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About Phone Interviews

When applying to a job, some people consider interviewing to be a daunting process. During an in-person interview, it's very easy to be concerned with one's body language, presentation skills, and personality. However, these concerns are reversed with phone interviews. On a phone interview, candidates are not concerned as much with making a solid personal impression, but rather how not to be immediately disqualified and how to make any impression at all.

When applying to a remote position, telephone or Skype interviews may be the final step of the hiring process. However, in most cases, it is important to treat the phone interview as what it is: the first step in a long process. Therefore, it is important for candidates to understand the basic qualifying factors for the position and then ensure that they meet them.

Care should be taken not to go into too much detail on a phone interview: win them over with your personality during the in-person. During that initial candidate screening process, job seekers should generally not offer too many details, but rather focus on aligning themselves squarely with the basic criterion for the role. Remember, the point of the phone interview is not to decide on hiring you, but whether they should disqualify you. It is your sole job to get to the next round of interviews.
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Performing a phone interview may be necessary at times depending on the situation and the position being filled. In cases of remote workers, outsourced skills, or for branch locations where there is no trained interviewer, this type of interview is both understandable and appropriate. However, if the position is either higher level or customer-facing, a face-to-face interview is much more desirable if at all possible.

In cases where a phone interview is indeed required, preparing for the interview should be much more focused on the questions to ask and the answers desired. The lack of face-to-face interaction will detract from the ability to get a complete picture of the applicant because of the inability to assess body language, dress, and behavioral actions. Questions should be similar to in-person interview questions, but can be tailored to require more verbose responses in order to gather more information from the applicant. Asking the applicant open-ended questions, such as "Tell me about a time that you..." or "What are your thoughts on...", can allow them to speak freely and provide more complete answers. This can also give the interviewer information that they can expand on in further questioning.

One possibility that can overcome some of these shortfalls is to hold a video-conferenced interview rather than voice only, if the applicant has access to this. Your company could also arrange for facilities to accommodate this need in cases where it is possible. Most modern computers have the capability for video conferencing or video chat in some form.