Over the last few years there has been a lot of development in video chatting. More companies are rolling out programs that will allow you to call friends through your computer and see each other’s faces. This concept has also been applied to many conferences within businesses as well.
So why has it never filtered into the Human Resources departments or IT recruiting companies? For a hiring manager it could be a good way to gauge the personality and professionalism of a prospective candidate rather than just listen to them over the phone. Listening to someone’s voice is a lot different from just seeing the person body movements and facial expressions. Those are very important to understanding the prospective IT job candidate better.
From an IT recruiters’ perspective this can also go horribly wrong. First, their internet connection could be weak and cause a lot of freezing during the interview. A hiring manager would find this annoying especially if you will need to reconnect with them every so often. In addition, the candidate would need to tidy up the location where they are planning on interviewing. Most importantly, there can be many interruptions. Unlike being on the phone, the hiring manager will be able to see or notice interruptions from your body language and facial expressions.
The main difference with a phone interview and video chatting is that you need to sign on in order to video chat. A candidate could just not sign on due to forgetting about the interview. With a phone interview you can call them and either speak to them or leave a message. Either way, you can contact them regardless of whether you have a strong signal or not.
There are many things that are left to chance with video chatting that can cause the candidate to lose the IT job or the hiring manager to become fed up with the candidate. This could cost IT staffing companies placements or candidates themselves could miss out on a golden opportunity.
IT recruiters understand that hiring managers are typically very busy and do not want to commit to a face-to-face interview unless he or she knows the candidate is a solid prospective candidate. Especially in the information technology industry, where resumes often list a plethora of technologies, it typically takes some digging to find out if the candidate truly has an in-depth understanding of each. Therefore, many IT recruitment companies are pushing clients to begin the IT job interview process with a phone interview. As professionals become more and more busy in the work forces, this is becoming a popular first step with any IT job hiring process.
There are some drawbacks with phone interviews. For one, obviously there is no face-to-face interaction. The hiring manger is not able to gauge a person’s reaction to comments or questions. Additionally, they cannot analyze a person’s professionalism (dress, etc). Finally, it adds another layer to a potential lengthy hiring process.
However, overall, IT recruiting firms are finding that clients are moving in this direction and prefer starting with phone screens versus personal IT job interviews. Therefore, our IT recruiters have come up with a list of tips for candidates starting the interview process with a phone screen:
- Research the company thoroughly. Make sure you understand what they do, write down any questions that you might have. Print out the job description and study it thoroughly so you understand what they’re looking for.
- Look the IT manager’s profile up on Linkedin so you have some insight into his or her background.
- Be polite, talk slowly (but not obnoxiously so) and clearly.
- Call the manager by his or her full name unless they tell you otherwise (don’t assume they go by Mike” if their name is “Michael”).
- Try to take the call from a landline. Even in today’s cellular era, mobile phones can be unreliable. IT recruiters or hiring managers could become frustrated if there are static, delays or dropped calls. This could have an impact on whether you move to the next phase of the IT job interview process.
- Print your resume. Make sure to keep your resume near you on print or on your computer screen. If you choose to use your computer, make sure to shut down any programs such as AIM or Facebook so as not to distract you from the conversation.
- Take notes. IT recruiters always recommend you write everything down so nothing is forgotten. If you pass the phone screen, they are very likely to ask you similar questions or comment on some of the answers you gave.
- Sell yourself. Explain why you are the right fit for this role.
- End the conversation with an inquiry about next steps. IT recruiters always recommend that you find out a timeline in which you’ll hear back, or whether there is a time in which you can follow up directly.
- Send a brief “Thank You” email to the manager for his or her time. Reiterate your interest in the IT job.
Phone screens are important to keeping you in the game when hiring managers are narrowing down on candidates for IT jobs. If you still feel uncomfortable with phone interviews, give one of our IT recruiters a call.