4 Reasons why you shouldn't accept phone interviews. Ever!
Things change my dear fellows. Fast. And when it is about communication and technology, things probably change even faster. Recruitment has been disrupted over the years, and it is certainly not over. When it comes to interviewing the invasion of cell phones, Whatsapp, Skype, and social media had a huge impact. The amount of face-to-face meetings in a recruitment process has drastically decreased in the last fifteen years. Nowadays, very few hiring processes don't include at least an initial phone or, even worse, chat interview (yes people do that!). Is that wrong? In my opinion, yes. It can be terrible. But let's clarify things before starting. I don't think it hurts at all to have a phone conversation about a role. Making the introduction, having a first exchange, and providing some information for each other (recruiter/candidate) can make sense and facilitate the rest of the process. Whether this call will lead to the candidate being on a short list or not is another story. I think, with a few exceptions, this should not happen. So a quick tip for you, my dear candidate, before having an initial conversation with a recruiter: promptly ask them the purpose of the call and always insist on having a meeting if it is part of the selection process. Here is why:
First reason - You are not just a voice!
You are, indeed, way more than that. I am not saying that you need to be Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie to get the job. Physical appearance is not my point; nonverbal communication is. A smile, a handshake, eye contact, posture, the way you sit, the way you stand, the attention or interest in the conversation that your body can reveal; all of this may be as important as the words you use. And it goes both ways! While it is important for a recruiter to identify indicators in the candidate's nonverbal communication, it is also important for the candidate to identify clues and information through the recruiter's. In the end, we are human beings made with flesh and bones. The way we interact face-to-face will have a huge impact on our daily jobs, and I am convinced that it would be a huge mistake to not take this into consideration in a selection process.
Second reason - You may suck at it!
And if you do, I bet you know it! It does not mean that you are not the perfect candidate for the role, though! There are countless reasons why you may not be good with phone interviews. You may simply feel uncomfortable talking over the phone. Some people just hate it. Maybe you cannot stand the idea of having your cheek sweating after more than 10 minutes of conversation, due to the heat of your phone. Maybe you suffer from OCD that pushes you to count until 33 in your head every minute you spend over the phone and leaves your level of attention close to 0. Whatever the reason, you are probably well aware of your weakness and, therefore, should do everything to avoid phone interviews. Unless you are applying for a role in a call center or as a salesperson selling products or services over the phone, it won't have any impact on how you will perform in your job anyway.
Third reason - Technology is not (always) your friend.
Wifi, network, battery, microphone, headset, and screen are just a few examples of things that you will need to rely on in order to make sure that your interview won't be disrupted. Interviewing is a stressful experience, and adding potential technological issues makes things worse. Whatever may go wrong, it will be surprisingly disturbing and will drastically decrease your level of attention and performance. Believe me, I have been there before.
Fourth reason - Expect the unexpected.
Technology is one thing, but that's not all. Unless you lock yourself in a nuclear fallout shelter in the middle of nowhere, you are not safe. If you are home your pet can start yelling at you for food, your kids can start fighting over candy that they don't want to share, your husband can ask you where you put the car keys (again) without realizing that you are in the middle of a phone conversation. Even if you were smart enough to organize the interview when no one's home, the risks are still crawling around, sneaking, embodied by your neighbor knocking at the door to complain that your garden hedge is too high. You think you found a perfect and quiet coffee place? A bus of Chinese tourists just decided to have a break in your charming place and transform your interview into a nightmare. Can't you see? You cannot escape it.
So is phone interviewing so terrible? Probably not. My point, though, is to not let these things define who you are as a person or as a candidate. So the more you can avoid it, the better it is. You will always sell yourself better in a real conversation, like while sharing a coffee with your recruiter, than when separated by a screen or a microphone. Just ask; it costs nothing, and, most of the time, recruiters are happy to meet.