Great work – we submitted your awesome resume and our client is ready to move forward with a phone screen! Here are three easy steps to make sure you hit a home-run and get that coveted invite for an in-person interview:
1. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. There is nothing worse than unprepared candidate, so make sure you don’t fall into that bucket by putting in the work to get ready for your call. Some easy things to do include:
• Understand the role for which you are applying and what the job entails. How can you possibly get the job if you don’t know what the job is? No one wants to have the “I thought it was Assistant Vice President, not Vice President’s Assistant..." conversation. Don’t be that person.
• Read up on anyone with whom you are speaking. Check out their LinkedIn profile and when available, their bio on the company website. You should know who they are and where they fit in the company before getting on the call.
• Get to know the company. Visit the company website and learn about their products, services, and anything else that will be relevant to your discussion
• Know your resumé inside and out. Make sure you know which skills and experiences you have that will help you succeed in this role
• Plan some questions. Thoughtful questions indicate a prepared, engaged candidate. Plan ahead with a few good questions that you can ask on the call.
• Have this information handy. Fortunately, it’s a phone screen and you can reference this information without interrupting the conversation.
2. Get a quiet place and block off enough time for the call. Your call is at 3:00pm, and it’s 2:55. Definitely enough time to grab a coffee at Starbucks. Wrong! Don’t get caught in a loud or crowded environment for a screening call. There is nothing worse than trying to have a cell phone conversation in a loud place, and your interviewer will most certainly forget about your call if you are constantly being interrupted by the barista’s loud cackles.
Remember – your call may run over a little! Make sure you aren’t rushing your interviewer off the phone to get back to your current job. This could potentially signal that you’re not committed to making the leap. Plan on giving your interviewer an additional 15 minutes beyond the allotted time. And block this off on your current work calendar with an inconspicuous meeting title, like “Dentist Appointment.” That will throw your nosy co-workers off your trail!
3. Clean up your voicemail. Nothing better than calling someone, getting sent to voicemail, and just when you are preparing to leave a message, you are greeted by the sounds of Britney Spear’s “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” Ew. Things happen and sometimes you can’t pick up the phone right away, so make sure your voicemail greeting reflects the candidate that you are – professional and polished. Try to keep the greeting short and succinct. If you are having a hard time coming up with something, try this:
“Hello, you have reached <insert your name>. I’m unable to answer the phone right now but please leave your name and number and I’ll get back to you. Thank you and have a great day!”
One final note – make sure that your voicemail box is empty. Reaching a full voicemail box is almost as bad as hearing Britney sing, “Oh baby baby…”
Follow these three tips and you’ll be far more likely to land the in-person interview. Good luck!