If you’re applying for a popular job posting, you may end up going through a phone interview before the recruiter invites you to an in-person interview. When you’re an applicant, this can seem like yet another challenging hurdle you must clear before securing the job offer. But to employers, phone interviews are very useful tools.
Phone interviews offer several advantages to employers as an intermediate step between reviewing resumes and interviewing individuals in person. The fastest way for employers to narrow down the pool of candidates is to look through application materials, but often they need information that isn’t included in most resumes or cover letters. They may want to check on your availability or expectations in terms of compensation. They may want to ask a few questions to make sure that you carefully read over the job description. And if they were unclear about a few points on your resume, the phone interview gives them a chance to ask questions about that information.
In addition, some employers have been burned by bringing in candidates who look great on paper but have poor interpersonal skills, and a phone call gives them a chance to make sure that a potential hire can communicate effectively. People who sound distracted or unprofessional over the phone are often rejected. A phone interview also gives an employer a chance to evaluate your judgment and professionalism based upon how you respond to the request for an interview. Whether or not you choose to pick up your phone, what you say when you do, and how you prepare for your interview all tell employers something about you.
In-person interviews provide all this information as well, but they take much more time to complete. A phone interview can tell an employer a lot in just a few minutes, letting them evaluate more applicants than they could afford to if they were only conducting face-to-face interviews. In this way, you can think of phone interviews as a blessing. They allow you one more chance to impress a potential employer than you might have otherwise.