Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Phone interview tips - when you miss the contact

Phone interview etiquette When You Miss the Contact 

If the hiring staff leaves a message for you, return the call as soon as you can. As you are returning the call, remember that the recruiter may have called 10 other people that day about the same or a different position. When you return the call, give your full first name and last name and indicate that you are returning the recruiter’s call regarding the xxx position.  If the message was left for you at 1 pm, and you didn’t get it until you returned home at 7:30, call and leave a voice mail then. In this  circumstance, voice mail is your friend. Again, give your full first name, last name, specific position and your contact information for the next  business day. Caution! Be prepared in case the recruiter is still there at 7:30 and wants to do a phone interview right then!

When You’re There for the Contact
The moment comes! The phone rings, and you are there to answer! Our standard recruiting rap goes something like this “Hi Aurora, this is  Bridget calling from the New England Aquarium in Boston. I’m calling regarding our water quality position and would like to spend about 10  minutes on the phone with you asking some preliminary questions. Is this a good time to talk, or could I arrange a time to call you back?”
Many interviewers like to make sure that interviewing now is convenient for the candidate. Most recruiting professionals will give candidates  this courtesy, particularly when calling a candidate at her current place of employment.

Where there is less universal agreement among recruiters, however, is your answer. Many recruiters want you to talk to them when they call, and may not want to call again later. They may have only one or two clarifying questions that would take just a few minutes. Or they may want  to do the full 10-60 minute phone interview with you, and they want to have you do it extemporaneously. Other recruiters want the candidate to feel composed and settled and have a quiet place to talk and think, and may not mind making a later appointment. If you are good on the phone and quick on your feet, you may want to go ahead with the interview. If you are in the middle of something, running out the door, or  can’t remember what the job is, it may be best to suggest an alternate time. A good way phrase is “I’m so happy you called. I have about 10 minutes before I have to run out the door. Is that enough time, or can I call you back later this afternoon?” This way, you are expressing your interest, being clear about the time you have, and suggesting a time to connect later.

While you are talking, make sure that your cordless phone battery is not about to run out, that your roommate is not about to run the vacuum,  and that you will be able to concentrate. It may help to have your notes and resume in front of you, and to have a pen in your hand to take  notes. If the entire hiring committee is on the other end in a conference call, you will want to write down each person’s name/role down so  that you can refer to it later.

It’s important that you are clear about whether or not you can hear the interviewer clearly. Don’t say, "can you speak up?" Do say "I’m having  trouble hearing you. Can you hear me clearly?" The latter is slightly less confrontational and clarifies whether the connection between you is bad or if the problem is on the recruiter’s end. 

As with any interview, be prepared to ask questions at the end. You want to have the recruiter(s) hang up with a good impression of your  interest in the company.

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