So you’ve been having a good look around for job opportunities, and are at the stage where you are submitting applications for roles. If the recruiter is impressed by the look of your resume, and keen to find out more, your mobile phone will shortly be ringing. This is a very, very important part in the process, and it is essential to perform well in order to be invited in for a face to face interview.
Here are a few handy hints to give you the best chance to get over the line:
Always answer any unknown number as though it is a job offer
You never know who is going to be on the other end of the line, but if it’s a potential employer or hiring agent they want to hear you at your enthusiastic best. Answering the phone with a dull, monotonous voice, or sounding tired/angry/drunk/bored/irritable isn’t going to do you any favours. Even if you’ve just been having a screaming match with your partner, and you’ve just thrown the last piece of kitchenware at their head, still try to manage a bright ‘hello’ if you’re not sure who’s calling. This will instantly create a positive impression, and will get you over the first hurdle.
If you can’t take the call somewhere quiet, re-book for the earliest possibility
There’s no way to control when or where you’ll get a call from a recruiter, but if it happens to be while you’re maxing out the credit card in Westfield or in a busy bar, quickly let them know that you aren’t in the best spot to chat, and make sure you book in a time as soon as possible to speak to them somewhere more private. This is infinitely preferable to sounding distracted and trying to shout over the noise, and you’re recruiter will appreciate you taking the professional approach.
Try to remember which roles you’ve applied for!
We know it’s difficult to remember every role you’ve applied for if you’re put on the spot, but do try to keep a mental track record of the kind of positions that have been catching your eye. Job descriptions are often fairly similar, but more often than not there will be a unique feature that you can latch on to, to help you remember. It’s very off putting to contact someone just to hear that they’ve applied for so many roles that they can’t even vaguely recall the position you’re referring to. You need to sell your interest to the person who is hiring, and stand out from the dozens of others who will also be receiving a call. If you genuinely can’t remember the position, apologise and offer to look it up at the earliest availability – don’t bluff your way through the call, we’ll know.
Show your enthusiasm
There is nothing so appealing to a recruiter than a candidate who is genuinely interested in, and excited by a role. If you remember the position clearly, show your knowledge to your interviewer while you have them on the phone, highlight to them areas of interest. Even if your experience is a bit off for the criteria, energy and enthusiasm will often compensate, so use what you have! Sounding dull or uninterested in a role is a sure fire way to get your application discounted.
While not technically your phone interview, your voicemail can also play a part in your application process. Particularly if you are applying for high end corporate positions and are expecting a call, do yourself a favour and swap the comedy Austin Powers answering tape for something a bit more professional. Refrain from swearing/giggling/singing/shouting/crying where possible, and keep it as simple and corporate as you can. Hey, if you get the job and you don’t need to use your personal phone for work feel free to bring back Austin after you’ve started, just keep him at a distance beforehand.