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)?
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:
- I don't want to move.
- I don't want to drive that far.
- I can't start for another six months, as I'm on a special project.
- I'm not sure I have the background for this job.
- I never share my last/current salary on the first contact.
- I can only work remote.
- I can't work long hours.
- I need to re-schedule. Something's come up.
- I can't talk right now; my child needs to go to soccer practice.
- I can't talk right now; I'm watching the Rangers play baseball.
- Responding without adequate research.
- Asking too many questions about dress code, stock options, and time off, rather than concentrating on information to assist, not hurt, your search.
- Not giving specific answers to differentiate you from the rest of the candidates.
- Barking dogs, crying babies, and other interruptions in the background diminishing your professional demeanor.
- Focusing on salary rather than talent.
- Talking too much, rambling, and providing irrelevant details.
- Criticizing former managers and co-workers.
- Providing too much personal information; not concentrating on skills.
- Repeatedly re-scheduling or lack of availability.
- Lacking authenticity.
Other game stoppers
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.