your Next Phone Interview

The phone interview is often the first step in the job interview process.   The interviewer may be the hiring manager, but often it will be a recruiter or someone other than the hiring manager who is charged with this initial screening.  On the company side, the goal is to get a better feel for you and your experience to see if it makes sense to bring you in for an in-person interview.    Here are 5 pointers, with some help from a few movie clips, to avoid common pitfalls and effectively convey your experience to land the in-person interview. 

phone interview tips

1.       Get To The Point – Remember the scene in “The Goonies” (Click Here) when Chunk is told to spill it?  Don’t be like Chunk.   If you go on and on about every detail, you will lose the interest of the interviewer.  Clearly answer the question that was asked, then stop. 

2.       Make Your Answers Relatable – Take some advice from Denzel Washington (Click Here).  This is especially important if you are trying to make an industry pivot.  Acronyms and industry specific jargon will impress no one.  If you want to relate to the person who will be taking a chance on you and your new path, be relatable.  Show them how you will adapt to your new environment by explaining your old one in a way that anyone could understand.....even a two year old. 

3.       Describe What You Want, Not What You Don’t Want – Be ready to describe what you are looking for in your next job in a positive way.  Answering the question by listing all the things you don’t want is a red flag for interviewers.  It’s an example of not answering the question that was asked, but also they could come away from the conversation thinking that you don’t know what you want or that you are running from a bad situation, rather than toward the job you are interviewing for. 

4.       Have a Conversation – If the interviewer is trying to ask a question during one of your responses, don’t power through it to finish your point.  The reality is they are probably trying to clarify a point you are making.  Have a conversation and listen for the subtle clues.  Make it enjoyable, don’t make them feel like Scott from “Austin Powers”. (Click Here)

5.       Don’t Interview While Driving – It may be convenient, but just don’t do it.  Interviewing while you are driving will often be perceived as rude and is an automatic deal breaker for many companies.   It’s also selling yourself short.  If you are driving, your attention is split and your messaging will not be as sharp. 

-Written By Tim Sprangers


Tim SprangersOrin Rice Staffing & Consulting