Never the "Easy Chair"

Let’s set the mood:  Things haven’t been going as planned and your career seems to be moving along slower than molasses in December.   A Recruiter has contacted you about a very promising opportunity.  After checking your availability, he has set up a telephone interview with the Hiring Manager of a Fortune 100 company for 8:30 the following evening.

The next morning, having awakened late, you realize a power outage during the night prevented your alarm from going off. In fear of being late, you ran through the shower, got dressed, skipped breakfast and rushed off to work. Your work day started in your boss’s office with what was supposed to be a quick 15 minute meeting, that turned into a 2 hour lecture on why company goals weren’t being reached.  This put you behind schedule for your meeting with one of your main suppliers and caused you to work through lunch.  As a result, you had to reschedule picking up the prescription for your child’s new glasses until after work.  The afternoon was no easier, as you had 3 new employees to train and Production needed the new design drawings before close of the business day.

You finally left work at 5:22, but because of the extra stop to pick up a prescription, you barely made it on time to the 6:00 o’clock Tee-ball game, that you had to coach.  The game went into extra innings (because, let’s face it, everyone can hit in Tee-ball but no one can catch).  The game finally ended, due to a thundering downpour.  Thank God for rain!

Almost starving, because you had not eaten all day, you rushed through a fast food drive-up and gorged down about a million carbohydrates on the way home.  Once entering the door, you passed the kids back to your loving spouse for bedtime baths, prayers and stories.  Soaked and exhausted,  you flopped yourself down into your favorite easy chair and flipped on the remote, to catch the last few minutes of  the American Idol judging, before your telephone interview.

It’s now 8:15 p.m...  Your easy chair is feeling even better than ever.  It’s warm, it’s dry and it’s comfortable.  You lean back, put your feet out on the coffee table and begin to slip off into a fast-food comma.  Then out of nowhere, you are awakened by RRRIIIIIIIIIIIIINNGGGGGGGG… RRIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNGGGG”…. ”RRRRRIIIIINNNNGGGG!”  Feeling startled, to say the least, you fumble the phone, dropping it and the television remote on the floor.  The remote rolls under the sofa, but you are able to recover the phone. The television volume continues to blare, with the remote out of reach, while “Simon” makes rude remarks to the American Idol contestants, in the background.  The wife is bathing the children and does not hear Spot, the family dog, who continues to bark loudly at the nearby sliding glass doors, wanting to be let back in, after his potty break.  You yell out, “Can’t somebody let the dog in?”   Halfway into answering the phone and halfway somewhere in “La La Land”, you lean back in your chair and, though shaken and frustrated, you take the call.  


Weeks later, you are wondering why you haven’t been invited in for the “face to face” visit.  It’s simple.   The interviewer assumed that your interest level was low.  Although you may have said you were interested, often a well-trained interviewer will put more emphasis, not only on “what” you said, but “how” you said it.  Few people realize that when speaking on the phone, a person loses up to 30% of their perceived enthusiasm, through lack of visual contact.  That fact alone, combined with relaxed posturing (sitting feet up in the easy chair) and lowered energy level, from an exhausting day, can easily blow one’s chance to make a good impression during a professional telephone interview.


There is little you can do to predict what kind of day you will have.  However, if possible, you should avoid scheduling a telephone interview on T-ball night or on any other night on which you have previous obligations.   Also, make sure you are in a quiet environment and are free from all distractions.  Turn off the television, make arrangements for the kids ahead of time and put Spot in his kennel.  Take the call in a place that allows you to either sit up or stand up.  A kitchen table or home office may work great.  Never take the call in your favorite “Easy Chair!”

This is a  fact:  Hiring Companies are interested in individuals that are interested in them. In any interviewing situation a person must work extra hard to show their enthusiasm about a new opportunity, especially when interviewing over the phone.  If you fail the phone screen, you won’t be invited to the on-sight interview.  Of course, if you don’t make it on site, you’ll never see an offer.  The telephone interview is not the time to practice being an arm chair athlete who just sits on the bench.  Remember, before you can “score” in the big game……. you have to be invited to play!!!!!!