Interviewing for a job is tough.  It is where applicants win or lose a position.  The telephone interview is one of the toughest.

One of my mentors once used this example to illustrate the challenges of the initial job interview:

“The telephone screen,” he said, “is somewhat akin to playing the once popular childhood Birthday party game – Pin the tail on the Donkey.  The winner is the person who comes closest to pinning the tail on the donkey in the anatomically correct spot — while blindfolded. 

“In the telephone interview, you are blindfolded.  You are hoping to strike the right note with a recruiter you cannot see.  This interview really requires a deep sense of self awareness and the realization that connecting with that unseen person usually means that saying less rather than more is probably the right approach and saying the right thing is critical.”

It is here where most job applicants are eliminated from further consideration.

Preparing for this interview is not limited to doing your homework on the prospective employer.  It means practicing how you will answer some of the questions that are  common to the telephone screening interview. Deciding how you will answer one of these typical telephone screening questions is best done a day or two before the actual interview.

Interviewing is like giving a speech. You are communicating information.  The best speakers are not necessarily the smartest people on a given subject.  They are the ones who understand the value of rehearsing their message to be sure their connection with the audience is the best it can be.”


Join John and Chrishonda Smith, CCDP, SPHR of OhioHealth at the American College of Healthcare Executives Congress in Chicago, Wednesday, March 6, 2:15 to 3:45 for a course of the art of the job interview.