Category: Phone Interviewing

Don’t Underestimate the Power the Four “A’s” Have On Your Interview

In a previous article, “Leveraging the Power of the First Impression Helps You Win the Interview” we discussed just how critical (not important, critical) the first impression is to the interviewing process. One of the suggestions was to understand the most important points known as the four “A’s.”

These four “A’s” can dramatically impact the interview before the interview even starts. That is powerful.

Each of these must be integrated into your interviewing style and come off as if they come naturally to you.

  • Appearance – This is not just how you dress for the interview, it is much more than that. It includes your body language during the interview, how you sit in the chair, the appearance of your resume and cover letter, the appearance of any materials used during the interview, eye contact, and I hate to say it, but it does include physical appearance.
  • Assertive – This is mostly about how you project yourself during the interview. Please take note, the word was not “aggressive.” There is a big difference between aggressive and assertive. Most interviewers respect an assertive person and dislike aggressive people. Do you come across as confident, do you answer the question with a strong voice, do you engage the interviewer during the interview, do you ask probing questions or just sit there and answer questions, do you mirror the interviewer, does your body language and voice have a strong presence?
  • Affable – Are you friendly, outgoing, easy to communicate with, engaging and even have a sense of humor? Does the interviewer feel comfortable talking with you, are they relaxed and feel at ease, do you have some conversational questions to bring up on the way from the lobby to the interviewing room, do you engage in casual conversation and are you building rapport with the person the second they lay eyes on you?
  • Articulate – How well do you communicate? Do you listen to the question? Are your answers sharp and succinct? Do you have proper language skills, syntax, avoid using the word “like”, proper sentence structure and use of verbs? Do you ramble in the interview to make sure you hit every point in your background or are you able to quickly get to the point? This can be one of the easiest of the “A’s” to master. It takes practice and rehearsing, and you will probably need a coach to help you with this one.

On the surface, as you read these, they seem so obvious. Most are thinking, “I already know this stuff.” This may be true, but I think the purpose of the four “A’s” is to highlight in a very simple way some of the key issues many candidates take for granted. As a result they don’t work on mastering them.

There are a lot of dynamics happening at the same time during the hiring process. The more you can master, the better your chances of getting the green light.

Join our Job Search Networking Linkedin Group. There are over 2700 members and an extensive supply of resources for you to tap into. CLICK HERE to join. Membership is FREE.

We have numerous free downloads on our Web site to help you in your search. Sample cover letters, audio downloads from past radio shows,a transferable skills list, Linkedin Profile Assessment Matrix, and our Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard. All can be downloaded from our home page.

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Phone Interviewing Quiz

Most interviewing processes start and stop with the phone interview. In our opinion this is the most important interview. Not only because if you fail here the process stops, but mainly because it sets the stage for the in-person interview if you do well. Have a great phone interview and the mindset of the person bringing you in for the face-to-face interview is already positive, they believe you must be qualified, and you are starting out in a strong position.

Here is a quick quiz to see if you are ready to, “Win The Phone Interview.” Answer these in your mind, not fair if you already read the book or downloaded the free chapter. (Answers below)

  1. List all three factors that can be measured during a phone interview. Must list all three.
  2. How long should you talk before re-engaging the interviewer?
  3. Is the format for answering a question different than a face-to-face? If so, what is different?
  4. Is there a possible benefit from not answering the phone? If yes, what is it?
  5. What is the only purpose of a phone interview?

If you can answer all of these, then you are aware of how different the phone interview is from the in-person interview. If you can’t answer all of them then you should consider doing your homework. It is possible you’ve missed an opportunity because you were weeded out during a phone interview.

To help you, we have a number of completely FREE resources to make sure you know how to win the phone interview.

  1. Our chapter on “Winning the Phone Interview” from our job search workbook is free to download. It answers all these questions and more.
  2. We just posted a 1 hour audio file from our radio show focused completely on the phone interview.
  3. There are also a number of other blog entries dedicated to the phone interview for you to read.
  4. Our Linkedin discussion group is a great forum to discuss any issues you have regarding your job search.
  5. Our monthly Candidate Open Forum tele-conference has been one of our most successful methods to discuss all job search related topics. These forums fill up in less than a day. Click here for the next date and time.

Please consider taking advantage of these. They are all free tools you can use to ensure you not only win the phone interview, but win the job.

Help your friends and family know how they can win a phone interview by sharing this with them.

