5 Most Common Problems with Phone Job Interviews

JUNE 16, 2010 | BY MICAH

Due to the high number of applicants that most jobs receive, many companies have decided to go to phone interviews as a way to pre-screen applicants and reduce the number of applicants they call to an in person interview.

Phone interviews, for lack of a better word, suck. They suffer from a number of different problems that makes it hard to impress employers and get yourself noticed for the role. Below are a number of common problems that occur with phone interviews (/interview-tips/skills/phone-interview-tips).

Phone Job Interview Problems

  • Impersonal

Phone interviews are extremely impersonal. The individual conducting the phone interview is likely calling a number of applicants, is running short on time, and are looking for reasons to not call you to an in person interview. You do not get a chance to let your personality shine, and the employer rarely gets a chance to know who you are.

  • Difficult to Prepare

Phone interviews are often scheduled on the fly with very little time to prepare. Employers expect you to be ready right away since they are not giving you the full in person interview treatment. You can prepare by answering common phone interview questions and answers, but that can only take you so far. Mental preparation can also be affected, because phone interviews are often poorly scheduled and delayed.

  • Phone Call Problems

A number of problems can occur when you are on the phone. Your phone’s battery could die, the call can be dropped, you may be hassled by other phone calls and anyone that comes into your home may not realize you are on the phone before turning on the TV or blasting the stereo. Any one of these could damage your phone interview.

  • The Curse of Who is Before You

Remember that phone interviews are designed to weed out applicants. They want reasons not to call you in for an interview so that they can narrow down the candidates. If you go right after someone that had an excellent interview, you can have an almost-as-good interview and because you didn’t measure up to the interview before you, you may get denied for the role.

  • No Body Language

Voices are imperfect. No matter how much you have prepared for a question, you might stutter a little or pause a bit while you are thinking up the perfect answer. Normally these are easily ignored because your interviewer is looking right at you and can see that you are answering the question. On the phone, however, all you have is your voice, and if you pause or stutter, that is the only thing the interviewer is going to hear of you.

Phone Job Interviews Can Be Tough

There are a lot of things you can prepare for in interviews. Despite what it may seem, good preparation will lead to you landing the job. However, phone interviews can suffer from some difficult, unusual problems that may harm your chances. Be prepared for these problems and do your best to make sure they do not affect your job interview.

Take Away Interview Tips

  • Phone interviews have their own unique problems.
  • Make sure you are aware these problems may occur and do what you can to prevent them.

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