Looking for a career is a job in itself. Once you have invested the time into scrolling the endless of scams or promises to find a real opportunity, you need to be able to seal the deal when you get the opportunity.
Many companies utilize the telephone interview to weed through candidates on being good communicators and professionals. After all, when we remove all the other senses, the interviewer can focus solely on tone and content. So why is this important? You aren’t on the phone with your friend – this person is reading into what you say, the words you choose and how you say it. Depending on the role you are applying for, this can be a critical part of the employment process. Of course this is geared more so for career roles versus lesser job roles – a job role hires most/all applicants because of turnover or job simplicity.
For example: if you are applying for a high volume and technical call center, but lack the tone or stumble over your words, you will likely not get past this step. This interview takes place in the exact setting which you would be performing the entirety of your work duties, you would have to do well here
This phone interview is also designed to read your interest level to gauge if their investment into for interviews/training is being wasted.
For example, let’s say you are applying for that call center:
Interviewer: “We offer tuition reimbursement to our associates, would you be interested in taking advantage of that?”
Bad answer: “Of course, I always wanted to be a veterinarian and would love the chance to invest into chasing my dreams.” You’re applying for a call center and already looking for us to invest into you leaving us?
Bad answer: “No, I had started some courses in the past and found school wasn’t for me.”
If being able to learn new things and develop yourself wasn’t for you, are you going to be able to learn this role or develop with it as it evolves?
Good answer: “Absolutely, my goal would be to invest into developing myself to fit my career and advance with the company. I would seek to attain an education that would allow me to work my way into management.” Great, you are looking to stay and make this into a long term career. You are also driven and already planning for the future and more promising than the veterinarian.
That is one of many many questions, but if you keep a positive upbeat tone and an open mind: it will get you past this step.
Face To Face Interview
Congratulations, you made it past the phone interview and they’re ready to schedule a meeting. Some of these items may sound elementary, but need to be mentioned. What are you bringing?
-Multiple copies of your resume. A successful interview will introduce you to many important people, make sure you have enough to provide every one. It will help you look prepared and marketable.
-Letters of recommendation. You know that spot on the bottom of your resume that says ‘references available upon request’ – why wait to have them requested? Be proud of the past employers who wish they could afford to keep you and attach these with a binder clip to provide with your resume. Now you are both prepared and valuable.
-A notebook, binder or folder with note paper. Whatever you feel comfortable bringing around to carry all these documents as well as a couple of pens (more than 1).
-Questions to ask employers. How does overtime work, does there involve weekend rotations, is there a pension, merit adjustments, promotions, etc. Remember this is as much an interview of the company for you as it is you for the company. Get to know who you are selling yourself to – this will help ensure you are investing yourself in a quality company.
-Dress to impress. This should be expected, but I’m surprised as to how many come for interviews dressed in whatever they find on their closet floor. You don’t have to be a beautiful or in shape person to look professional – so make it happen.
-Get there early. Leave yourself extra time for traffic, finding your way through the building, a chance to use the rest room before you go in, etc. It’s better to be 30 minutes early than 5 minutes late.
-Develop an honest idea of what you are worth and what perks or benefits you are looking for. Would a company vehicle be worth a 5k salary reduction, etc. And don’t settle for less, there is a company out there who needs you and is offering exactly what you are looking for so be patient.
So you are all loaded up, dressed and arrive early. It’s happening and you couldn’t be more excited for this job.
-Confidence. You are the master of your product – you – so make be confident in what you are selling. Think: you are an asset to any company. A firm handshake, soft spoken but audible voice with a confident introduction sets the stage for a successful interview.
-Be humble. Why are you leaving your current company? You are looking to better yourself and invest your skills in a company who will reward your education and experience. Don’t trash talk a previous employer.
-Be honest. You are selling yourself and the employer is interviewing you. Be honest because it is the only way you will both be happy if an offer is made. When they ask you ‘for a time you went above and beyond for a customer’ tell them a real story – I’m sure you have hundreds of them if you can take the time to recall. Don’t be afraid to have real talk with the interviewer and don’t appear uptight. I have been fortunate enough to have my interview take as long as 5 hours because we get to chatting about everything. Yes- I have received offers later on from these places. Be personable and professional, the two do not have to contradict one another.
-Ask those questions you prepared earlier and don’t be shy, remember this will be your career for hopefully and very long time. This needs to be a good fit for you as well.
-Receive business cards and contact information from everyone you have met. Make sure to send a thank you email to all those who took the time to meet with you.
After it’s all said and done be patient, filing a position is a lengthy process to most large companies and requires many interview, background checks and so on. Don’t be over-eager and harassing to your potential employer. They may take this as being irritating or worse, that you are desperate and will accept whatever offer is made. Be patient, you are valuable and will find a career to call your own.
I will post again soon on resume writing, profile creating and finding a good lead, but I hope this helps to those who find themselves already up to this step and looking to dive in.
Feel free to post some interview questions for some sample responses.