When I was first in sales, my boss insisted that I begin each phone call to a client or a prospect with the following words, "Am I calling at a bad time or do you have a few minutes?"
It was good advice. Apparently not everyone got the memo.
Last week I had two different job seekers tell me they were ambushed by human resources calling without an appointment to conduct a telephone interview.
Ambushed is my word. I think it's fair.
Today's job seekers are sensitive to the job market and will do anything to accommodate an interviewer. Does everyone think that's a fair statement?
One of the job seekers had her two young children with her and tried to answer the interviewer's questions, but her focus was shot by both the unannounced intrusion and her need to look after the kids.
In my opinion, this particular episode was the rudest of the two. Not only because children were audible in the background, but this was no brief fact-finding mission on the part of HR. During this interview, the job seeker was asked where she saw herself in five years. In frustration, she answered, "Looking for another job."
I say good for her. Human Resources should know better. They may think they are getting a good idea of how a person reacts in a pressure situation, but I call it what it is: bad manners.
If you are trapped into a telephone interview with no warning, be assured that you can tell the interviewer it isn't possible to speak freely and you will have to talk to them at another time. Ask them to schedule a time.
If they refuse or never call you back, you may have spared yourself working at a company that doesn't get it or doesn't care.