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I came across a job posting that looked interesting and I met almost all the requirements. The posting provided a phone number to call in case you have questions. I called to find out who to address my cover letter to, and immediately the person on the other end prompted me with Tell me about your self?

This caught me off guard, and I asked if we were doing the phone interview now, and he confirmed yes. I stumbled and gave what I thought was a poor answer, but he proceeded to tell me more about the job and asked if I was interested.

Are "on the spot" phone interviews common?

I've never been in a phone interview under those circumstances, it was always scheduled.

Edit

The job is simple data entry, short term (5 months) for a property management company.

  • 1
    @JoeStrazzere - Guess I should be more prepared then. Why the downvote? – user95568 Dec 10 '18 at 23:17
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    Depends on the industry, location, level etc. It will get closed if you dont specify – Victor S Dec 11 '18 at 0:13
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    I upvoted, because I didn't agree with the downvote. BUT, I really think that you ought to tell us what kind of job it was. If it is a "warm body" job, which involves asking people if they would like fries with that, then probably. If your job involves sequencing genomes, then probably less so. – Mawg Dec 11 '18 at 7:51
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    @Mawg - Done, see update. – user95568 Dec 12 '18 at 5:41
  • You should treat every contact with a company you've applied at/ want to apply at, as a job interview. Just as you should treat every contact with the company as their showing you what working with them looks like (e.g. how chaotic/ well-organised processes are, how professional their employees are, etc.). – BigMadAndy Dec 12 '18 at 11:06
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Really common

I came across a job posting that looked interesting and I met almost all the requirements. The posting provided a phone number to call in case you have questions.

You are not the only person who likely called them that day. For a public job posting, they could easily get 100 calls a day (mostly from people who are not qualified). They're immediately going to weed out bad candidates.

They don't want to ask specific questions since anyone can lie. So they ask you to describe yourself instead. They don't expect a rehearsed answer, and likely everyone bumbles through it.

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On the spot interviews have been done for a long time. You called them, they now have an opportunity to get the phone screen done.

They do a similar thing to resumes received at some events, if there is time they will ask the person dropping of the resume a few questions to flag noteworthy resumes and candidates.

They could wait for you to formally apply, review your resume, and then decide if they want to do a phone screen. But now they can either encourage you to apply or discourage you from applying based on the information you provide and the questions you answer. Of course the person conducting the interview has to be a part team that does these phone screens.

If a candidate doesn't call them, they will go through the regular workflow, but when the opportunity presents itself they can do a quick phone interview.

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