Phone Interview Mistakes You Just Can’t Make

Phone Interview MistakesIf you are new to job searching, there are hundreds of new situations you haven’t experienced before. To help get you through the learning curve faster, here are some common phone interview mistakes you don’t want to make (and what you need to know to avoid making them).

Just for fun, let’s start with an all-too-common phone interview mistake (remember: how you handle this just might determine whether or not you move on to a face-to-face interview!):

Out of the blue, your phone rings. It’s someone from a company you applied to but you didn’t catch the company name or the job title. Do you:

A) Fake it and pretend you know about the job?

B) Ask for more details about the job?

C) Stop the conversation and explain you missed the company name and job title?

The correct answer, of course, is ‘C’. But were you tempted to go with answer ‘A’? Most do!

Let’s see how many other phone interview mistakes you may be making…

What Job is this Again?

It may not be possible to remember every application you’ve sent.

The reality is, if you’re actively job seeking, you’ve applied for a lot of positions. It is your responsibility to be able to track and reference the jobs you’ve applied for by job title and company. In a recruiter’s mind, the job they have to fill is the only one you have applied for. In other words, they may not provide you with the full job title and company name.

Don’t feel embarrassed to ask for more information or to clarify the job they are calling about. Simply ask them to repeat what company they are with and the job title. You may need more information such as the date posted or details about the job which will buy you time while you search through  the documents you’ve submitted.

Just Talk Loudly To Drown Out The Police Sirens

You want to make the right first impression.

Conversations on the road or in public happen, but you don’t need to stay at home waiting for a call. You do need to be aware that any call you answer could be from a potential employer. Don’t be afraid to ask if you may reschedule an unexpected call if the conditions aren’t right.  If you intend to have a phone interview from your mobile, make sure you won’t be distracted and can access your files with the job posting and the resume you used to apply.

Surprise. This is a Video Interview!

Not knowing the interview format can cause problems.

Do you know if the recruiter will conduct the interview via phone or video? Do you know how long your conversation is scheduled to last? There is no normal set of guidelines for interviews today. Each company has a unique approach, so it is up to you to ask questions in order to know what to expect. You should collect these details to ensure that you’re fully prepared and perform your best during the interview.

I Grew Up on a Small Farm, I Love Fly Fishing…

Don’t miss the point of your introduction.

How you respond to “Tell me about yourself” can make or break the interview. This question is technically the interviewer’s way of asking why you are qualified for the job and a match for the company. Using your research, match your top two to four qualifications with the job requirements. Also include why you are specifically interested in the role and company. This is just an introduction. Keep your answer around a minute, so you don’t overwhelm the interviewer.

Nope. Not Going to Interview Here.

Are you dismissing the importance of insider information?

While researching the company, you may have heard words, such as “micromanage” or “toxic.” Don’t jump to conclusions. Instead, use this information to formulate questions you can ask during the interview, such as, “Tell me about one of your best employees and how you supported their development?”

Dang. There’s That Salary Question Again.

Do you know what the going rate is for the work you do?

Expect an employer to ask how much you made in your last job and how much you would like to make in the job you are applying for. These are two different questions and help the company assess if you fit within their budget and what your value is. Stating a number too high or too low could eliminate you prematurely.

To prevent this from happening, use salary calculators and industry contacts to gauge what the company may offer. You could even ask what the company budgeted for the role, rather than providing your answer. If your past salary and expected salary are in line with your research findings, you may choose to state a salary range. However, if your past salary or expected salary is not close to what the company is offering, you are better off deferring your salary answer until later in the conversation once you have a better understanding of the job requirements.

They’ll Train Me, Right?

Don’t ignore the fact that you lack some of the job requirements.

It is unlikely that you’ll have everything the company wants. Prepare an explanation for how you will come up to speed in the areas where you fall short. For example, if you don’t have specific software experience, you should at least know what it does. Talk with someone who uses the software and find out if the software is similar to anything you have used before, how difficult it is to master and where you can get training.

When asked about your software skills, address how you intend to come up to speed on the software you are missing. The same logic applies to any skill or experience you are lacking. Speak with someone who is knowledgeable and construct an answer on how you would bridge the gap. If the interviewer doesn’t bring it up, you can provide your skill gap solution anyway. You don’t want to leave issues that may eliminate you unaddressed.

Learning to avoid these common phone interview mistakes can prepare you to ace your next phone interview and allow to answer the phone with confidence!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Sherpa.


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Hannah Morgan hiring prosAbout the Author: Hannah Morgan is a career sherpa, guiding new job seekers through the treacherous terrain of job search. If you are looking for no-nonsense advice, check out her site Career Sherpa, and follow Hannah on Twitter for the latest job search news and trends!




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