Phone Interviews

During my induced bed rest this week, I decided I couldn’t spend all of the day curled up in a ball cursing my body. I wanted to remain productive, so I attempted reading in small doses, and I even got an interview done.

No, I did not tell the individual to come to my sick bed, that would be highly unprofessional considering I was sweaty, crazy-eyed and switching between tearing my clothes off to throwing every blanket available upon my person every 30 minutes. (Such is fever folks.)

So I called the person. It helps them out often, because they see it as less of a hassle than meeting in person, and they’re thankful that you don’t wish your illness upon them. They’re busy people and have better things to do than be ill.

Phone interviews, while they shouldn’t be your first bet in all situations, are not the end of the world. If illness, distance, or time is an obstacle, suggest a phone interview. My experience with them has been positive. People speak candidly on the phone. I attribute that to the fact that you’re not looking at them while they speak, they essentially feel less on the spot. And what was helpful for me is that I could put them on speaker (in a private setting obviously) and type out what they were saying without it being rude. If you type while they’re speaking in person it comes off as rude and ruins the whole conversation vibe.

Interviews should be conversations, you’re getting information from the person, but you’re both generally invested and interested in what is being said. Feel free to discuss things related to, but not exactly what you were searching for when you set out to do the interview. Topics should flow easily, but still keep in mind the questions you need answered. It’s a bit of juggling act, but once it’s mastered it makes interviewing a much more enjoyable process, probably for both parties.

The main issue I found with phone interviews is that it’s easy for someone to ignore a voicemail. Be persistent, but not too pushy. I called and left a voicemail, waited a day and called again when I thought they may be free to get them personally, not an answering machine. It’s important to be clear in messages with your objective, who you work for, your name, and your contact information. If they don’t understand it they will just ignore you. They’re not responsible for the article, the reporter is.


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