Q: I feel like I don’t shine in telephone interviews, yet
they are so common now. How do I make sure that I do well in a telephone
A: You are right. Telephone interviews are an increasingly common way
of screening candidates during the selection process. With technology,
hiring managers are often overwhelmed at the number of candidates who
inquire about a role or a posting. In response, many hiring managers are
now spending 30-60 minutes on the phone with a candidate prior to the
Here is how I recommend that candidates prepare for a telephone interview:
1. Take it seriously. Don’t schedule the call while food shopping or walking your dog.
2. Remove distractions. Shut the door, turn off the TV and have child care in place if needed.
3. Use a landline if possible, or make sure that you are in a strong cell area. A scratchy connection is aggravating.
4. Have a copy of your resume in front of you as well as a copy of
the job description or posting (if available to you). Research the
company in advance.
5. Smile, be energetic and enthusiastic. Convey interest!
6. Avoid early questions about benefits and compensation unless the
interviewer raises these topics first. At this stage, assessing your
qualifications is the purpose of the call.
7. Ask about the next step. Express your interest in an in-person interview and offer available dates and times.
8. Email a quick note of thanks, even though you may have thanked the
interviewer on the phone. In the email, reiterate your interest and
summarize your availability.
9. And my pet peeve — check email often after the phone interview! Candidates don’t do this and miss out on opportunities!
With each telephone interview, you should become more experienced and hopefully more successful.
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.