The Hiring Process
Iâ€™ve had a number of phone interviews, but I never seem to progress beyond that. I know the whole point of the phone interview is to get through it and obtain the more intensive interview at the companyâ€™s location. I do my research, I apply for jobs for which I am well-qualified, and I think my answers are pretty good; but here I am, not only without a job, but without even interviews. What can I do?
Itâ€™s hard to say without having eavesdropped on your phone interviews. However, one thing you might not have thought about is this: how are your speaking skills?
Many people have bad speaking habits, and arenâ€™t even aware of them. Do you say â€œumâ€ or â€œerâ€ a lot? Or do you have some other verbal tic that perhaps you take for granted, that drives all your listeners crazy? Some people end every sentence with â€œyou knowâ€ or â€œâ€¦ and all that.â€ Some giggle when they are nervous (as anyone would be during a phone interview.) Some begin every statement with â€œum,â€ as in â€œUm, my name isâ€¦.â€
One way to deal with this is to listen to yourself. Just being aware of it will help. Another option is to look up that friend who will tell you the truth you donâ€™t want to hear. Ask him or her to be ruthless; you need to know the facts about this, for the sake of your job search. Yet another choice is to record yourself doing a mock interview, perhaps with your ruthless friend. This will clue you in to other potential problems too (e.g., do you speak too fast? Do you speak clearly? Do you take long pauses to think before you answer? Do you use a high-pitched voice when youâ€™re nervous?)
You could also schedule a mock phone interview with a Frederick County Workforce Services Board member. The staff member at the Resource Desk can work with you on this.
A longer-term way to improve your speaking is to take a public speaking class, perhaps at Frederick Community College; or join Toastmasters, a club that teaches you to speak in public properly. Toastmasters will give you feedback, kindly but honestly, on many ways you can improve the way you talk. You can find more information on Toastmasters, including the locations of clubs near you, at www.Toastmasters.org
Keep in mind that the phone interviewer has only one way to evaluate you: your phone presence. Your words are important, but if other factors get in the way, you probably wonâ€™t advance in the interview process. Itâ€™s bad enough not to get a job you want for lack of qualifications, or because youâ€™re not the best candidate. To miss out because of something small that you can control is just a pity.
Good luck with your next phone interview!