By Melanie Szlucha, contributing writer from Redinc, LLC
To the uninitiated, phone interviews might seem a little odd. You may be thinking, "What kind of impression can I possibly make just by talking to the HR Director or hiring manager over the phone? Don't they need to SEE me in order to conduct an interview?"
The truth is that they don't. Seeing you takes time. Taking you around the facility, talking to you for at least an obligatory half-hour, and then walking you out all takes time. These days, people in health care facilities don't have time to spend on candidates who look good on paper, but can't carry on a conversation. Many health care employers will first screen their top candidates in a brief phone interview to determine if scheduling an in-person interview at the facility is warranted.
So here are some tips for health care professionals on what a prospective employer is looking for in that phone screen.
1. Be focused. Never, never, ever take a phone interview when you are doing something else, or when there is anything going on in the background of the call. If you were in the hiring manager's office you would be focused and attentive to every word that they said. It should be the same way when you're in a phone interview. Eliminate every single distraction (or as many as possible). If you don't, an interviewer will hear it and assume that you're not really interested in the position. If you end up taking an interview and cannot get to a quiet place (i.e. taking it on your cell phone at your lunch hour), tell them that so they know that you recognize the problem, but can't do anything about it.
2. Be friendly. Keep in mind that your entire personality is now being judged by the sound of your voice and responses. Working in a health care environment demands strong people skills. Being friendly during an interview will demonstrate to a potential employer that you have the personality to engage with patients and colleagues. You may think that you're being professional by not laughing at the hiring manager's polite jokes, but you may be coming across as impersonal. The best advice for phone interviews has always been to keep a smile on your face throughout the call. Concentrate on being friendly.
3. Be mindful of how you speak. Because you're being judged completely on your voice and grammar in a phone interview, you need to watch your language. Employers are seeking candidates who are able to speak clearly and concisely because communication is an important aspect of any health care position. Start TODAY to eliminate those verbal crutches such as the ums, ahs and likes from your vocabulary. I assure you, when all that a phone interviewer has to judge you on is your questionable grammar coming through the earpiece, they'll pass you by for another job candidate who is more polished and is verbally stronger during the phone interview process.
About the Author
Melanie Szlucha has been a hiring manager for over 15 years, and a career coach for 6+ years through her company Redinc, LLC.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.