You finally get a response. After sending seemingly hundreds of resumes and hearing nothing, you finally receive a voicemail message from a corporate recruiter wanting to schedule a phone interview with you. Time for celebration, right?

Not so fast.
 
The phone interview is merely another hurdle that candidates are asked to clear before finally getting a real chance at landing their dream job. Understand what it is from the company’s perspective – an opportunity to find a reason not to bring you in for a face to face interview.

You should always push for a face to face interview instead.

So how can you get around it?

Immediately offer a time when you are available to meet in person, something like, “You know, I have some flexibility to come out to meet in person, if that works for you. Is there a day that is better for you?”

You will be surprised at how often you are able to schedule something. You will still usually get asked a few token questions, but you should not have to go through the full blown phone interview.

A candidates’ ultimate goal is to get hired at a great company as quickly as possible, right? I am confident in telling you that you will not get hired from a phone interview. (I have seen it happen only once in my twenty years of recruiting). So, wouldn’t you be better off starting with an in-person meeting?

1. It shows a sense of initiative to the employer. Suggesting a face to face meeting tells a company that you are serious about finding a new opportunity and are ready to make a decision. You are not just dipping a proverbial toe in to test the waters. By committing to a meeting immediately, it shows that you are decisive and are willing to invest the time to meet with them in person.

2. A face to face interview allows you a better opportunity to sell yourself and make a connection with the individuals with whom you’d be working. It is much easier for an employer to see the excitement in your body language than it is to hear it over the phone.

3. A face to face meeting will get you a better read on the company and its culture. Is this a place where you could see yourself working? Is the work environment conducive to your personality?

4. It saves time. By removing the phone interview, you will typically shorten the time to hire by at least a few days, if not weeks. Generally the questions that are asked in the phone interview get asked again in the first meeting anyway.

5. Fewer distractions, more commitment. There are many potential distractions during phone interviews. And a phone call typically is a lower priority than an actual meeting. More phone interviews get rescheduled because another meeting runs long than vice versa.

I understand that sometimes you won’t have a choice – the company dictates the hiring process. But taking the initiative to subtly push to move straight to a face to face interview could be to your distinct advantage.