Let’s face it, phone interviews can be awkward. You can’t see each other to read body language, gestures no unnoticed, and it can be difficult to pick up nuances in tone – all of which can be important in making a connection. 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.
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.
Join us next week for Tip #3 of our 5 part series on Phone Interviews. Next week’s tip will be for hiring managers on how to construct an effective phone interview.