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How to Race to 3rd Base in a Job Search

Hooray! You made it to first base in the job search game, when the recruiter indicates s/he'd like a phone interview with you. You need to make it past second base, which is the phone interview. But you can fail this step miserably if you don't watch the ball. You want to reach third base in the job search, which is the interview. Arriving at home is receiving the offer.

How many times have you been disappointed after a phone interview that you don't hear any response? You can't reach the recruiter by phone and sending an email no longer works. What happened?

When you flub the phone screen, you may become justifiably frustrated when the recruiter doesn't respond. Did you do or say any of the following?

Will he get to third base (the interview)?

Safe at Third

You don't have to be as ruthless as baseball Hall of Famer  Ty Cobb (sliding) to move along the base paths, just smart and agile.

You don't have to be as ruthless as baseball Hall of Famer
Ty Cobb (sliding) to move along the base paths, just smart and agile.

Responses that hurt the search
I could write at least a paragraph to explain why voicing each of the following in an initial phone interview may ensure you will not move forward for the onsite interview. You need to be authentic, but the phone screen or phone interview is part of selling yourself. Keep your options open at this stage. Maybe you don't want to move, but unless you absolutely cannot move, don't strike out before you hear more.

You need to be considerate, accommodating, and honest. I'm sure you could couch these responses differently to stay in the running:

  1. I don't want to move.
  2. I don't want to drive that far.
  3. I can't start for another six months, as I'm on a special project.
  4. I'm not sure I have the background for this job.
  5. I never share my last/current salary on the first contact.
  6. I can only work remote.
  7. I can't work long hours.
  8. I need to re-schedule. Something's come up.
  9. I can't talk right now; my child needs to go to soccer practice.
  10. I can't talk right now; I'm watching the Rangers play baseball.
  11. Other game stoppers

  12. Responding without adequate research.
  13. Asking too many questions about dress code, stock options, and time off, rather than concentrating on information to assist, not hurt, your search.
  14. Not giving specific answers to differentiate you from the rest of the candidates.
  15. Barking dogs, crying babies, and other interruptions in the background diminishing your professional demeanor.
  16. Focusing on salary rather than talent.
  17. Talking too much, rambling, and providing irrelevant details.
  18. Criticizing former managers and co-workers.
  19. Providing too much personal information; not concentrating on skills.
  20. Repeatedly re-scheduling or lack of availability.
  21. Lacking authenticity.

To assure the third base
Be prepared. Apply to jobs where you match the skills at least 75 percent to 85 percent. Do your research about the company and its people. Your voice should resonate with confidence and enthusiasm. Ask about the next step in the process.

You just never know what curve ball may be thrown at you, but adequate preparation and awareness of each of these items will help you score a home run or a new job!

— Ruth Glover, our Career Engineer, has completed phone interviews in the past, where she heard every one of the 20 situations.

29 comments on “How to Race to 3rd Base in a Job Search

  1. Daniel
    April 26, 2013

    “You need to be authentic, but the phone screen or phone interview is part of selling yourself. Keep your options open at this stage. Maybe you don't want to move, but unless you absolutely cannot move, don't strike out before you hear more.”

    Ruth, interviews are more or less like marketing a product. The only difference is we are marketing ourselves with the employer. For that we need a good resume, good communication skill to convince the employer and courage for these.

  2. Daniel
    April 26, 2013

    Ruth, I think now a day's most of the companies are trying to evaluate their extracurricular activity, soft skills and politeness while taking the interview. I don't think only pure technical skill can help anybody to succeed a good interview.

  3. HM
    April 26, 2013

    so true Ruth! I guess you need to be flexible on phone interviews, communication skills matters a lot because one cant see your face but can only hear you. Too much accent also hurts.

  4. tesmith47
    April 26, 2013

    mildly amusing parallel

    football player gets arrested for purchasing the services of a female person who marketed her skills, personality for $100.

    we are encourged to sell our selves/  skills, personality, for undisclosed sums.

     

     

  5. Ruth Glover
    April 26, 2013

    I've been a little slow to respond to comments today, as I'm actually in Portland, Oregon for a few days.  

    Everyone who has commented thus far has added value.  I especially found the comment about selling ourselves interesting, as when we are in job search, treating ourselves as a product, we could sell ourselves to “the devil,” if we don't make make the sale interactive.  

    Candidates often forget that it's a two way street.  They need to ask good questions to discover whether the company and hiring team truly fit their skills and personality, even if they “just want a job.”  Making sure the job is right for all concerned helps with the longevity of the job.   

    I used to dislike the word “fit,” when I'd have to tell a candidate, “Unfortunately, it's not quite the fit my client wants.”  But it's the best word I can find to explain tha gamut of hiring factors in a decision.

