If a referral won’t grant you a personal interview, you should try to convert your call into a telephone interview. This type of interview usually isn’t as useful as one that is face to face, but it can help, and it’s all you’ll probably get anyway. Telephone interviews are less effective because it’s harder to
Develop rapport over the phone
Judge things that are happening on your contact’s end
Size up the contact Develop a relationship that might lead to a hidden job
Develop a continuing relationship
Get good referrals
Get candid criticism
But none of these things should stand in your way of making the most of the opportunity. Sometimes a phone interview can be very useful—and you’ve got nothing to lose. Start a phone interview with an abbreviated introduction, of, say, one minute. Clarify your objective; state how the contact can help you. The dialog will be similar to the dialog in a face-to-face interview, but will probably be fairly brief.