Job Search Blunders: How to Fail Your Phone Interview

Direct from the recruiter’s mouth we have these top tips on how to screw up your phone interview. Follow them the next time you’re hoping not to get the job.

1. Call from the office you’re still working at. And be sure to mention how much you hate your current job. Nothing says dedicated employee like someone who searches for the next job on their current boss’ dime. Add insult to injury by talking about what a jerk your current boss is, and how that’s why you’re looking for a new opportunity.

2. Admit that you’re playing Angry Birds on your iPhone during the interview. It will demonstrate your quality multi-tasking skills and dexterity.

3. Smoke, chew gum, or do other disgusting things with your mouth that will – mark my words – be decipherable from the other end of the phone line.

4. Pick a spot with horrible cellular reception for the call. Do absolutely no recon prior to the call to determine if you’re in a good location – even better, call from the middle of the shopping mall. Be sure to point out the discounts you’re getting on your purchases during interview pauses.

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Jeff Ribeira

Wow. Do people actually do these things?! Doing recon and research for a phone interview strikes me as being equally important to the preparation you do for an in-person interview. And in my experience, even most phone interview are scheduled so there shouldn’t be an excuse for being caught off guard. Great tips though!

Susan Thomas

@Lindy, Your post is so humorous. Moreover, it is true. I have actually experienced some of the things you cited when I have interviewed applicants.

Here is one variation. I recruited for a program analyst position and interviewed several people. I prefer to interview people in person, but I will accommodate people with phone interviews when warranted. One particular applicant accepted an in-person interview and then suddenly said he would have to do the interview by phone. He acted as if I was lucky to interview him. He did not get the job.

Paul Homan

Wow! I guess some of these actually happen. I tend to get hyper nervous, and so I have worked on honing techniques to relieve some that personal anxiety. But Angry Birds? Really? Hilarious!

Lindy Kyzer

Sam – It’s funny you say that, because I’ve heard from a few recruiters recently that they’re using Skype to up the ante, so to speak, when it comes to a phone interview, and the outline for a post has been in my head. I’ll be sure to post here when I write it!

Sam Allgood

@Lindy, my son-in-law has recently done several skype interviews for youth pastor positions. Seems to have been a very favorable experience. The church that has offered him a job asked him after only doing a skype interview what it would take for him to take the position, so they were at least very interested at that point. I know from using skype myself that you need to make sure the lighting, etc is working well.

Susan Thomas

@Sam, I like the concept of Skype and the utility. As you say, lighting is important and I have seem some Skype shots on television that look a bit strange.