I personally think you should always, always use a landline. The sound quality of the conversation is better, there’s no risk of dropping the call, and there’s never any questions like, “Can you hear me now?” This is such an important conversation that anything at all you can do to reduce the risk of a problem is a very good idea.
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However, lots of people don’t even have landlines these days, and they will be using a cell phone no matter how I feel about it. If that’s you, I have some suggestions to make sure you have a good call. And then I’ve got a few more tips, no matter what phone you use.
Cell phone rules:
(1) Make sure your cell phone has a good signal on the day of your call. Call a friend before your interview starts so you can see if all the cell phone signals are bouncing around and connecting like they’re supposed to. Bad reception will ruin your call.
(2) Make sure your cell phone battery is charged. You can prepare to an extreme degree for your interview, and have every single detail organized and dealt with….and if your phone dies while you’re on the phone, the interviewer will assume you are a completely unorganized, unprepared idiot.
General phone rules:
(1) Never, ever put them on speakerphone. It doesn’t matter how good your phone is, a speakerphone always makes it sound at least a little bit like you’re trapped in a well. When they figure it out, they will be offended. What else could you be doing that’s more important than this call? Nothing.
(2) If you must go hands-free, then use a good-quality headset. These can actually be great if you like to walk around the room while you talk and gesture with your hands, a la Jerry McGuire. It’s also great for making it much easier to take notes during your conversation.
(3) Turn off Call-Waiting. It goes without saying that you should never answer another call while you’re on a phone interview, but it’s even better to remove the possibility that the noise of someone trying to contact you will interrupt your conversation. It will be an annoying, unwelcome disruption.
It’s worth it to do whatever you have to do in order to ensure a smooth, interruption-free telephone interview. This conversation is the most important thing you’re doing that day. The extra effort will be worth it.
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