Top 5 Reasons You Didn’t Get a Call Back

Posted on December 15, 2010


Telephone interviews are nerve-racking. Candidates receive no visual feedback – either positive or negative – from their interrogators, feel pressured to perform and all too often are unprepared to provide the answers that will elevate them to the next level of the job hunting process.

When you don’t get an invitation to meet face to face after your telephone interview, it’s likely that you made one of the following mistakes:

  1. You didn’t convey enthusiasm and excitement for the position. When you’re face to face with an interviewer, they can interpret your body language, your smile and your posture while talking with you. On the phone, the only element that you control is your voice. It’s up to you to be energetic and enthusiastic in your responses – more so than if you were sitting in front of your interviewer. Stand up. Smile. Tell yourself to relax. And keep your energy level high throughout your conversation.
  2. You didn’t sell yourself. There’s only one person on the call who’s looking out for your interests: You. No one else will read between the lines of your resume to divine your true worth. Do you want them to know what a great job you did on last year’s Xmas promotion? Tell them. Do you want them to know how much money you saved during last quarter’s reorganization? Tell them. It’s not bragging if it’s true.
  3. You didn’t tell memorable stories. Facts are boring and forgettable. Stories, when well told, are memorable and make you distinctive. Be prepared to tell the stories of your career that illustrate your professional strengths. Have six stories practiced and prepared so that you aren’t caught off guard reacting to their probing questions about your accomplishments.
  4. You didn’t actively listen. It’s amazing how much inside information that hiring managers will reveal to those candidates who ask questions, shut up and listen. Really listen. Listen to the tone of their voice – are they exasperated or enthusiastic? Are they anxious or excited? You can adjust your responses to assuage their concerns or contribute to their excitement. But only if you listen to what they’re saying rather than anticipating your own next response.
  5. You didn’t follow up. A critical part of the job search process is demonstrating your capacity to follow up properly. Although every blog, book and column instructs job seekers to follow up with their interviewers immediately after each interviewer, fewer than 20% of job seekers actually do. You should send an immediate email thank you note, followed up with a note the next week if you haven’t heard anything. Diligent follow up can keep you in mind and make the difference between landing the job and joining the crowd of anonymous submissions.

You have the capacity to make a distinctive impression in your telephone interview, but it takes preparation, energy and thorough follow up to land the job you covet.