Looking for more ideas about getting your foot in the door for the face-to-face interview? You're unlikely to obtain a job offer without a highly effective interview. You have a couple more hurdles to cross, however, before you get that coveted opportunity to impress a potential employer.
- Not all employers may feel this way, but I hate fishing phone calls that have absolutely no purpose other than to make you notice an applicant. Wonder how many people call me each week to see if I have received their resume? Lots - and only the people I rarely call back. It's a wonderful opportunity for you to make a lasting bad impression. I said to a recent caller, "You are calling to ask me to look through this pile of 200 resumes to see if I have received yours? If you are that uncertain, why don't you just send it again?" Fishing-for-attention phone calls rarely help and usually brand you as a pain. They steal the company's time, irritate the resume screener and generally, accomplish nothing in your favor. In one of my client companies, callers, and especially repeat callers, are known as "stalkers."
- If you want a call from a recruiter or potential employer, give them a number at which you can be reached. The majority of resumes I receive list only a home phone. Big mistake. I gave up on ten candidates with whom I played phone tag for days. No, I'm not advocating you give a potential employer your number at your current job. But, in this day of inexpensive cell phones, you really need to honor the potential employer's time by giving them your cell phone number. I need to reach you to set up a time and date for the phone screening.
- Yes, I said, "phone screening." Forward thinking employers don't waste their time or yours these days without an initial telephone interview. Be prepared to schedule a date and time, usually during the 8-5 p.m. work day. (Your potential employer is already working ten hour days.) The phone interview eliminates most of the "yes" resumes from contention.
Be prepared for a mini-interview and to give the interviewer your salary expectations. People who play coy when I ask about salary are not invited to visit in person. Why would I waste our time interviewing an applicant who is making $70,000 or more, currently, for a $50,000 job? And no, you are not going to be such a wonderful candidate that I blow away the salary range. In nine out of ten situations, the salary range is set with a large number of variables in mind including the local job market and the salaries of coworkers.
- Preparation counts for both the phone screening and the potential face-to-face interview. If I have set a time with you for a phone screening, research the company in advance. Visit the website to see what the employer does. Many organizations even describe their company culture on their websites these days. If you take just a few minutes to do your homework, the quality of the interview goes up exponentially.
Think about my time, too, as your potential employer. Imagine the decisions I make about you when you ask me for directions to the company, while driving your car and talking on the cell phone. "Wait a couple of minutes," one candidate said, "while I get somewhere so that I can write this all down." Research the company location online first; call the company for directions as a last resort.
What do you do when you're finally invited to the table? Read on ...