Phone interviews can be awkward, let’s face it. If you’re the candidate, you’re often the one with the least amount of experience with phone interviews, and therefore, likely to be the one feeling the most uncomfortable. You can’t see each other to read body language, gestures go unnoticed, and it can be difficult to pick up nuances in tone – all of which can be important in making a connection.
Many candidates fail to understand they start the conversation, and by doing so they have a huge opportunity to set the foundation to establish a strong, professional connection – and good first impression. The conversation is started the moment you answer the phone and how you choose to answer the phone says a lot about you. The casual “hello” as if it’s your friend or family calling does not cut it and leads to a choppy, uncomfortable beginning.
You’ve scheduled and confirmed the appointment, so you should be expecting the call. It’s likely you have caller ID, so you know the incoming call is not personal. You’ve got the lead here, so don’t waste it with a simple hello. Identify yourself when you answer the phone and you eliminate the awkward start of “Who’s this? This is Steve, who’s this?”
Phone Interview Tip: Answer with a “Hi, this is Steve”, or even better, “Hi, this is Steve, is this Gwen?” In doing so you acknowledge that you’re prepared for the call, understand it’s a business call not personal, and you create the perfect opening for the recruiter or hiring manager to then take the lead and set the stage for the interview.
About the Author: Gwen Moore
A long-burning passion for organizational development inspired Gwen’s move from marketing, where she got her start, to human resources. She is a veteran of global firms like Electronic Arts, Cadence Design Systems, and National Semiconductor, most recently serving as Senior Director of Marketing and Human Resources for a children’s entertainment company, and has founded two startups, one in technology and one in entertainment. The marketing of products, brands, and talent itself all fall well within Gwen’s bailiwick. @pacheragroup
Image Credit: Matt Reinbold
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