Phone Etiquette: Treat a phone call like a real interview

Today we’ll talk about phone etiquette. In today’s day and age, everything is communicated either via texting or over the phone. Especially with phones, we can reach out to each other very quickly. A lot of firms before even starting an in-person, usually do the phone interview first. It eliminates the issue of allocation of physical time in the office, driving in, meeting etc. And it addresses a lot of important factors such as verbal communication and presentation, articulation on the phone, which could be important qualities for the position. 


Why is phone etiquette important?

Phone etiquette is critical because what happens with the phone interview is that the people get very relaxed. When you go to an actual interview, you’re prepared, focused and also a little nervous and obviously, you’ll be more cautious of your presentation and communication skills. With the phone interview, that goes out the window. You better not let that happen, because if you do, your prospects for that job will be null and void. You shouldn’t be chewing gum, drinking water or blowing your nose when you’re talking to somebody on the phone. 

I had a candidate speak to me on the phone and this person blew his nose not once, not twice, but three times. I was so turned off! It’s just common sense to not do this – or at least put the phone on mute!! I know that I’m just the recruiter not the actual employer and I’m here to help you secure that position, but if you’re talking to somebody on the phone and you need to blow your nose, then either hold off on it or as mentioned put the phone on mute. No one is going to notice that you did. Not being sensitive to this shows me you’re careless, sloppy and you’re not thinking clearly. That is not okay!


Respect the process

I’m here to tell you that the phone etiquette is very important so remember – don’t chew, don’t eat, don’t drink or blow your nose. If you have a bad cold, reschedule the call. Nobody wants to hear you coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose! If you’re that sick, you’re not going to be fully alert. Send an email and apologize for your cold and reschedule!  I once had someone chew an apple while speaking to me – as it was his lunch break. But come on! That was a big PASS.


Treat it like a real interview

Phone etiquette is treating the phone call like a professional meeting. That means you have to watch your verbal communication. What happens on the phone is that you forget that it’s a real interview or a real discussion that could help in your job prospects. Usually what happens is that you get lazy and start using phrases like “you know”, “like”, “whatever”. That is a no-no as well! Phone etiquette is not only about how you’re presenting, it’s also about your communication.


Dress to impress

When I prep candidates for a phone interview, I encourage them to be dressed. Don’t be in your pajamas or sweats – be dressed! Sit in front of a mirror to see yourself talking. It’s better when you see yourself because you can feel like in a real interview and sit straight and articulate better. It’s not the same when you’re laying back on the couch, petting your dog or even worse yet – driving. I’ve had a situation where an interview was conducted while the person was still driving. For some people, it might not be a big deal.  But it IS a big deal! If you’re doing a phone interview while driving somewhere, just pull over! Don’t take the call while you’re driving! The last thing you want is commenting on what is happening on the road accidentally. You need to be focused on the phone call and completely engaged in who you’re speaking with. Whether it’s the phone interview with the employer or with the recruiter. I once had a candidate tell me, “hold on – I am parking so just wait a minute…”  That was a total turn off for me.


Phone Etiquette: Treat a phone call like a real interview

Phone call with the recruiter is just as important

The recruiter is an extension of the employer as they have a reputation with the client. And the recruiter wants to be sure that the best-qualified professional is presented to the job opening. If you’re going to be slacking in your phone communication, the recruiter won’t be comfortable presenting you. Of course, it’s the recruiter’s duty to find a job for the job seekers, but there’s also a responsibility to present the right fit for the position. But if you’re going to be chewing food and drinking coffee during the phone call, that’s going to be a problem. The recruiters are very strict to that. You have to do your job! Most people do this right but every now and then there’s someone who is sneezing and sniffling. That is what repels the recruiter and employer.


Do your homework

Another important factor about a phone interview is that you have to have your Resume, a pen, paper and job description in front of you so that when you’re on the phone these things can remind you that you’re not talking to your mom or friend. You’re talking to your potential recruiter who can help you get a job or the potential firm’s HR manager. Treat the phone conversation as the real deal! Make it count! You get one chance to impress and get you foot in the door.


Be 110% prepared!

Don’t get lazy or comfortable! Don’t think it’s easy because it’s a phone call! It’s not easy! Prepare yourself and even if you’re in a car, turn the radio off, pull over and focus! Also, prepare some questions to ask and maybe open up their website in front of you. All the things when it comes to phone etiquette are very important. They can make or break an opportunity for you. Rather you get to the end of the interview and decide not to take the job than to be unsatisfied with the phone call.


Those are some of my thoughts on the phone etiquette and I hope they’ll make you rethink of your preparation for the phone interview with the recruiter, employer or the HR manager. Treat it like you’re in the conference room and it’s the real deal! Check out my website and get my eCourse “On Your Marks… Get Set… HIRED!” – It will change the way you look for a job FOREVER!

Good luck and I’ll see you next Monday!


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