With phone interviews a common part of the hiring process, it’s worth making sure your phone skills aren’t getting in the way. Now, before you start thinking about things like word choice, demeanor, etc., that’s not really our focus here. Those are important, but I’m actually thinking more along the lines of cell phone etiquette. Most phone interviews happen on a cell phone, so there are some specific things to remember.
Since we’re pretty mobile these days, phone interviews can happen just about anywhere. And well, that’s half the problem! Years ago, these conversations happened on a landline phone. In those cases, we were limited by how far the phone cord would stretch. But now, you can do a phone interview in the car, while washing dishes, or even at work (Note: don’t do phone interviews at work!).
Watch out for distracting sounds
It’s not always common-sensical to stop and reflect on any of this before taking a call. When the moment arises, take a quick check around your environment. Is there something going on that could sound odd or distracting on the phone? If there are children playing or if you’re driving, those sounds could affect your call. Even the wind can create a very distracting sound.
The dangers of multi-tasking
Aside from noise concerns, doing anything on the phone (even walking!) can have an effect. It takes a surprising amount of air to walk while answering interview questions. On the other end, they will probably notice that you’re a bit winded. We have a simple solution: give yourself a break from all that multi-tasking! Just focus on the interview so you can shine. Also, staying in one place and focusing means you can take notes.
Can you hear me now?
And one last thing when it comes to phone interviews and calls. It never hurts to check the signal on your phone to make it’s strong. For example, I was doing a reference check once on a weak connection. It took us half the reference call for the employer to realize that he was giving me feedback for the wrong employee!
When you have a moment, listen to your voicemail greeting so you can hear what prospective employers are hearing. If it’s a custom greeting that you recorded, it’s good to mention your name and make sure the recording has a pleasant, professional sound to it. And last, be sure that your voicemail isn’t full! I can’t tell you how many times I’m unable to leave a voicemail for this reason. You don’t want a full mailbox to keep you from answering the door when opportunity knocks!
Adam Lafield, Recruiter & Marketing Specialist