The digital age has made the world feel smaller. Today, everyone is almost a click or a phone call away. Indeed, communication is much easier and more convenient now in the smartphone age; so convenient that most of first interviews (screening interviews) are done via phone. These calls are short, but they will decide if you will receive a face-to-face interview or not.
We know ‘first impression lasts’, and it’s easier to impress someone when you are in front of them. But how do you impress a hiring manager over the phone? Seems tough.
First of all, create a LinkedIn account.
According to the 2015 Global Recruiting Trends Report, job boards and professional networking sites are the top venues of finding top talents. Undeniably, LinkedIn is the biggest, and most popular professional networking website around.
At LinkedIn, about 3 users sign up every second. It’s growth is so fast that from 100 million users three years ago, it now has over 300 million users. It’s free, it’s full-packed, and it’s the best networking tool you can use.
Remember to sign up at LinkedIn, and optimize your profile. Include the link of your LinkedIn profile in your curriculum vitae (CV) and make sure the information is consistent. Look for friends on LinkedIn, add them up. Also, if you’ve had internships before, start building your LinkedIn network by adding your peers from there also.
Do your homework.
Once you submit your resume online. You must expect a call from the company you applied to. Do your homework. Research about the company and the job position. Visit the company’s website, their social media accounts, and their blogs. Get to know what they do and how they do it.
Remember that while you are waiting for the call, think about how you will fit for the job and the company. Know your strengths, your current skill set, and package yourself so as to revolve around the questions: “Why am I fit for the job?” and “How will the company benefit from me?”.
Prepare your spiel.
If you want to impress the headhunter once they call, the spiel is the best way to do that. Of course, you’ll need to have a great spiel.
If you are a fresh grad, remember that you’re selling not just your college degree but also your current, although limited, skill set, personality and attitude. Familiarize yourself with your curriculum vita (CV), memorize it if you can – the year you graduated, courses you took, seminars and trainings you attended, competitions you won, and extracurricular activities that can help you land the job (e.g. internships, volunteer work, etc.). Why do you have to do that? Because you can’t always have your CV with you when the recruiter calls.
The best way to prepare for a phone call interview is to prepare spiels for every possible question you might be asked. The most common, yet the trickiest, question is the “tell-me-about-yourself” question.
Keep your phone fully charged.
Having the line cut in the middle of a conversation with a recruiter due to dead battery is not a good way to start the entire hiring process. While the recruiter will ask it is a good time for a quick chat, saying yes and lose the call due to an empty battery will not make a good impression.
If it is not okay to talk yet, you can politely ask the recruiter to call you again after a few minutes or some other day. And when that time comes, make sure you have your phone ready and good. If you have a power-bank, keep it close to you in case you’ll need it.
Be clear, concise, and consistent.
Ever heard of the saying “more talk, more mistakes”? That’s certainly almost always true. Without a well-crafted “About Me” spiel, you might sabotage your application by too much unnecessary and unwanted information. Remember, your “About Me” spiel shouldn’t be like your Twitter or IG bio, it must be about what you can offer to the company.
These are the common areas you must cover in your “About Me” spiel:
- Why should we hire you?
- What makes you the best candidate for the job?
- What are your skills that are perfect for the position?
- What can you contribute to this company?
A quick fix to this is to prepare a three-part “About Me” spiel: the past, the present, and the future. Start with who you are, and what you’ve been doing in the past few years. Then, point out the needs of the company at the present and relate how you can help be of help. Then, take them to the future – with your experience, and your skill set, where do you see yourself vis-a-vis the company in the future.
Treat the questions above like essay questions. Prepare an answer that is one or two sentences long. Then, summarize them all to make a three-part “About Me” spiel. Practice your spiel in front of a mirror. Also, it greatly helps if you record yourself and see if you stutter or if you come in not strong. Modify the way you deliver your spiel according to how you think you’ll impress the caller best.
Listen first. Then talk. Finish strong and positive.
Let the interviewer set the stage. Listen first. Remember to take notes. Sometimes, the interviewer would explain the job position first, then tell you why the job is open. This might give you a hint on the factors that could build you application.
When it’s finally your turn, try this tip: talk to the interviewer like you are talking to them face-to-face. Also. smile as you talk. The interviewer will not see it but they will hear the difference in your voice.
After the recap and towards the end of your call, finish strong by summarizing your strengths. Communicate your interest in meeting them personally. Don’t forget to thank the interviewer for the call and reiterate that you are looking forward to a positive feedback from them.
Good luck, we hope you get the job! Also, if you are still looking for great opportunities, do check out Sysgen’s IT job openings!