Short of getting an offer, getting the call or email to schedule a phone interview is one of the best feelings one can have in their job search. It means you’ve made it through the first hurdle of having your resume reviewed. And it’s an important step too. From a recruiter’s perspective, it’s the part of the recruiting process that tends to eliminate most candidates. At the end of this stage the recruiter has reviewed the resumes, conducted phone interviews and has a short list of resumes that will be reviewed with the hiring manager.
So how can you make the best of your opportunity to make it through the phone interview and getting in front of the decision-makers? As they say in the Boy Scouts, “Be Prepared”. Here are some tips to stand apart from the crowd:
Chances are, if you can accomplish this, many of the other areas that are discussed here will begin to fall into line. Being open to discussion and really letting your personality shine is key to making that ever-important first impression. For many companies, the focus of hiring has shifted from pure skills and resume content to hiring people who fit in the company model and their culture.
Often recruiters will want to know what drew your interest to the company and to the position. You best bet here is to NOT say “well the skills on the job description match my resume”. What they really want to know is “why us”? Recruiters are more apt to move forward with candidates who have a high degree of interest in their company, and that they have researched the organization. They want to know this isn’t “just another job” for you, but that you have a passion for this type of work or industry.
What have you done?
What recruiters aren’t looking for here is for you to recite your resume verbatim. We’ve got that one covered. But rather, take this time to tout some of your most impactful accomplishments. What’s even better is when you can tie those accomplishments into the opening you are discussing, and what you can bring to the company because of that experience. Tell us things we couldn’t glean from your resume.
What are you looking for in your next role?
In short: Leave the canned answers at home. Everyone wants growth, better pay, and the like. Dig in here about how you define that growth. Is it moving toward a managerial role, or exposure to newer technology to expand your skill set? Get into the details. And if you want to move for more money, be prepared to have a discussion about said money. Being able to best assist you through the process means that both sides develop a relationship based on mutual trust.
For many recruiters, candidates without questions at the end of a conversation are a huge red flag. It’s not likely that in a conversation that last anywhere from 15-45 minutes that we covered all possible angles of the role. As mentioned earlier, we want to know that this isn’t job another job for you. So a lack of questions can be (rightly or wrongly) perceived as a lack of genuine interest. Asking good questions also serves a dual purpose: it allows the recruiter to identify any critical information they did not gather up front, or aren’t as knowledgeable about. We might not have all the answers, but this allows us to get more information from the manager that you can use in the course of your information-seeking process.
Now, go get that job you want.