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I’m Better in Person

I went to the doctor the other day for a mild ear infection. Despite the pain in my ear, I was still in a pretty good mood. I would even venture to say that I was charming. After the nurse took my blood pressure, she told me it was a little high.

“Uh-oh,” I said.

“It could be because of the cuff,” she said. “It’s a smaller one.”

We then walked about five steps to the room and she took my blood pressure with a bigger cuff. “Much better,” she said. “It must’ve been the cuff.”

“Or maybe it was all the exercise I got walking to the room,” I quipped.

She laughed and walked out of the room to get the doctor. As I waited there, not a piece of reading material in sight, I let my mind wander and I began thinking about this blog, my job, job hunting, and the like. It occurred to me that the friendly, charming exchange I had just had with the nurse could only happen in person.

As a disclaimer, I’m terrible at telephone interviews. I’ve had a couple and I completely bombed them. I have kind of known why, but it really hit me when I talked to the nurse the other night. In person, I can be spontaneous and funny. I can take situations and find something clever or charming to say or do. On the telephone, it’s all about questions and answers. There’s no body language; we only talk with words.

I understand why schools and hiring committees use telephone interviews: to narrow down applicant pools, to get a feel for certain applicants, to quicken the hiring process, etc. I haven’t yet been on the hiring side of these interviews, but as a former interviewee, I can say that telephone interviews aren’t going to let you get to know me much at all; I barely talk on the phone to my family and friends. But in person, I smile and laugh and tell jokes. I can be myself, and I’m someone who is more likable in person.

Of course, maybe likability isn’t important at all, but I’ll save that for another post.

[Creative Commons-licensed photo by Flickr user _Max-B.]

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