So, you’ve searched the internet for articles about writing the perfect resume and cover letter. Your friends proofread your work, and now you’re ready to submit. Days later, you receive an email: “Congratulations! You have been selected to speak with someone regarding the open opportunity you expressed interest in.”
Searching the internet, you can find plenty of articles preparing you for your on-site interview. There are even more about crafting the perfect resume. But in between submitting your resume and receiving an invitation to meet with the team on-site, you’ll most likely speak with someone from the Human Resources team and the role’s Hiring Manager.
These preliminary conversations are so vital to the interview process that they can make or break your opportunity to land your dream job. Here are some basic dos and don’ts that will help you ace your initial phone interview.
Do: Provide the Recruiter or Hiring Manager with as many blocks of time as possible when sharing your availability. We understand you’re a busy person — just like we are. Sending several times helps to ensure we can schedule the call right away.
Don’t: Send just one 30-minute window as your availability. Remember that the people interviewing you are in meetings, on the telephone, and connecting with hiring managers. That means if you send us a very small window, there is a likelihood that we will not be available during that time. I’ll have to circle back, delaying the time we could be speaking with one another.
Do: Research the company you’re interviewing with. I work at WayUp, so I expect candidates to look at our website, review our content, and be curious about the person they’re speaking with. Also important, read and understand the job description before your call. We’re going to want to know why you’re interested in WayUp and this opportunity.
Don’t: Come unprepared to talk about the role. We’re looking for passionate candidates who are excited about our mission. And this is your opportunity to ask me anything you’re curious about. Thoughtful questions about the role, the team, and the organization alert the person you’re speaking with that you’re deeply passionate about this opportunity.
Pro Tip: This is your chance to stand out. The candidates who go above and beyond to wow the team are the people who are invited to an on-site. So, whatever you can do to set yourself apart from other candidates means you’re one step closer to your dream job.
TAKE THE CALL
Do: Be ready for the call. Answer the phone with great energy and remain professional. The best calls begin with someone answering the phone saying, “Hello, this is _____.”
I can’t stress this enough. “Hello, this is Susan!” is an infinitely more professional way to answer a call than a simple “Hi.”
Don’t: Answer the call and then need time to get situated. Make sure you’re not in a noisy location . Find somewhere where we can have an excellent chat about your experience and the opportunity you’ve applied to. If you need to reschedule your call, we understand. People have busy lives. Providing as much advance notice as possible is helpful (and shows you really value communication).
Do: Write a follow-up thank you note. After speaking with a candidate who is curious, engaging, and skilled, it’s the cherry on top of the cake when we receive an email thanking us for helping someone learn about the ins and outs of this role.
Don’t: Stop communicating. Aside from sending a note, keeping in close communication with the person you spoke with is a two-way street. If we don’t hear from you for 3–4 days, we may assume you’re no longer interested in the role. Stay connected to avoid miscommunication.
Pro Tip: Receiving a handwritten card is such a nice feeling, but it’s unnecessary. In 2018, a thoughtful, well-written email will go a long way toward helping you stand out. The best part? It can also be delivered in an instant.