The Clink of the Dish, the Bark of the Dog; Interviewing from Home 

job seekers contractors interviews preparation video call-phone

Working from home definitely has its advantages. To break the cycle of phone meetings, emails, and the occasional heads-down work, dishwashers can be unloaded, dogs can be walked and gas can be pumped. The line between home and office has never been more blurred as “flexibility” has become the mantra of corporate America.

But the line is still there, and if asked to speak with a recruiter or a hiring manager for a new role, efforts should be redoubled to eliminate background noise and distractions for both you and the caller.

Everyone conducts daily business over the phone; outside of the office, it is easy to believe that multitasking makes us more efficient and productive. But there are limits. If the goal is to convey credibility to the person on the other end of the line, then the ‘beep’ of the gas pump and the roar of near-by traffic could leave your caller wondering.

Common sense alert! This is particularly important when speaking with recruiters and hiring managers. If you have tossed your name into the ring to be considered for a new opportunity, know this: every related phone conversation is important. Your interviewer might not actually say, “this is an interview.” He or she could say something like:

“I was wondering if we could discuss this opportunity with Company X?”

What this really means is, I would like to interview you and you will be evaluated.

Or something like:

“Hey, could we find a few minutes for me to tell you about Job Y?”

What this really means is, I am going to interview you and you will be evaluated.

When initally contacted, most prospective candidates are not expecting a recruiter’s call. Once on the line, curiosity kicks in and the prospect wants to know more about the opportunity, too often if while driving, pumping gas or unloading the dishwasher. The call starts with the recruiter casually telling, but at some point may change to the recruiter asking questions. If so, the interview has begun, and background noise is not helpful. More can be heard than you may believe – much more.

If caught by a recruiter off guard, it’s entirely appropriate to say something like this: “Hey, thanks for the call – I would be very interested in hearing more, but right now I am [pick one: a) driving my car, b) walking the dog or c) having carpet installed in my home]. Could we schedule a time soon when I can fully focus on what you have to say, and you won’t have to listen to background noise?”

Confronting the possibility of distractions head-on would be music to your caller’s ears.

Speaking with recruiters and hiring managers in a noise-free zone conveys respect to interviewers at all times, even if the call doesn’t seem like an interview. Ensuring that your surroundings will stay controlled and quiet for the duration will help you to focus and put your best foot forward. Questions about judgment, personal organization and professionalism will not crop up in the mind of the caller.

Even though you may be talking on the phone, you are really sitting across the desk… virtually.