An Anti-Philosophy on Phone Interviews

Maybe I should have a philosophy on How to do Phone Interviews. You know, some Do/Don’t list which is guaranteed to land me my post-college dream job. But I don’t have such a list.

Instead, my anti-philosophy is to treat the interview as if I am already working with the interviewer.

After all, aren’t I? A phone interview is just a discussion between two professionals, helping decide whether one should join the other as a colleague at their organization.

So before an interview, I make a cup of coffee, grab a pen and pad, and sit down at my desk ready simply to have a collegial discussion.

And I try to learn. Not something dull which won’t be useful to me in two months, like what’s precisely the best answer to some boilerplate interview question. But interesting things.

Last week during one interview I learned about startup accelerators in Pittsburgh. In another, I picked up an entertaining description of the C# programming language. I had fun and educational conversations with several interesting professionals. And if they’re interesting, shouldn’t they be great coworkers?

I believe an interview is best if all parties to the conversation almost forget that it’s an interview. Perhaps it’s a skill I carried over from my days as a college policy debater – the best speeches and cross-examinations feel like conversations with the judge, not speeches or cross-examinations.

Maybe my way of interviewing is a little too chipper or happy-go-lucky. But so what? I look forward to being part of a company culture that appreciates genuineness. I really believe “being real” is a crucial part of getting work done.

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