9 Phone Interview Mistakes That Could Cost You the Job

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Want to avoid jeopardizing your chances of landing a great job? Make sure you steer clear of these common and unfortunate phone interview mistakes.



After working hard to ensure you are adequately prepared to pull off a perfect phone interview, the last thing you want is to undo all of your hard work by making a few careless phone interview mistakes. Your preparation up to this point has included creating a professional cover letter, updating your resume and getting ready to answer both common and unusual interview questions. Now, it is time to complete the last few preparatory steps. One of these steps is learning how to avoid cringe-worthy blunders that are often tragically overlooked by job seekers.

In the hours approaching your scheduled interview, make sure you review the following list of nine phone interview mistakes. Falling victim to any of these mistakes could potentially cost you the job. Commit to avoiding these mistakes at all costs and delivering a praiseworthy phone interview performance that will earn you a place on the recruiter’s list of top qualified candidates.

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9 Common Phone Interview Mistakes



1. Waking up right before your scheduled call. Even if your phone interview is scheduled early in the morning, it is unacceptable to wake up mere minutes before the call comes through. Not only will you have a tired mind and voice, but you will not have adequate time to take care of last-minute preparation needs before your call.

2. Sounding disinterested or preoccupied. It is imperative that you avoid all distractions during your phone interview. If other things are going on around you while you are on the phone with a recruiter, you run the risk of sounding preoccupied or even disinterested. The wisest thing to do is lock yourself in a quiet room and focus on maintaining an energetic and interested tone of voice.

3. Chewing gum or eating. Forgetting to spit out your gum or attempting to sneak a few bites of a meal during your interview can have disastrous consequences. No matter how quiet you try to be, the interviewer will almost certainly pick up on the noise. Chewing gum or food while on the phone with anyone is impolite, but it is especially important to avoid doing so when you are speaking with the person who is deciding whether or not to hire you!

4. Sneezing, coughing or burping. Never sneeze, cough or burp while talking on the phone. If you are unable to quell the urge to sneeze or cough, politely excuse yourself and cover the telephone mouthpiece until you are finished. Or, as a last resort, you may need to put the call on hold while you take a quick drink. If you are sick with a bad cough, either reschedule your interview or take non-drowsy cough medication beforehand to help subdue your symptoms.

5. Interrupting. Never interrupt the recruiter during an interview. Pause for a second or two after each question is asked to be sure the interviewer is finished speaking before you respond.

6. Technical difficulties. While some unexpected technical challenges may be unavoidable, most can be deterred by simply ensuring that your cell phone battery is charged and that you are in an area with a strong cellular signal. Double check both of these before the start of your call by phoning a friend.

7. Cutting the call short. Never cut the call short because you failed to block out enough time for your interview. While most phone interviews are fairly brief, some can extend for an hour or more at a time. Plan accordingly and clear your schedule of all other activities during this time.

8. Excessive background noise. Do you live near a train station, construction site, or park? If there is excessive background noise going on around you, consider commuting to a quieter location for your phone interview.

9. Neglecting to follow up. Even job candidates who complete the most impressive phone interviews can lose out on the job if they neglect to follow up with the employer. Following up can mean calling the company a week after your interview and politely asking when you can expect to hear a final decision. As part of the follow-up process, you should also plan to send a short, concise thank-you note to the interviewer. Express your gratitude for the interview and briefly, reiterate why you are a great candidate for the position.

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