“Is this an okay time to chat?”
I often wonder how sincere this question is. I suppose it depends on on the asker and the situation. If someone calls you in the middle of the night to rehash their recent break-up yet again, then perhaps it is not a good time to chat. If you are driving with a cop behind you, not a good time to chat. If you kid calls you in tears, it’s a good time to chat. If you are face down on a bed holding on for dear life wondering if your time has come and an HR person calls you to discuss a potential job, it isn’t so black and white. You want to appear able to handle anything, reliable, to get through when the going gets tough and generally have strong fortitude.
But there is the danger of stringing the wrong words together, answering innocuous questions with gibberish, pronouncing simple words wrong and the inability to recognize if your answer resonated with the person you are talking to.
This happened to me on Wednesday, when a HR person called to discuss a position I had applied for weeks ago. She actually had called me the first time the day before and left a message. However, I had been at the hospital with my grandpa for pre-admittance to the hospital for his pacemaker replacement. It definitely was not a good time to chat, so I let it go to voice mail.
“Certainly, Fran, I am sorry not to have called you sooner. I am travelling and seem to be fighting a bit of illness this morning”
Yes, that is what I said. I thought it would be better to get this over with, clench down hard and get it done. But she hit me with the hard one right out of the gate – wanting to ensure our salary expectations met to she didn’t waste her or my time. At that point, I would have worked for Pepto Bismul and ASA, and but thankfully, I had answered this question several times before working with recruiters. I had a stock answer ready.
I stumbled a bit and had to correct myself, but got through it and strangely enough despite my weakened state she still wanted to bring me in for an interview – willing to wait until I got back.
February 29th Extra-Ordinary Event: Getting an interview for CSR/Materials Manager despite being below par.