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Warning! The Telephone Job Interview can be a Trap!

Warning! The Telephone Job Interview can be a Trap!

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Land a Job

Great news! All your job search activities have paid off and you’ve landed a telephone interview with a prospective employer. This is an opportunity, correct? Well, yes and no. You have made it all the way to “round one,” and that’s certainly something positive, something to celebrate. But wait! You still have to go into “round two,” either a subsequent phone interview, or it is hoped, the all-important “face-to-face” interview, which, of course, is the only goal you should have for the outcome of a phone interview.

You should be aware, however, that the telephone interview can sometimes be a “trap”!

As discussed in a previous blog (“How Do You Get Hired? First, Don’t Lose!”), it’s important to keep in mind that most interviewers, at virtually every single step along the way in the hiring process, are looking for every possible reason to eliminate you as quickly as possible. Just because something in your brand caught someone’s attention—your degree, the company you currently work for, the school you went to, your experience, your accomplishments and achievements, etc.—does NOT mean they are looking for reasons to hire you . . . at least not yet.

It is important to be aware that the larger the company, the more you should definitely be “on your toes” during the telephone interview, too. Many times these initial calls come from screeners who are specifically trained to sound upbeat, enthusiastic and friendly.  Their disarming nature can easily cause you to “let your guard down” and say things you shouldn’t say and come across as “unprepared.” The fact of the matter is, it is their job to exclude as many candidates as possible as quickly as possible!

Remember, a large company will oftentimes receive over 1,000 résumés for any posted position in today’s tight job market. Even if the screeners speak on the phone to just 10% of the applicants, they still will be speaking to about 100 people. (Also note: While you the job hunter will probably call it a phone interview, companies usually refer to it as a “phone screen,” and there is a good reason for that!)


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