Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The phone interview

I've interviewed hundreds of people for stories over the phone, but this was the first time someone was asking me questions using the ole rotodial. A local college called a few days ago asking me if I would be interested in interviewing by phone for a public relations position I applied for months ago. Of course, I was excited and wasn't about to turn them down.

My cell promptly rang at 9:30 this morning and we moved right along with the questions. But it felt strange talking to three potential bosses sitting miles away speaking through a conference call. It was impossible to gauge their reactions or feed off their enthusiasm, which I think makes personal interviews so interesting. They asked the standard answers and I gave them the standard responses, hoping I would eventually be elevated to the next group of applicants that get the one-on-one treatment.

Of course, I don't blame them for conducting phone interviews to narrow the list. It surely saves time as they move forward with the hiring process. It just was a very different -- and probably very useful -- experience on this winding road of unemployment.


  1. What's the protocol, Mike? Are you permitted to ask questions in return? Or, are these phone interviews just a one-way street?

    If you don't like the tone of questions, or comments made to you, do you have the opportunity to say, "I think this path is not a good one for both of us." Just wondering what the protocol is for these types of events.

  2. There was some back-and-forth and they allowed me to ask questions at the end of the interview. I thought it flowed well, but it's obviously hard to judge someone's body language when you're not in the same room with them.

  3. Since you can always see "crazy" in the eyes, I'm still in favor of doing interviews face to face. ;-)