Fantastic resume submitted.
Now, get ready for the phone to ring! Acing the first contact from a recruiter or hiring manager is just as important as the in-person interview. Here are five easy steps to make sure you shine.
1. Be Prepared
Track each and every opportunity you submit your resume for with the following information:
- Company name and brief details on the company about what makes it an attractive place for you to work.
- Position title and summary. Paste the position description into your notebook, and highlight what in the description spoke to you and what makes you the right, qualified candidate.
- Know your resume. Know why your skills align with this particular job, and be ready to talk to it.
Have this info in a place that’s handy — you never know when a call will come in. Don’t be caught off guard: there are few things that’ll set a recruiter off more than a potential candidate who doesn’t remember the job.
2. Time to Talk
When the call comes in, evaluate your surroundings. If it’s not a clear, comfortable place for you to talk, let the call go to voicemail or answer the call and respectfully let the recruiter know that now is not a good time to speak, but you’d like their name and number and will call back in 15 minutes.
It’s much better to delay for a few minutes, get somewhere quiet, and collect your thoughts than it is to muddle your first impression with background noise or distractions. When you quickly return the call, be ready to talk in a quiet, disturbance-free environment. Of course, have your information in hand to be ready to speak about the company, position, and your fabulous experience and qualities!
You may not always get to your phone when the recruiter calls. In that case, your voicemail becomes your first impression. Make it a good one. Voicemail often gets overlooked, but it can make the difference between the recruiter leaving a message or passing you by. Things to avoid:
- Music as your message. A recruiter doesn’t care that you love Beyoncé’s latest single. (I do, but a recruiter won’t!)
- Too casual. “Hey, you know who it is and what to do!” They don’t and they won’t.
- Family greeting. While your daughter’s voice can melt your heart, in a career search, try a more polished approach. Stick with a concise, professional message. Try: “Hello, you’ve reached Sarah Smith. I’m sorry I’ve missed your call. Please leave me a detailed message and I’ll return your call as soon as possible. Thank you.” Short. Sweet. Professional. Love it.
This one is easy. No gum. No food. Nothing in your mouth to distract from your message.
5. Name and Number
Before you even start the conversation, get the full name and contact information of the recruiter or hiring manager you are speaking with. Don’t wait until the end because:
- If you’re on a cell phone and get disconnected, you’ll want to have their information to call back immediately.
- In the course of the conversation, you may get excited and forget to ask at the end. Get it out of the way.
- If you don’t immediately schedule the interview during the call, you’ll want their information to follow up in a few days. But, do wait at least two days before calling back. And when you do, remind the recruiter of the day and time you spoke and for what opportunity.
Follow these tips, and you’ll land the interview without a doubt!