Anxious. Concerned. Annoyed. “Hey guys, I think I see a parking space!” “Where!? Where!?” “Over there… Ugh, motorcycle.” Thirty minutes later, still no parking spot is to be found.
Ring ring. Frantically, I begin searching my bottomless pit of a purse. Ring ring. “A SPOT!!! AN ACTUAL PARKING SPOT!!!” – “Hello, this is Lauren Switzer.” – “PULL OVER! PULL OVER! WE NEED THAT SPOT!” – I look at my friends with a panic stricken look: it was a potential employer. – “WE HAVE TO GET THAT SPOT!” – “Yes, this is a good time to talk. I’m so sorry for the background noise.” – “HEY GUYS, LAUREN IS TALKING TO HER BOSS. SHUT UP!” – Thanks, Siobhan. “Yes, I am still very interested in the internship. Oh no, really, now is a perfectly fine time to talk.” – “I can’t believe we got that spot (quiet shouts of joy continue).” – “My availability… I am available all day Wednesdays and Fridays… Great… Great. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”
A scenario worthy of a blog title reminiscent of that of a horror film? Indeed. I was absolutely convinced I would never work for that company. Luckily, through persistence and a profuse amount of apologies, I still got the job. On my first day, Tracey, the hiring manager who I spoke to on the phone that dreadful day in the parking lot, asked to speak to me in the conference room. Terrified, I did as she asked. She was incredibly kind and asked if she could give me some advice for the next time an employer calls.
- Tip Number 1: It’s OK to say: “I’m sorry. Right now is not a good time to speak. May I please call you back?” In fact, in my case, it would have been much better had I said that rather than trying to speak over the shouts of my friends.
- Tip Number 2: If a potential employer catches you in a bad situation, let your phone go to voicemail. You can always call back.
- Tip Number 3: You can always ask, “May I please have a minute to situate myself?” Susan gave me so many opportunities during our initial phone call to do just that because she knew I was in a situation that was not conducive to having a phone conversation. Do not hesitate to take a moment to collect yourself (and your friends too, if need be).
- Tip Number 4: One bad phone call is not the end-all. If you find you do not feel like you represented yourself properly on the phone, be sure to send a follow-up e-mail with an apology, an explanation and why you still believe you deserve the job.
Hopefully, these tips will help you know exactly what to do the next time an employer calls. (Originally posted here)
A few more tips for phone interviews you may have in the future:
- Tip Number 1: Be sure to do your homework before taking the phone call. Know the ins and outs of the company you are interviewing with prior to hitting that little green button on your cell.
- Tip Number 2: Display enthusiasm about 1) the position you are speaking to them about and 2) public relations in general. Hiring managers want to know you are excited about the position and about public relations.
- Tip Number 3: Make sure you keep your schedule open. If an interview is going well, it may go on for over an hour, so have that time slot reserved for the interview.
I hope these tips also help you the next time an employer calls…