Job Hunt Series: The Phone Interview
So your resume was selected out of a large stack and the recruiter decided to pick up the phone and spend five minutes of their day talking to you. This is actually a very big deal. Five minutes per call, add two for the extra administrative work, and you’re looking at about eight calls per hour or 64 calls per day if you take no other breaks. That’s not a lot. So yeah. Getting a phone interview is a big deal.
DO NOT…assume that they have read your resume thoroughly.
Chances are that they haven’t. They probably just glanced at the companies, your job title, and your educational background. That’s usually enough for a recruiter to decide to pick up the phone and call you. Your resume shows that you can do the job. Now they’re concerned about your personality.
Not like it’s easy to be yourself when you’re nervous as all hell and you really want a job. I like to think that the true you shows through when you’re nervous, though.
DO NOT…sound desperate.
Even if you are. We smell desperation and attack it (usually) by means of the resumes into the shredder. Answer questions honestly, and don’t be “too flexible”. Where do you want to work? Anywhere. What’s your salary expectation? Anything. What that says to a recruiter is that you have no standards, and it makes us lose confidence in your abilities since you’re having such a hard time getting hired. At the same time, be realistic. You are not going to make 80K straight out of university with no practical work experience. Sorry.
DO…answer the damn questions.
I can’t tell you how many evasive answers I’ve gotten from the hundreds of people that I’ve called. Believe me, evasive answers are worse than hard truths.
DO NOT…talk forever.
This goes hand in hand with answering the damn questions. A tip that my elementary school teacher gave me, and this stuck with me because it’s so useful, is to answer the question using the question. “Which locations work well for you?” “The locations that work well for me are…” Bam. You are guaranteed to have directly answered the question. Then you stop talking.
DO…talk about achievements that are not on your resume.
But only if they’re specifically related to the job that you were doing at the time. Your resume is great, but recruiters want to know what you have done that’s a little bit extra. Do you take initiative? Do you work really hard and get a lot of work done really well in a short amount of time? What is it that sets you apart from everyone else who has the same degree and years of work experience that you do? And remember, always give solid examples!
Phone interviews are about testing your verbal communication skills and judging your personality more than anything else. Practice your phone interview responses to common questions. Recruiters ask you questions about your previous jobs, even though it’s listed on your resume, because they want to know how clearly you can articulate your experiences and how well you can sell yourself.
Lastly, be honest. Because we smell liars too.
How do you make your resume stand out? Leave a comment below!
Image courtesy of oskay via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).