Job candidates not taking telephone interviews seriously, reveal recruiters

More job candidates are being subject to telephone interviews as employers seek to save recruitment costs, reveals new research.  But the telephone manner of some job hopefuls is proving to be a turn-off.  Workingmums.co.uk looks at ways to keep an employer hanging on for more, not hanging up.

More job candidates are being subject to telephone interviews as employers seek to save recruitment costs, reveals new research.  But the telephone manner of some job hopefuls is proving to be a turn-off.  Workingmums.co.uk looks at ways to keep an employer hanging on for more, not hanging up.

Candidates who fall at the first hurdle
The slow economic climate has resulted in nearly half of all HR professionals (43%) interviewing more candidates by phone than ever before, according to a poll carried out by Post Office Homephone in conjunction with HR website Changeboard.
But job seekers are falling at the first hurdle – and this can make the difference between acceptance and rejection.   Candidates who don’t prepare properly for their interview would put off one third of recruiters,  the survey shows. And having a poor telephone manner would stop nearly a fifth (19%) of recruiters offering a job to the person on the other end.
Rob Willock, chief operating officer of Changeboard, said: ”Faced with a huge pile of CVs from equally qualified candidates, recruiters need a way of weeding out the weaker applicants.  The research shows that 90% of recruiters use telephone interviews for the initial screening process, so first impressions count even more than normal.  The employer might not be able to see you but they’ll be hanging on every word you say.  Don’t give them a chance to reject you by performing poorly on the telephone.”
The poll also revealed background noise interference during a phone interview would put off more than a quarter (26%) of employers, while the phone cutting out would seriously annoy 11%.

Interviewees
Anecdotal stories from the HR profession reveal a shocking level of complacency among candidates during telephone interviews.  Employers have come across job seekers who:
* Were clearly drunk on the telephone at the time of the interview
* Using the toilet
* Having a bath
* Eating while on the phone
* Outside walking their dog
* Arguing with a family member
* Being pulled over by police for being on the phone while driving
Lee McQueen, former winner of The Apprentice and recruitment expert, said: ”It’s difficult to give anything your full attention if you’re doing something else at the same time, yet it’s apparent that candidates aren’t taking their interviews seriously enough.  They wouldn’t turn up to an interview dressed in a bobble hat and trainers, and the same kind of consideration needs to be given when speaking to potential employers over the phone.  It’s all about selling yourself and making an impression in the first two minutes.  One key tip is to take the phone call in a quiet room on a landline so you can be confident that it won’t cut out.  The lack of distractions and quality line will ensure a more professional interview too.”

How to get the job
Nine out of 10 HR professionals believe candidates need to prepare as thoroughly for a telephone interview as they would need to for a face-to-face interview.
As part of their interview preparation, nearly half (46%) of recruiters say candidates should call from a landline to minimise the chance of interference or a lost connection, while 82% emphasised the importance of finding a quiet place from which to take the call.
The fact that 10% of recruiters would dismiss a candidate if the telephone cuts out reinforces the need to put as much thought as possible into the environment from which to make the call – this should be an integral part of interview preparation.
”Telephone interviews are often the first real opportunity that candidates get to shine in front of a prospective employer,” said Hugh Stacey, head of Post Office HomePhone. ”From our research it’s clear that if you fail to impress at this stage, then it is likely that your application is over before it’s started.”





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