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Phone interview pro tip: never launch into an unsolicited sales pitch of yourself before you're asked any questions to which this could be a reasonable response

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I interview people for a living. I try as much as possible to give candidates the benefit of the doubt when hiring managers raise questions about them, especially when hiring managers often make incorrect negative assumptions about candidates, based on dumb bullshit reasons that aren’t valid. But there’s one surefire way for candidates to shoot themselves in the foot with me every time.


When I phone interview someone, I start with a few standard questions. After the usual introductions, and familiarizing them with my company and the details of the job, I ask:

  1. Describe your current or most recent job.
  2. What’s up with your job search right now? How actively are are you looking looking and how far along in the process are you? Any interviews or offers?
  3. What are you looking for in a new job?

Then I talk about pay, and as long as they’re in line with the budget for the position, go through the specific qualifications for the job and how their background meets these qualifications.


Usually, it’s very easy to to segue from introductions to this initial stage of the interview. And yet, there is a trend among candidates who just don’t allow me to even get to these questions. I get started with the intro section of the interview described above, but at some point, a switch flips in their brain, they’re like, “I NEED TO CONVINCE THIS PERSON I’M GOOD FOR THIS JOB!” and without being prompted, they launch into a rambling recitation of random shit they’ve done in previous jobs, in great detail, that they feel makes them qualified for the job I’m talking to them about.

Sometimes I’m able to redirect them and get them back on track, but more often than not, this is such an uninterrupted regurgitation of stuff that there’s no opportunity to cut the person off.



If you’re a candidate for a job, the person interviewing you knows what they need to learn about you.  They have a set of standard questions they’re going to ask you. You as the candidate however, have no idea what the interviewer wants to learn about you, until they ask you a question.


If you friggin barf up random stuff about why you think you’re so great for their job, before the interviewer even has a chance to ask their questions, you’re probably not going to be answering the questions you never gave the interviewer an opportunity to ask, and they will tire very quickly of you monopolizing the conversation.

Let the conversation flow naturally. Of course, be conversational at the beginning, but take cues from the interviewer on how they want the conversation to flow. Bare minimum, you need to give them an opportunity to ask questions. Otherwise, you’re fucking yourself every time.


Happy job hunting folks!

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