Sometimes what you don’t say is just as important as what you do say.
Here are several things you should never say in a phone interview.
“What does your company do?”
The only time this would ever be acceptable is if you are surprised by a telephone interview sneak attack that you could not have known about beforehand—in other words, they call you up out of the blue and want to conduct your interview right there, right then. Otherwise, you’ve got some time to prepare. Use it to research the company and find out what they do. Then you can focus your conversation on how you would be a great addition to their organization.
“Can you hang on while I take this call?”
This phone call is THE most important conversation you could possibly be having right now. Never allow other callers to interrupt. In fact, turn off call waiting, text alerts, or anything else that might beep and distract you during this call.
“I’m worried about….”
Even if you’re very concerned about some factor in this new job (the commute, the transition, the hours, whatever), never ever bring it up in the phone interview. It’s just too soon. Bringing up something negative too early just makes you look negative. I’ve seen firsthand how fast job seekers get knocked out of consideration by bringing up problems before they should.
“What’s the salary range for this position?”
Never, ever bring up money at any point in the interview process—not until you have an offer in your hand.
“How much vacation time would I get?”
Nothing more clearly says, “What’s in it for me?” than asking about benefits and perks too early in the conversation. That’s always a bad move. The job interview is a sales process—you are the product and the sales rep. That interviewer is your customer. Your job is to “sell” them on the idea of hiring you—which means your focus must be on what’s in it for them. Once you’ve convinced them that you are the right person to hire, then you can talk about what you’re getting out of it—and you can decide if you’re interested or not at that point.
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