The next step after applying for a job is to wait for the phone call from HR, letting you know that you’ve been selected for the first round of screening. The recruiter at the end of the line knows that you are interested in the job. But are you really prepared for that call?
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Before you pick up, make sure you are prepared. This is your chance to make a great first impression and to leverage a resource within the organization to help you answer any questions you may have.
These are a few basic expectations that the recruiter will have when dialing your number. You should:
1. Understand the job description: At least most of it. Granted, job descriptions can be confusing, but make sure that you have most of the skills listed to perform the job well. Why do you think you are a close match? Are you able to devote the time mentioned? Is the location specified OK with you?
2. Be available: If you’ve received a request asking for your availability for a discussion, make sure you only share time slots that you are able to commit. If you get the call first, politely mention when you’d be able to take the call or call back when you are able to, to decide on a mutually convenient time for a discussion.
3. Know your basics: What are your career goals? What is your salary expectation and how flexible are you? Why have you applied to this company and why have you applied for this role? How soon can you join? These are questions that the recruiter will try and get answers to in the initial call. This will help both you and the recruiter set the right expectations without wasting each other’s time.
4. Be prepared with examples: If a particular type of experience is mentioned as absolutely essential, rest assured you will be asked about it. If you have ready examples, you are in a better position to convince the recruiter that you are a great fit for the job in your first screening.
5. Be courteous and display a genuine interest in the job: The assumption here is that you did not randomly apply to multiple jobs. The recruiter has your resume because you are interested and possess the right skill set. Remember that every time you make a contact in your filed, you have the potential of building your professional network. So be cordial in your interactions.
The recruiter is trying to gauge your interest level as well as trying to sell the role to you. If you seem interested, you automatically display your inclination to the role and to the company.
Some companies have long gaps between publishing open roles and actually hiring for them. There could be multiple reasons for this. This might be a new role, and they are trying to see if the market has ready skills, or they could be waiting for funding, but want to have a steady candidate pipeline, and so on. If you are receiving a call after a long wait, and are no longer interested or if you need to update your resume, share the same with the recruiter. There are many candidates who just say “not interested” and hang up. The recruiter is only doing his/her job. Make sure you display professional courtesy to them.
6. Be curious: Your recruiter will expect you to have questions – this is after all your first interaction. Do you want to know the next steps? Is there a panel of interviewers? How long would the process take? What is the culture of the company like? Ask your questions as courteously as possible.
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