The Recruiter Calls…Are You Ready?
Psst…always answer calls you don’t know in a job search.
The resume, cover letter, and strong LinkedIn profile landed you the interview! Most outreach will come via email requesting a phone or video interview. If a recruiter calls you and asks for a few minutes of your time right then, consider it an interview. If you are in a quiet place, prepared, and have the time, then take the interview. However, it is perfectly acceptable and still professional to say, “I look forward to speaking with you and would like to do so when I’m not rushed between meetings. Could we talk tomorrow between 10 and noon instead?” Another common approach today is for a recruiter to send an email with a link to his or her online schedule, allowing you to select a good time.
If a recruiter gives you multiple choices of interview times, try to take the last or one of the latter appointments. This gives you more time to prepare and keeps your qualification and interview more top of mind for the interview panel.
Preparing for the phone or video chat interview should not be any less important than an in-person interview. It is going to determine whether you make it to an in-person interview. Be prepared at least ten minutes early, just as you would arrive in-person early. This will sound strange but get dressed up as if it is an in-person interview (especially if it is over video chat). Put on professional attire, make-up, jewelry, etc. Studies show that when we look better, we feel better, are more confident, more alert, and more articulate. Try to schedule the interview at a time when you are at your best. If you are not a morning person, ask for a later time (do not say you are not a morning person, list your availability as starting at 10 am). If you are a morning person, perhaps late afternoon is not a great time slot for you. You may not have the opportunity to be selective on time and, by all means, come across as flexible and adaptable. Test your tech-make sure you can log in to a video chat and know how to activate your computer’s camera and microphone. There might be drivers to download ahead of time. If it is a phone call, ensure your phone and headphones are charged.
Your environment is incredibly important during a phone/video interview. For video, pay close attention to what they will see behind you. Try to look as though you are in a home office setting rather than your couch or bedroom. If you are at home, make sure the area is clean and professional. If there is a window behind you, consider what they will see out the window and remember, recruiters are making judgments about you every step of the way. Be in a quiet place where your dog will not bark, kids or co-workers will not be talking to you, or there is not a TV or radio playing (or smoke detector beeping). For video, smile and make eye contact. Lean forward and appear engaged. Avoid leaning back and appearing overly casual or bored. Do not scroll through your phone as their talking and have your resume right in front of you or even on your computer screen for easy reference without looking away. Do not eat and limit sips of water during the conversation. For a phone call, follow all the tips above as your voice will convey your engagement level just the same.
If you are doing a video interview from your phone, position the phone in front of you against a stable object so that your hands are free to take notes, look at your resume, etc.
Have your resume, the job description, and any notes you have taken about the company and your application along the way. Also, have some prepared questions based on the job description and your research on the company and the interviewer (review their LinkedIn profile). We will talk more about the questions and answers later.
Preparing for an in-person interview is similar but know exactly where you are going and allow more than enough travel time. Tomorrow, I’ll share more details about how to conquer the in-person interview intricacies.