Phone interviews are often the very first step of the interview and hiring process. You’re not likely to get a call to come in and interview without some kind of conversation on the phone first.
How Important Phone Interviews Really Are
Your resume got you the phone call. Now this one 10-minute conversation is the deciding factor as to whether or not you’ll get the interview. That’s how important it is.
This is the gating process companies use to whittle down their list of candidates. You will not get a second chance here. This is the make-it-or-break it moment that determines whether or not you can be in the running for the job.
Why Companies Do Phone Interviews
You know how strong the competition is. You know how many people are applying for your job. Companies and hiring managers don’t have time to interview them all. So they run you through this little conversational test to see if you’re worth spending an hour on in a regular interview. This way, they can meet with more people in less time.
Time is the most valuable thing that hiring managers have. That’s why they do telephone interviews. Time is money. If they’re talking to you, they’re not producing. If they can be more efficient with that time, they’re going to do it.
They get some extra bonuses out of it, too. For one thing, there’s less commitment involved. In an interview, they don’t feel bad if they decide to cut the call short because they’ve decided against you in the first few minutes. It’s a lot easier for them to give you a thumbs down and move on if they’re not looking at you and haven’t gotten to know you.
Why People Succeed or Fail in Phone Interviews
Job seekers fail in the phone interview for two major reasons: they don’t take it seriously enough, and they don’t take into account the unique challenges a phone interview poses for them.
Phone interviews, just like other interviews, are really all about communication. Here’s the problem: the vast majority of communication between people is visual, not the actual words they say. Think about body language, facial expressions, gestures, all the things that affect how your words are coming across. Those visual cues really do give you an advantage. On the phone, those cues are gone.
If you take the interview as seriously as a face-to-face interview, and you learn to work with the unique circumstances of an interview, you can succeed.