  6. Mr. Roques
    April 27, 2013

    At what point is the phone interview just to make sure you are social and don't have communication skills? There's a technical interview but I guess the first is to make sure you fit in the organization.

  7. syedzunair
    April 28, 2013

    Jacob: 

    I agree with what you have said. I would just like to add that phone interviews are considered to be the first screening test. If your resume has got the talent only than a call lands on your phone. To me phone interviews are a quick way of analyzing whatever you have put on the resume holds true. 

  8. syedzunair
    April 28, 2013

    I absolutely agree with you on this Jacob. Today, only technical skills will not land you into a job. One has to be quite well versed with formal communication, soft skills and must have keen interest in extra curriculars. The reason is that firms these days are looking for all-rounders, if you can call them that. 

  9. syedzunair
    April 28, 2013

    HM: 

    Accents are the toughest bit of phone interviews. Especially, if you are not accustomed to hearing a certain accent. I have often found out that too much accent actually decreases your chances of landing into a personal interview. 

  10. Eldredge
    April 28, 2013

    @syedzunair – quite right – Almost every job description I see emphasizes communication as a required skill for the position. And it's not just formal communication that employers desire – they also want to know if technical personel can communicate effectively in teaching a coaching roles, which requires interpersonal skills as well.

  11. Eldredge
    April 28, 2013

    @ Ruth – I have an interview coming up where I was asked to prepare up to a 30 minute powerpoint presentation covering my bqckground and accomplishments, and a couple of other specific topics. First time I have had that request for an interview, but I like the idea that this approach gives me control, and forces me to present what I want to say in an organized fashion.

  12. Daniel
    April 29, 2013

    “I guess you need to be flexible on phone interviews, communication skills matters a lot because one can't see your face but can only hear you. Too much accent also hurts.”

    HM, yes you are right. You have to take extra care during telephonic interview, because your voice is representing you to the other end.

  13. Daniel
    April 29, 2013

    “At what point is the phone interview just to make sure you are social and don't have communication skills? There's a technical interview but I guess the first is to make sure you fit in the organization.”

    Roques, telephonic interview can be considered as a screening method for remote candidates and it's at par with the first level face to face interview, just to analyze the skills, knowledge and attitude. Once recruiter founds that he is fit for the position, they will call for a face to face discussion.

  14. hash.era
    April 29, 2013

    @syed: I guess it can be done by mastering the volumes. I think there are some good clips on youtube and it will help you to understand the different accents that are being commonly in use.          

  15. syedzunair
    April 30, 2013

    It does absolutely. Yes both technical & formal communication are necessary for working in an organziation. 

  16. syedzunair
    May 6, 2013

    hash: 

    Thanks, for the info. I would give it a shot the next time I think of appearing in an interview. 

  17. hash.era
    May 7, 2013

    @Syed: Exactly and let me know the feedback of it. Im pretty sure the feedback will be very much on the positive side.   

  18. syedzunair
    May 8, 2013

    Sure, let me land into an inteview first. Thanks! 

  19. syedzunair
    May 8, 2013

    Sure, let me land into an inteview first. Thanks! 

  20. syedzunair
    May 8, 2013

    Sure, let me land into an inteview first. Thanks! 

  21. hash.era
    May 10, 2013

    Being positive will take you anywhere. I feel the qualifications will mater only for a piece of paper since once you get called for an interview the CV or the Resume will not be a problem. Its how you face it and how confidence you are will be the key. 

  22. syedzunair
    May 11, 2013

    I agree. The qualifications can only speak on paper. In an interview it is the skill that makes all the difference. 

  23. hash.era
    May 14, 2013

    @Syed: Yes true, you need to be confident on what you are talking and the expressions should be positive during the interview. That will determine your knowledge on the subject matter during the interview. 

  24. syedzunair
    May 19, 2013

    Yes, confidence matters a lot during interviews but it is best suited with sound technical knowledge of the field that you are trying to get into. Confidence without professional knowledge is not that useful.

  25. hash.era
    May 20, 2013

    @Syed: Professional knowledge without confidence is not useful at all since you need confidence to prove the worthiness of you. Without confidence you cannot do anything.   

  26. syedzunair
    May 26, 2013

    Lets just say that both are important and one cannot really do much without the other. 

  27. hash.era
    May 27, 2013

    @Syed: Yes mate that is a good suggestion. If you look at it closely it does have inter-relationships.   

  28. Faten1
    March 28, 2019

    Thanks to the author for unique content. I would like to try some advice. Add a few words from me. First of all, self-presentation is important. I mean, a summary, even for racing. I have come across a search at https://edureviewer.com/resume/resumeprime-com-review/  for fresh reviews on resume services. They also helped me to be afloat and to issue my resume in accordance with professional requirements. It is very important to understand this nuance

  29. anju5421
    March 29, 2019

    ohky

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