Phone 101: When An Employer Calls

Have you ever spoken to someone on the phone for the first time and created a mental image of what that person is like? This mental imagery is doubly important when dealing with employers while applying for a job.

As a recruiter in the fields of engineering, architecture, manufacturing, and construction, not a single day passes that we don’t make assumptions about candidates when working with them over the phone. Have you ever stopped to think about the impressions you are creating based on your phone conversations?

Put Yourself in the Chair of the Employer
How would you like to be perceived? Do the words professional, positive, and good communicator come to mind? What are the chances that the employer offering the job you’d love to have are thinking the complete opposite.

Do you have a voice mail that’s more geared toward your drinking buddies? Do you speak in a rapid fire way? It might be wise to ask a neutral party how they describe you on the phone.

Speaking from the standpoint of someone who tries to coordinate interviews between candidates and employers, we do have some pet peeves. First and foremost is the candidate who makes themselves very hard to get ahold of. In this day of cell phones, emails, and text messaging, it’s frustrating when you’re trying to help a candidate and they respond by playing hard to get.

A courtesy phone call explaining that you are dealing with some important issues and you’ll get back to the employer or recruiter soon goes a long way toward keeping future relationships golden. The world gets pretty small, especially in certain industries. Think of your phone presence as a way of building a personal reference of how you’re regarded by people in your industry.

Phone Interview Persona
Phone presence is especially important during a phone interview. More and more Hiring Managers and Human Resource personnel are maximizing their time by conducting preliminary phone interviews to weed out questionable candidates. Those candidates who are prepared, positive, and personable often make the grade for a face-to-face interview. Excellent communication skills are essential in most professional positions and a value-added dimension for others. A mediocre phone experience can be a deal breaker in many positions.

The saying, “You only get one chance to make a first impression” certainly holds true when it comes to how you present yourself on the phone. The next time your phone rings, respond with the idea that the person on the other end is important. Make them feel that way and you’ll build a legion of supporters.

Tim Cotroneo

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