Please let us know how you did on the quiz. Did you really know all of the answers?


  1. Energy level, technical abilities and communication skills
  2. 1 minute.
  3. Yes, since it shorter and you can’t read their body language it is very important that your answers are succinct and impactful.
  4. The hiring manager leaves a message saying, This is the VP of HR from ABC company. I’m calling about X opening and would like to speak with you.” Now you can do some basic research on the company.
  5. To screen you in or screen you out.

Winning The Phone Interview

Hiring often starts with a phone interview. For candidates who don’t understand the unique subtleties of a phone interview it is often the end of the interviewing process. Using our DRESS UP model for conducting a phone interview will ensure you move on to the next step. We discuss the biggest reasons why many candidates fail the phone interview and give you solutions on how to “Win the Phone Interview.” Learn to win the phone interview and  you will the job.

Don’t Download This Article

If you can answer all of these questions then you don’t need to download our chapter on “Winning the Phone Interview.”

  1. The only three things that can be measured on a phone interview? (You have to know all three)
  2. The difference between how you answer a question on phone interview versus a face-to-face interview?
  3. A phone interviewing answer should never be longer than __ _____.

We have asked these questions to over 1000 candidates at networking meetings, interviews, and association talks. To date not even one person has been able to list all three in the first question. The groups will shout out answers and generally get two of them, but rarely does one person get even two.

Why is this important? Who cares? Every candidate looking should care!!

If you don’t know what is being measured on a phone interview how the heck will you prepare. Wouldn’t that be similar to one of our professors telling you there is a test on Friday and I’m not going to tell what the test will cover, how to prepare or for that matter what subject the test will be on. And most students would reply, “Why is this important. Who cares?”

If you don’t get past the phone interview then you will never get a job. Many, if not most, companies today are conducting phone interviews first to screen out candidates.

Too many candidates undervalue the importance of the phone interview. Ask any recruiter that has done hundreds of these or an HR person that also has done hundreds of these and they will tell you the importance.

So, if you didn’t know the answers and want them, you can download this for free. CLICK HERE to go to our FREE resources page.

You can see what other resources IMPACT Hiring Solutions offers to help candidates spend less time in search by CLICKING HERE.


Question 1:  1) energy/enthusiasm, 2) communications, 3) skills/experience

Question 2:  Yes, since body language is 50 – 60% of communications and that is missing in a phone interview, the interviewee is under an additional burden to communicate succinctly and with extreme clarity.

Question 3:  1 minute.






Are You The Tiger Woods of Job Hunting?

After more than 25 years as a recruiter, I calculated that I have had more than 10,000 interviews in my career. That is a combination of phone and in-person. Of those, at best 5% were exceptional and I knew as we say in the recruiting industry, “This person is a walking placement.” But WHY?

We offer all candidates a free copy of the “Winning The Phone Interview” chapter in our book. More than 2,000 people have downloaded this. The vast majority have commented that it was very helpful. Often, however, we get this comment, “Good stuff for the person just starting their search, but I’ve been searching for a while and already know it. Thanks.”

So why are you on the market for so long if you know all this stuff?

I took a step back and I think I know why. It is because – it is a big leap from knowing something and doing it, and it is a quantum leap from doing it at a highly skilled level. We were aware that most people knew this when we wrote the book. We also know that after 10,000 interviews 5% actually do it and maybe 2% do it with a high degree of skill.

In this highly competitive market the bar has been raised so high that only candidates that perform with a very high degree of skill will win the interview and ultimately the job.

Change your paradigm for a minute. Most of us have some hobbies or sports activity we really enjoy. For example mine is golf. I have taken lessons, read the books, subscribe to the magazines with all the tips, attended weekend golf camps, and I even enjoy practicing or hitting balls. So as many candidates would say, “This is good for the new golfer, but not me, I’ve been playing golf for years, I already know this stuff. Thanks.”

Anyone who plays golf (or any activity) knows it is a big leap from knowing it and doing it. And in my example, it is a quantum leap to Tiger Woods or for that matter to the PGA Tour.

You can’t just “know it” in today’s job market. You have to do it with a high degree of skill.

Final thought. Even Tiger Woods to this day has a swing coach. I’m willing to bet most candidates have never even had job hunting lessons.

We offer a lot of free resources to help you perform at a high level. CLICK HERE to go to our FREE RESOURCES page.