The Phone Interview: How Not To Mess It Up!

Always be ready to answer the recruiter's call

The Phone Interview: How Not To Mess It Up!

Answering a recruiter's call

By Amanda Frank
Monster Contributing Writer

The job hunter’s job doesn’t end in a blitz of resumes. You’re technically on call for the next few months it takes to find a job. Condition yourself to think that any incoming call could be a recruiter wanting to schedule an interview or conduct a quick one on the spot. Be prepared to put aside whatever it is you’re doing and focus on your conversation. Stay clear on your objective, which is to secure a face-to-face interview and make it through the next round of elimination.
Answering Calls at Home

Don’t get too cocky about your home field advantage. Talking to a recruiter in the familiar surrounding of your house can be a wonderful salve for the nerves, just don’t get so comfortable you overlook proper telephone etiquette i.e. no inhaling, ingesting or eliminating. Since you can’t bat your eyelashes over the phone you’re going to have to charm them with your mind. Turn off the TV and pay extra close attention to the call.

Designate a quiet uncluttered place that you can sit upright, think clearly and take notes. Keep a pen, notepad and printed copy of your resume on hand. Ideally pick a spot with Internet access so you can jump online during the call to check out the company website. Think of it like professional staging, keeping a space in your house perpetually spotless for unannounced recruiter visits.

Ask for Contact Information Again

Don’t trust your brain. Spare yourself the torture of trying to remember if her name was Ann-Marie, Annabelle or Anne of Green Gables.

Ask for her name, even if you feel silly because she told it to you when she introduced herself. Ask her to spell it. Take note of the company and recruiter firm.
As you’ve noticed most cell phones today double as address books, input the contact information and then purposefully press Save! You won’t be able to retrieve this information if you get distracted and accidentally discard it.

Clean Up Your Communication Tools

Follow suit for every communications tool a recruiter passes through to reach you.

Record a new voicemail greeting including your name so that recruiters know they’ve found the right person.

Set the ringtone on your cell phone to a traditional ringer or if you must opt for music go with something sophisticated.

All of a sudden my cell carrier started playing the song I set for my ringtone as my ringback tone, what the caller hears while waiting for the callee to pick-up. Please enjoy this music while you wait for your third-party to connect! Make sure what follows isn’t Rah rah ooh la la!

When to Let the Call go to Voicemail

Cell phones are famous for interruptions. A recruiter can catch you in line at the store, picking up your kid at school or scooping up after your dog. Besides the risk of a dropped call, you might not have a pen handy or a quiet environment in which to focus your attention. Let it go to voicemail.
  • If you’re in the bathroom let it go to voicemail.
  • If you’re driving let it go to voicemail.
  • If you’re in a mall or grocery store, let it go to voicemail; it might be too hard to find a quiet corner to ace the call and meet your next objective, which is getting closer to that interview.
Shield recruiters from the realities of your home life, particularly if World War Three is happening in your living room. Sometimes it’s impossible to control the noise levels of other people that live in your house. You can be Trump in the boardroom but the recruiter will only remember your screeching kid in the throws of a tantrum. Let it go to voicemail or ask to reschedule the call.