Non-Traditional Interviews

Telephone/Virtual Interviews

Sometimes the importance of the telephone or virtual interview is overshadowed by the attention given to the “in person” interview. Many employers screen job applicants over the phone, and this occurrence is increasing as employers seek ways to reduce recruiting costs.

Why telephone interviews?

  • When you send a resume to an employer, a recruiter may conduct a telephone interview if your qualifications fit the employer’s needs.
  • Recruiters often use the telephone for follow-up questions to students who already have been interviewed.
  • Finally, many calls are placed by managers or supervisors who do the actual hiring. After a recruiter interviews you, your resume is often given to department heads who may be interested in employing you. Frequently, these managers will telephone you before extending an invitation to come for an office/site visit.


  • Keep a pen, paper, copy of your resume and cover letter near the phone.
  • Be sure that everyone who answers your telephone understands the importance of the calls you will be receiving. Make sure they take complete messages for you.
  • Listen to the message on your answering machine/voicemail. How does it sound? Is it something you want potential employers to hear?

Doing well on the phone

  • Respond positively. Once you realize the call relates to your job search, make every effort to put yourself into the proper frame of mind to be interviewed. If there are any distracting background noises, ask the caller for permission to leave the line while you close the door, turn off the stereo, tell others who may be present that you have an important call, or do whatever is necessary to give you privacy and quiet.
  • Listen closely to everything the interviewer says. Think through your responses as carefully as you would if you were sitting across the desk from him or her. Remember to ask questions as well and take notes.
  • At the conclusion, the caller usually explains what you should expect to happen next. If the interviewer fails to identify the next steps, you should politely ask.
  • Before hanging up, be certain you have the person’s name (& spelling), title, address and phone number.
  • Be sure to thank the person for calling you


Dining Interviews

Food and business cannot be separated anymore! Because of this, many organizations take potential employees out for a meal as another strategy of interviewing candidates. If you are applying for a position that involves a lot of client contact the employer may want to make sure you are making a good impression of yourself and representing the organization well. Like it or not, good manners are associated with competence in your job and in business…they say a lot about you!! So do not get too comfortable or relaxed if you are taken out to lunch as part of the selection process. No matter how informal, you are still being interviewed!

If you are confident with your manners and etiquette, you will feel comfortable in any situation, no matter how formal. If you are not confident, please consider attending the Career Development Etiquette Dinner (offered every semester) and looking through materials in our resource library and on Handshake. These resources will help answer any questions you may have on the several basic components to proper etiquette listed below:

  • Handshakes
  • Introductions & Making Conversation
  • Honoring the Host
  • Tackling Tableware
  • Tricky/Challenging Foods
  • Paying the Bill/Tipping