Welcome to the Friday Forum!
Every Friday, we take a question submitted by one of our readers and have our professionals field it and provide advice. We then encourage members of the Need a New Gig community to comment below and give their take!
Here is This Week’s Question:
“I finally heard back from a company that I applied to and they want to schedule a phone interview. This is great news, but the only problem is that they want to talk during the work day which is somewhat difficult for me. I am going to try to schedule the call around my lunch hour, but where should I take the call? Is lunch time okay? I don’t want anyone to hear me on the phone or do something that would raise a red flag. I also want to try and accommodate the employer to give me a good shot at landing the job. What do you think?”
Having a phone interview during the work day is common practice when it comes to looking for a new job. Remember that employers typically work the same hours that you do. With that being said, employers are aware that you are currently working and they are usually willing to work around your schedule. So when and where should you take your call during the work day?
Lunchtime tends to be the most popular time that candidates try to schedule phone interviews. This is because it is easy to step away without raising any concerns. Most employees are allotted an hour lunch, so it gives you plenty of time to step out, grab a quick bite, find somewhere quiet, and take the call.
First Thing in the Morning
If you have a jammed day and do not have a set lunch time, first thing in the morning may be another good option. Depending on how early the employer is in the office, you may be able to schedule the call before you even arrive at work.
End of the Day
On the flip side, a call at the end of the day works nicely, too. Some employers may work a little later in order to interview around candidates’ schedules. You can try to schedule a call right after work, or even slip out a little early.
If you have a position that provides flexibility, you have the freedom to schedule the call when it fits your schedule. You can set up a time when you know you will have privacy, and a quiet place to take the call.
No matter when you schedule your call you want to ensure that you are in an quiet environment with no distractions. You want to be able to concentrate on the call, and not have any interruptions. If you have your phone interview during the work day, here are some options where you can take the call:
In Your Car
This is probably the best option in my opinion. It provides everything you need including privacy and a quiet environment. However, you do have to be careful. If someone sees you walking out to your car just to sit and take a call it could raise a red flag. My suggestion is to take a 2 minute drive to a nearby parking lot and take the call there.
Taking the call outside or at a park is another good spot where you can have your phone interview. It is common to see people take a walk at lunch, so this is a pretty safe route, as long as no one is around.
At a Coffee Shop/Restaurant
Sometimes going to a quiet coffee shop or restaurant can be a nice change of scenery to get you in the right mindset for your call. Just be sure that is not too loud, and that you do not have many distractions.
In Your Office With the Door Closed
If you have your own office and it is not suspicious to close your door for a call, then this is a possibility. I would make sure that no one can hear you, even with the door shut. I would also suggest taking the call on your personal cell phone to be safe.
Closed Door Conference Room
Some organizations have sound proof conference rooms that are intended to be used for important calls/meetings. If your current company has a similar set up, this could be another option.
Regardless of where you take the call, be sure to take note of your surroundings and give your interviewer a heads up. If you take a call outside, let them know that you apologize if there is any wind, as you are outside because it it tough to talk in the office. Same thing goes if you are in a noisy coffee shop, or driving in your car.
Finally, don’t forget the most important thing. Be prepared. Where and when you take that call doesn’t matter if you are not ready for it. Let us help. Check out How to Nail a Phone Interview.
What are Your Thoughts? Comment Below!
Dan Metz is the Director of Executive Search and Employee Development at the Resilience Group, LLC, and Co-Founder and Contributing Author for Need a New Gig. Follow his blog for more great tips like this!