Sprechen Sie Telephone?

Fellow recruiting professional James Kimbrough, a Senior Engineering Recruiter with Calsonic Kansei North America, has shared this item from USA Today on how to make a good impression in phone interviews in an online discussion group of the German American Chamber of Commerce (AHK).

A good idea to post it for our audience, I think.. Not so much because of the crying children and barking dogs in the background (as mentioned in the USA Today story), but because it also reminds us of a job search and phone interview aspect – in our particular niche – that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle:

namely: that culturally, many job applicants with a German background in the U.S. frequently have not had the opportunity to develop a “phone personality”, even those who come from affluent, well-educated households.

Of course, there are exceptions. Yet, at least in my personal experience, it is much more common in many American households and schools that parents and teachers / career counselors help their kids and students in “refining” their phone personality – how they come across over the wire(less), and put their best foot forward, in a socially/culturally compatible manner. In addition, there are many books for job seekers in the U.S. where this topic is addressed.

Not so in Germany, and it sometimes shows within the first 30 seconds when an American recruiter comes calling. I sometimes cringe, because such candidates are automatically at a disadvantage, without even knowing it. And it’s so easy to fix.

Ah, I hear the “typical German” comeback: “Well, my tremendous achievements / qualifications should be what counts here, right?” Well, in most positions that require a certain degree of education and qualification, phone contact with partners / customers / (inhouse) clients is practically “built in”. Modern employers are very conscious that all employees, in one way or the other, are the face of their company.

Which usually means that Paul Maulfaul, or Sabine Schnippisch-Schnitte, has lost this round already…