Phone Interview Etiquette

Phone interviews are very common today as an integral part of the application process. They are time savers and help narrow down candidates to those you would like to meet. As the first round of the hiring process, it would make sense to prepare for it as much as you would a face-to-face interview. Be prepared to make a good impression to secure that second visit. You’ll want to showcase your knowledge of the company and the position you’re applying for, your strengths, and the skills you bring to the table as much as possible.

Human resources professionals have shared their most annoying pet peeves and provided guidance as to how to come across in a positive way. Surprisingly, it’s not all that hard; here are key points to keep in mind.

Avoid Background Noise and Find a Quiet Place

This may seem obvious, but many interviewers have expressed it’s very common to hear everything from barking dogs to screaming kids as they try to conduct the interview. Plan ahead for your call and secure a quiet location for the few minutes it will take. Even your garaged car can be sufficient sanctuary to ensure the call goes well. Wherever you take the call, the more prepared and organized you appear, the better. You’ll have a larger margin of success if you’re able to dedicate a few quiet moments to focusing on the person on the other end of the phone.

Keep Discussing Your Personal Life to a Minimum

If you’re asked a direct question about your outside activities, by all means, answer. The objective of the call is to determine if you’re a fit with their company culture and the role they’re filling. If possible, relate your response to your professional life. For instance, while your five year plan may include marriage and a new home, it doesn’t really relate to their business.

Multitasking is a Mistake

Recruiters can easily tell when your attention is elsewhere so resist any urge you may have to multitask. Washing dishes, microwaving lunch, or letting the dog out can wait a few minutes. Hearing a tell tale flush in the background may not reflect the level of interest they’re looking for.

Don’t Talk Money Just Yet

A phone interview isn’t the time to bring up salary questions. You’re in the earliest stages of the application process and you shouldn’t be the one to broach the subject. Trust that, if you’re the right candidate, the hiring management team will clear up any of your questions further on.

Never, Never Place them on Hold

The interview won’t take that long and most things can wait the few minutes. Your interview should be your important call. If there is something you feel may interrupt your conversation, then let the interviewer know at the onset and they can decide whether they would rather reschedule or accept the potential interruption.

Do the Q&A

At the end of any phone interview, the recruiter will usually ask the candidate if there are any questions. It’s very important you don’t skip this step. Always ask questions. It’ll reflect your interest in the position and wrap the call on a positive note.

Don’t Be Late

You should never need to be late to a phone interview, however about a quarter of scheduled calls don’t start on time. It can make you seem like someone who isn’t detail-oriented and be a mark against you before barely even getting started. If you’re asked to call rather than to be called, then be sure to place that call at the appointed time.

Don’t Assume Reception Is Good

If you use a headset or a cell phone, ensure you’re getting good reception before the call gets started. There’s nothing more frustrating for a recruiter than to keep having to repeat questions or request clarification of a response because of static or fading signals. It destroys the rhythm of the conversation and colors their impression of you.

Talking Over The Interviewer is a No-No

As eager as you may be to join their company, keep your enthusiasm in check and present yourself professionally. Interruptions make the conversation awkward and are rude whether on the phone or face-to-face, raising the stress level and ruining an otherwise productive interview. Let the interviewer finish the question and consider your answer before responding. Be assertive rather than aggressive.

Don’t Use Filler Words

Try to be aware of your use of words like “um,” “uh,” and “like,” and eliminate them as much as possible. Especially when on the phone, these words can sneak in while you’re thinking. At least in person there are other distractions offered with your physical presence. On the phone their only impressions come from how you present yourself in the interview.

Do Your Research

Don’t plan to use on the fly research during your interview. The recruiter can tell when you’re pausing to search for intelligent responses. It’s worth the time and effort to do a bit of research on the company or position your applying for ahead of time. Besides, they can hear you typing.

No Long-Winded Answers

Be clear and concise in your answers, it’s the key to a successful interview. Don’t let your potential employer become disinterested in your responses. Attention spans are shorter over the phone so practice answering the typical recruiter questions before hand. It’ll help keep the rambling in check.

For more information on your resume and finding the perfect job, contacting a professional staffing agency is always an effective option. And if you’re in IT and looking for work in Dallas-Fort Worth, Maxsys Solutions is one of the area’s exceptional IT Staffing Agencies.