Job Interview Phone Etiquette

 As a recent college graduate, I began my job search in the “real world” a little bit clueless.  I had been on interviews for jobs before, even internships, but I wasn’t prepared for one part of the hiring process: phone interviews. I never realized the impact of phone interviews until I was on the recruiting end of the equation. A bad phone interview can prevent a qualified candidate from getting an in person interview!

Here are a few phone etiquette tips that will help you succeed on the phone and help land you an in person interview:

Be confident
A friend who I’ll keep anonymous (we’ll call him Joe) works for a major national company. He had just been given a stack of resumes for a coveted sales position in his company. He was given the “daunting task” of calling candidates who had been selected from their submittal on Monster. He had spoken to a candidate who had a decent sales background, and who would have been a great fit for the position. However, throughout the entire phone interview, whenever my friend Joe asked him about his confidence in his abilities, he answered with, “sure.” Even though Joe liked this candidate’s resume, he couldn’t tackle the idea that someone would be so informal and lack confidence on a phone interview. The candidate did not receive another phone call and Joe hired another candidate instead, who created a confident presence.

Be careful about fillers
I personally had a quirk that I did not realize until I worked at my internship 2 summers ago. I was working with a local company, speaking to business owners about a Business Directory. When I received my internship, my mom informed me how often I use the word “um.” She suggested I keep a tally for an hour of how many times I use the word “um” as filler on my phone calls. Though I don’t still have the tally, I know it was around 20-30 “um’s” an hour! Realizing this made me sound unsure of something I was confident in selling, I made a conscious effort to reduce the amount I use “um.”  I try and catch myself every time I use it! 

Be respectful
This should seem like a given, but I have spoken to candidates on the phone who have made disrespectful remarks. Remember that the interviewer, recruiter, or hiring professional on the other line has a good reason for asking you questions, we want to get to know you and your skill set better! Even if you don’t think it’s necessary to answer a question, please do so tactfully and respectfully. 

Phone messages
Make sure when you are leaving a message, you keep it brief! A name, number, and possible job reference (if necessary) is all you need. Naming your skills will not guarantee you a call for a position. If your resume is a fit, we’ll call and you can tell all us about it then! 

If you are looking for a new position (and have good phone etiquette) contact Sarah at solivet@cpsprofessionals.com.

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2 Responses to Job Interview Phone Etiquette

  1. Security Integrations October 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    Great post that shares some excellent tips that job seekers can use during phone interviews. Sounds like the takeaway is that it’s good idea for job seekers to remember that a phone interview is an interview, so it’s in their best interests treat it as such and try to remain as professional and poised as possible – just as they would during standard interviews.

    • syracusejobs October 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

      thanks for you input…we always try to tell job seekers that a phone interview IS an interview!

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