Every Phone Interview I’ve Ever Had


Hi, Mr. Moss-China? Moss-sheena? Am I saying that right? Ohhh, okay. Well, my name is Janet and I’m a recruiter at [company]. I’m so glad you could take some time to speak with me today. Oh, you’re glad too? Good, that’s good. Anyway, big thanks for going through our rigorous online application process. You’re probably wondering why we asked you to upload your resume on our site, then made you re-type all of its contents into an 11-part form. That just makes it easier on our end to quantify candidates’ professional backgrounds. We then sort that data and call the applicants who wind up at the top of our spreadsheet. So lucky you, right? Hey, that reminds me; do you have experience with Excel? Uh huh. Great. Yes, I’m sure you put that in the “computer skills” section on your application, but let’s pretend I didn’t look over any of the information you submitted before calling you today.

So, I’d love to hear a little bit about you. For starters, how did you hear about this position? (Again, I know you answered this exact question when filling out the online application, but you know, humor me.) Uh huh. And having never met any of the people who work here — and having no idea what the corporate culture is like — why do you think you’d be a good fit at [company]? Are you a team player? Tell me what being a team player means to you. Also: tell me about a time when you found it difficult to play on a team and how you overcame it. Did you overcome it? Uh huh. No, keep rambling, please. I’m busily jotting down notes about how impressed I am with your response.

Good, good. That all sounds good. So let’s jump ahead a bit and talk about salary. How much do you make currently? YES, I KNOW YOU PROVIDED THIS INFORMATION ALREADY. FORGET THE ONLINE APPLICATION — PRETEND IT NEVER HAPPENED. Okay. How much? And how much are you looking to make? Uh huh. Well, just so you know, this position pays in the mid-[range below what you’re asking]. Is that going to be an issue? Oh, you’re willing to negotiate? That’s cute. Well, the salary range for this position is set, but sure, we can negotiate. Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it (let’s face it, we probably won’t).

Alright, now I’d like to get to the more lighthearted part of the interview where I ask about your hobbies and treat you like a human being that has feelings about things. Is there anything you’re particularly passionate about? Oh, you’re really into your career? Nice answer! Well, here at [company], we work hard and play hard (and use clichés). I won’t get into the specifics, but just think about that; how many other companies encourage their employees to play? Hmm? The company you work for now has a softball team? Yeah, we don’t have anything like that. But once a month, we do this mandatory “happy hour” where we corral everyone into the break room and go over any updated policies/procedures. It’s B.Y.O.H.S. (the “H.S.” stands for “healthy snack”). It’s a lot of fun.

So is there anything else you’d like to know, about the company or the position itself? Uh huh. Good question. But I think Mark — the manager of the department you’d be working for — can answer that better than I can. Any other questions? Uh huh. Yeah, again, I’d have to defer to Mark on that one. Anything el- Hmm? Where do we go from here? Well, I’m going to go ahead and pass your information along to Mark. He’ll reach out to you if he’d like to move forward. Oh, and the “thank you” email you’re planning to send me a few minutes from now? Yeah, I’ll probably just ignore that. I’ll more than likely ignore the “follow-up” email you send next week as well. In all honesty, you should just prepare yourself for a generic email in a month informing you that, while your qualifications are impressive, we’ve gone with someone else.

Yes, probably someone who didn’t bitch so much about the online form. Have a great day.

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