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Your Phone Rings, It’s a Recruiter; Are You Prepared to Pass a Phone Screen? TIPS YOU CAN’T MISS

Whether your resume is out on one of the job boards or you have applied to a position directly your resume has your phone number on it. What this means is at any given moment in the day from 7am to 9pm you could be receiving a call regarding a potential job opportunity, but are you prepared?

This call is more than just a first impression, this is a phone screen for the person on the other end and whether or not they use the right approach does not matter at that very moment because time is money and they are trying to determine if you are potential candidate for the particular job they are sourcing for and that is it. It does not matter if it is a corporate recruiter or agency recruiter, both are guilty of trying to move very quickly to determining one thing, should we move forward on this person or not? I know it sounds harsh but they have a job to do, they have several different openings they are working on and are under the gun just like in any other job to move as efficiently and effectively as possible to get to the end result.

So how can you prepare?

  • Smile, they can hear it in your voice
  • Don’t be put off by lack of detail and not having all of the information of the job up front
  • Do be in a quiet area free from distractions. If you are not, ask if you can call them back in short order (meaning 10-15 minutes if possible)
  • Do leave a copy of your resume in a folder in your car. If you are out shopping or out to eat, your car is your office. Seriously, if you were a sales person waiting to close a multi million dollar deal would you ask if you could call the customer back later on that day? Let me tell you the answer, NO
  • Don’t push for more detail on the job before you answer any questions on your resume. This is not a give in take call where they ask a question and you ask one back.
  • Do give specific examples to questions regarding your performance and success. HOW? Write down or have printed out in your folder and next to your computer 3 strong quantitative success stories (but have them be more bullets than story like)
  • Don’t ramble or go on and on about your old employer, good or bad.
  • Do talk about lessons learned and opportunities achieved that are specific to you and your expertise.
  • Don’t be too formal or too personal; be yourself but don’t try to make friends. A balance can be tough so practice.
  • Do ask a great open ended question, “I did want to mention that not all of my skills and expertise are listed on my resume, it is accurate and detailed however it is hard to put my entire career on to one page; are their specific focus areas or experiences whether  in (name something you are proficient in whether it is working with C level managers or designing a specific type of window) or a specific technology or software  this job is looking for?”
  • Don’t take it personally if you are prepared and still not offered an interview, they know the company and culture as well as the demands of the job; trust that this is the best thing for you.
  • Do ask “what your background or career goals were missing for this particular opportunity, maybe you could refer a colleague.” This helps you and them out and gives you some needed closer and feedback.
This should help you be better prepared and set you up for an invitation for an interview.

About americandreamrevised

A manager, recruiter, trainer and foodie! When you are asked over and over again for tips on how to find a job, increase your sales, how to create connections or recommendations for restaurants, recipes and creative party fare at some point you have to do something with all of the information. Those who know me and have borrowed “recipes” from me know that I do not write anything down and can barely measure, I do not know how to follow instructions and my strength is not in the detail but in the experience of your senses.

5 responses »

  1. As another recruiter:
    * Take your time to answer my question well, with a good example. If you ramble on and take 5 minutes to answer the question, you have lost your time to ask me questions.
    * More important than a paper resume – have a way to get me an electronic copy quickly.
    * To add to one item Danielle said above; if you are not the right fit, referring someone to me is a great help, and I will remember you the next time I have a position that fits you.
    * If you applied to a job I am looking to fill, please make sure that you read the job description and remember the company name. If you applied but cannot remember it, then you have instantly lost credibility.

  2. All very good tips. Recruiters usually ask about salary–current or expectations. Any thoughts on how to handle this? I usually give a range if I think I’m interested and it sounds like the recruiter has a genuine job to fill. There are times when I’ve been called and suspicious that a job does not exist, but they are looking to research what the “going rate” for a position is.

    • Great question Matt,
      I would say that in a standard salary position a range is always the way to go and being a passive or active job seeker makes some difference but not a ton because we all have a number in our head re: what it takes to get out of bed every day to give our best.

      “I typically leave the topic of salary and compensation to the 2nd or 3rd interview because to me compensation is more than just what is on my w2 at the end of the year. In fairness to you and your client I would like to at least give a range, so depending on what their benefits package including healthcare, retirement, vacation are, I would say I am between x and y.”

      You can also say, (as long as you have not been grossly over or under paid) “Historically I have made between x and y and am comfortable within that range depending on the entire compensation and bonus structure”

      I hope this helps and I may have to create a post just off this question.

      Thanks again!

      • Yes, that’s very helpful. I typically answer with a range and hope that that doesn’t put me out of the running if I’m interested. (And if it does put me out of the running, then maybe it wasn’t going to be a good fit anyway). Salary almost always is a part of initial call, which is understandable–there’s no point talking much further if both parties aren’t close on salary expectations.

        Thanks for the advice!

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