Many people underestimate interviews and the deciding power that recruiters have in the hiring process. Although they may not be the ones making the final decision, they are your first chance to leave a memorable impression and make it to the second round. The only thing standing between you and the hiring manager is a recruiter after all. So how do you nail the interview and knock the barrier down?
As a recruiter and someone who has seen an array of applicants, I have come to realize that a candidate that looks like a perfect fit on paper may not actually be a fit perfect for an organization. When in college, I can recall many times professors have taught lessons on writing the perfect resume and cover letter, but impressing your interviewer also has a lot to do with your personality and how you present yourself.
As many recruiters do, I conduct phone screens with candidates that I want to know more about. It seems that when I schedule a phone interview candidates don’t realize that this is their first test.
My words of advice:
“Treat a phone interview just like an in person interview.”
This is your chance to impress the recruiter or hiring manager. Just because it is over the phone doesn’t mean there is less value. There is actually great value in it because this is the first chance the interviewer has to get to know you.
“Be prepared to answer questions.”
Have an idea of what the interviewer may be asking you and think of what you are going to tell them ahead of time. This phone call is not for fun. We are trying to get to know our candidates to figure out what they are looking for and if they are a fit for the client. Don’t get me wrong, these phone calls CAN be fun when people are outgoing and talkative, but treat this call like a test. Strive to impress the person on the other end!
“Show your personality.”
Incorporate your sense of humor. Don’t be afraid to talk! The best phone interviews are the ones where I am NOT doing all the talking. This is your chance to speak up and let me see why you should be hired.
Please, don’t tell the interviewer that you love working with people when you really don’t. If you aren’t honest, you might end up being picked for a job that you will not love. Who wants a job that they won’t love? It is a waste of the company’s time and a waste of your time! You are a better fit for something else.
The interviewer always asks you why you are a perfect fit for a job. Don’t rattle off a list of 10 characteristics you have, but instead give just a few strong examples of quality characteristics. You say you can handle stress well? Tell the interviewer when and how you handled stress. Maybe you dealt with a customer who was in a rush and you had to remain calm. Maybe it was Black Friday and the computer system shut down, but you got through it with grace. This is your chance to tell the interviewer your past experiences that will make you a great fit for their culture and organization.
“Always have questions.”
Be prepared beforehand with questions you have about the role or the company. This shows that you are interested and actually care about the job you applied for. What really impresses me is when people ask me about myself and what I do. Isn’t it important that you get to know who is interviewing you? One candidate found me on LinkedIn and knew exactly who I was and turned the interview around so that she was asking me questions about my education and interests and what brought me to Cultural Chemistry. This made me remember her and my phone call with her was different from any other. I would certainly recommend getting to know your interviewer by finding them on LinkedIn before you are interviewed.
You have edited your cover letter and resume so that you perfectly fit the job you are applying for and you present yourself as qualified on paper. The next step is to impress the person who has your fate in their hands. With these few tips you WILL impress the first interviewer you are in contact with – take it from someone on the recruiter side!
Colleen is an HR Assistant who began her journey at Cultural Chemistry as an Intern while still in college. She now focuses on recruiting amazing talent for her several clients. She can be reached by calling the office at (603) 518-8676 as well as at her email, firstname.lastname@example.org.