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.