by Conor Friedersdorf
In The Awl, Luke Mazer writes:
The worst kind of job interview is over the phone. Who calls whom? Is my phone working? What if a creditor calls at the same moment the interviewer tries? Will the call be bounced? Will the recruiter leave a message? If they don’t call right away, how long should I wait until I call them? Do I even understand how my phone works? Do I even understand how interviews work? Should I shave?
In-person interviews, at least, have rules. Brush your teeth. Don't swear. But phone interviews? Once, a recruiter called me five minutes before the time we had set the interview. This really rattled me: I hadn’t gone to the bathroom yet, or re-filled my water, so I’d have to do both while talking to her. But when I answered, she just asked if she could push back the interview until tomorrow. That I was great with, because interviews make me nervous, and why do today what you’re getting permission to do tomorrow? I still haven’t been offered the job. Maybe she just keeps re-scheduling the day she is supposed to call back?
The way to ace a phone interview is to take the call in a very epic location, CSI Miami style. Seaside peninsulas, the helicopter pads atop glass skyscrapers, and beneath the religious statue that towers over Rio De Janero are specific examples I recall. Assuming you get reception there, how could the majesty of your surroundings fail to fire you up?
Instead I've foolishly spent past phone interviews pacing in the driveway of my parents' house, because the reception inside is awful, only to have someone turn on the inevitable leaf blower, forcing me to negotiate the precise spot on the threshold of the front door that would minimize gardening noise but still maintain reception.