Nowadays it seems that about 90 percent of the initial job interview is done via phone -- questions asked to see if you "make the cut" for the in-person interview.
I hardly ever get any further than the phone interview.
Some interviewers catch you by surprise, although most ask for a good time to contact you. I keep track of all the applications I make, but the information may not be at my fingertips when interviewers call unexpectedly. If I sent in the application a month ago, I may not even remember what the position was about. I think you should include the phone interview in your next book.
I already wrote about job-winning phone tactics (and other screening technologies) in my "Job Interviews for Dummies" (Wiley) book.
But you're right -- screening interviews have become epidemic in today's job-finding frenzy. Here are quick tips to use when the screener is not the hiring authority:
Choose a quiet place with room for interview essentials, including resumes, accomplishment sheets, interviewing company's background sketch, questions you'll ask, and a calendar with open dates.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.
Prepare rigorously. When surprised, say you have to leave immediately for an appointment, and pleasantly ask if you can you schedule a time to talk, perhaps later today or tomorrow, when you can do justice to the interviewer's requirements for your undivided attention.
If you don't already have a position description for the job you'll be discussing, ask the interviewer to e-mail it to you. You'll be interviewing blindly if you don't know what qualities the interviewer hopes to find.
When the interview time comes, remember to turn off the call-waiting feature on your phone. Interruptions are unprofessional and show that details get away from you.
UNDERSTAND SCREENER'S ROLE.
The screener may be an inside human resources specialist or admin, but often is an outside contractor. Obtain the interviewer's name, title and contact information.
Not authorized to hire you, the screener is responsible for collecting data about things such as your experience, education and skill set. Can you do the job or not? And do you sound competent and collected, or like trouble ahead?
Give quick, positive answers to questions measuring whether you can do the job. Be ready with several polished, results-oriented stories that back up your assertions of being the right choice, and prepare a few job-related questions of your own.
Don't waste time trying to establish rapport with a fact-focused screener, a person who is looking for reasons to vote you off the island.
Why volunteer too much unnecessary information that could strike the screener the wrong way?
Go for rapport! Take a chance that your charm will result in kinship with a screener.
If you succeed, you may learn something useful about the hiring manager's style and hot buttons. And if the interview reveals that you're wrong for the position, a third-party screener might refer you to better-fitting jobs.
CLOSE WITH CARE.
Ask, "Do you see any reason why I will not be called in to sit down with the hiring manager?"
If a gap in your qualifications is discovered, reach for a compensatory factor. Suppose your roadblock is education and the interviewer says: "I'm sorry, but a college degree is required and you have just three and a half years." Come back with a rationale: "True, but I believe my successful experience more than balances out the sheepskin requirement. Moreover, I'm enrolled online to receive my degree in the near future. Does my equivalency work for this assignment?"
Always ask about the next step:
"Will you call and arrange a time for me to meet with the hiring manager? Would that be next week, or when?
Thanks very much for your time today."
WRITE A LETTER.
Formalize your thanks in a one-page e-mail -- a sales letter, really -- restating what you can do for the employer and why you're looking forward to being interviewed for a job that's a great fit for you.
If you've lost your job, you need to act fast to maintain adequate health insurance. You have to decide, within 60 days of your separation, whether you want to stay on your former employer's plan through COBRA.
Job Search: Pulling Out All the Stops
Joyce Lain Kennedy - Careers Now
Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data reveals that less than one job opening exists for every five seekers. Clearly, the time has come to pull out all the stops in your search and begin thinking outside the box.
- Recalling Details of First Interview
- Still Standing But Scared Stiff About Losing Your Job
- Skip Invisible White Font Keyword Flimflam on Resumes
- Learn Fresh Ideas for Job Interviews
- How a Fired Employee Can Leverage a Good Reference
- Effective Ways to Use Online Job Search Tools
- Beating Back Job Search Burnout
- LinkedIn.com: Easy Hookup with People and Job Leads
- Job-Winning Tactics for Phone Interviews
- Outside or Inside Hire, Talking Points to Land the Job | Jobs & Careers
- Want an Exciting Career? Think Technology Ė Really!
- Tips on Balancing Work and Home Life
- Poor Sleep Affects Accuracy, Attitude on the Job
- Feeling Underappreciated at Work? Demand Some Recognition!
- Acing the Situational Interview
- How to Ace a Phone Interview
- Taking Control Over Your Public Speaking Fears
- If You Work so You Can Travel, Why Not Travel for Work?
- Donít Compromise: You Can Find a Job That Fits Your Values
- Career Advancement For Tomorrow
- Is a New Job in Your Future?
- Career Mission: Find a Better Job
- Aerospace and Aviation Are More Than Modest Job Prospects
- The New Office Environment Encourages Collaboration
(C) 2009 Tribune Media Services, Inc.