Telephone interviews can be a minefield

    Sarah Needleman writes about these “screening” calls in the WSJ, June 2, 2009. Time was, these were used as a chemistry check—a call to see if an in-person interview might be the next step.

    Now, they can be the interview.

    The bar has been raised.

    One woman was grilled for 90 minutes on what she knew about the company and her marketing philosophies—a far cry from “tell us a little about yourself.”

    Now they can ask for exact dates of employment, or to describe 10 marketing initiatives or other projects, including results.

    The interviewer may try to determine where you stood when you were laid off. Were they glad to see you go?

    This saves the money on flying people out.

    Be careful how your call comes across, too. Don’t put the interviewer on hold to tend to a kid or order from the drive-through.

    Keep your answers short. If you don’t know or need to look it up, say so.

    It wouldn’t hurt to keep a resume and cribsheet by the phone, either.

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