This new interview trend is truly bizarre

So you applied for a job and have a phone interview scheduled. You’ve practiced your answers to popular interview questions like, “Tell me about a time when you faced a challenge at work and how you overcame it?” and, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Plus, you researched the company and its employees to the point where you feel like you already work there. Basically, you’re prepared AF.

When it finally comes time to chat over the phone, you dial the number expecting the hiring manager to answer. Instead, you’re served an automated voicemail system. You wonder if it’s a mistake, but it’s not. It’s actually the new and bizarre hiring trend that may be on the rise.

Automated Voicemail Job Interviews

The Wall Street Journal first reported on this new interview trend in November 2018, but with a competitive job market and low unemployment rate of just 3.9 percent, we’re thinking it could become more popular among human resources departments over the next year.

Jobs website Indeed already facilitates automated phone screenings for companies. According to Indeed’s explainer, job candidates will receive a phone number, a passcode and an expiration date in the body of an email (most likely one week). Candidates have two minutes to answer a series of four screening questions during the automated job interview.

While this process is a quick and efficient way to narrow down a large pool of candidates, reducing the manpower needed to conduct the interviews, it comes with the possibility of technical difficulties. What if the automated voice system isn’t easy to understand? And if candidates don’t have the best connection, they may miss out on moving to the next round. Plus, with just a few minutes to answer each question, there’s no room for error or delays in responses.

How To Reach Round Two

Nervous you’ll end up bombing the automated interview? Don’t sweat it. You can reach round two of that job interview with these tips and tricks:

  • Use a landline. Yes, they still exist. A landline offers a more stable connection for that phone call. Don’t have one at home? Ask a relative if you can make the call from their place.
  • Write down your answers and practice. The questions will most likely be pretty standard interview questions. Write down your answers so you know exactly what you’re going to say and then practice reading them out loud in advance.
  • Time yourself. While practicing your answers, time yourself. You’ll want to condense your responses to two minutes or less in case there’s a time limit.
  • Follow up. Just because you’re speaking to an automated system doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send a follow-up thank-you note to the hiring manager. Shoot them an email as soon the call is done so that they know you’ve completed it. Consider sharing your answers or expanding on an idea you may have had during the phone call.

Automated voicemail job interviews may be the new trend, but they’re not much different after all. Let’s be real — job interviews are nerve-wracking no matter how they’re conducted. So stay calm, be prepared and keep your head up. You’ll land your dream job before you know it.

This article was originally published on Swirled.