Thursday, October 18, 2012

How to Master a Telephone Interview

This morning, I talked to an HR Director friend of mine about an ancient topic that continues to come up every day in interviews to this day.  The topic is that of listening and it isn’t ancient after all. 

I told Mike that I was going to write a blog today and the blog was going to be the word LISTEN. No other words, just the word LISTEN.
My Sounding Board Spoke

As Mike always does, he pushed back on my idea.  Not that he didn’t agree that listening or lack of listening is a significant reason why some people interview well and why others routinely blow interviews but his opinion was that if I were to write a blog around the topic of listening, I should invest the time necessary to explain the thought behind the word.

I Listened To My Sounding Board
Listening is a complex topic.  Wikipedia offers a half dozen definitions for Listening if you care to explore to the topic more deeply. 

I’ll try to keep this article simple by suggesting that most people equate listening with the action of not talking.  Not talking does not equate to listening.

Handling the Telephone Interview
In a telephone interview, it is absolutely without any doubt whatsoever critically important that the interviewee do the following:

·         Focus on what the other person is communicating.  Seek to understand the interviewer’s objectives and put your own objectives aside.

·         Don’t share what you think is of value to the interviewer.  Seek to understand what actually is valuable to the person you’re talking to.  Answer their questions, not the questions you brought to the interview in your head.

·         You don’t want to sell anything to an interviewer until you know what the interviewer wants to buy.


What’s The Big Deal?
Failure to approach a telephone interview with these objectives in mind will nearly always guarantee a blown interview.  However, learn how to truly listen to what the interviewer is asking you to deliver and deliver precisely what the interviewer asked for and you’ll experience positive results from your next phone interview and every phone interview you experience in the future.'s Security Recruiter Blog