Ready for that phone interview? Got the right tools?

Photo by Cedar Bend Drive

How critical is call clarity to you? We laugh at the Verizon commercial with the “Can you hear me now?” But with cell phones replacing landlines at a rapid pace, you really need to know that your calls are clear.

What if you are in the middle of the now very common first interview by phone and you suddenly lose the call? Yikes! Service is getting better but you need the right tools at the same time.

I don’t like using my cell phone without a headset. I need my hands-free. I paired my cell long ago with a Motorola headset. But sometimes it cut out or was fuzzy.

In April, I bought a Motorola Backflip and started a love-hate relationship. When I used the phone solo, touching the wrong part of the phone with my face ended my calls prematurely.

Then I lost my old headset. Truthfully, I never looked very hard to find it. It annoyed me and the negative call feedback was growing. What good is a tool if it doesn’t work for you, right?

On to my search for a new headset. I Googled, studied, asked on Twitter. Off to Best Buy, I found the model I thought I wanted but as I chatted with the sale rep, he showed me this Plantronics model.

A very different construction from my old headset. It has a “boom” look for the dual microphone and best, it has wind screens. Here’s the specs for my headset:

Plantronics Voyager PRO

The difference is clear with the dual-microphone AudioIQ2® noise- canceling technology of the Plantronics Voyager® PRO Bluetooth headset pushes the limits, minimizing distracting background sounds and providing clear calls.

I put it to the test. First, I used it in my office and around my house. All good. Then I called a friend and walked out in the yard in the wind, following Teddy around. She didn’t even know I went outside.

Next test wasn’t planned. My notably frugal friend, Mike, called while I was walking Teddy to the river. When his first comment was, “Oh, you are walking,” I sighed sure that the headset had failed the “Mike” test.

Mike and I used to do virtual walks together – he walked in his city and I walked in mine and we chatted on our phones until my old headset  picked up the slightest breeze and made conversation impossible.

Turned out he wanted me to check a phone number and had hoped to catch me near my computer. We chatted anyway and he said that he really couldn’t hear any wind and the clarity was amazing.

I hesitated to tell him that it cost $99 but when I fessed up, his response was: “Wow, it’s a great headset, good business decision, and you can deduct it!” Whew! Mike’s the one behind most of the tips in this post on Planning for the Unexpected so I was happy to hear his approval.

I now have choices in how I communicate, Skype or cell phone, and either way I can still have my hands free! Phones matter in a business and when you are trying to make a career change. As I talk with those in career transition, I find that the phone interview is often the starting point. Investing in quality tools can make the difference in whether you make a good first impression or not. What do you think?


  1. Jeri Hird Dutcher on September 15, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Julie, you’re absolutely on target about Plantronics. I have the Calisto bluetooth model, and I love it. Same longer boom and wonderful clarity. I do need a wind screen, though.

    I’ve had a good experience with their customer service department, too. I wore out one Calisto and talked with a rep to see what to replace it with. He saved me some money and I bought another Calisto.

    Nothing but praise here.

    • Julie Walraven on September 15, 2010 at 11:17 am

      Thanks, Jeri, sounds like I made a great choice. Now all I have to do is hang on to it and not break it. I’ve heard the Plantronics reputation for years but I never actually bought one before.

  2. Ari Herzog on September 16, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Yeah, Amazon customer reviews are usually on the money. I had bought a Plantronics model last year and have no idea where it’s hiding so just bought the model. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Julie Walraven on September 16, 2010 at 10:56 am

      You are welcome, Ari! I hope it works as well for you!

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