Archives for posts with tag: telephone interviewing

I remember growing up if I asked for something and didn’t say “please” my parents would ignore my request. Once I restated the question and added that little word, they would honor the request and we would carry on. After the request was granted or acknowledged, it was a given there would be a follow up “thank you.” This was for everything. Can we go to the park? “crickets….crickets…crickets…” Can we go to the park please? Even though my mom was probably dying to get my brother and me out of the house to run off some of our energy, she still managed to hold off and make sure we used our manners.

I would like to believe many other parents did their children the same favor and we as a society are well mannered. Unfortunately, I would be delusional if i thought that to be the case. I don’t know when in time the shift occurred, but “please” and “thank you” seem to be heard less and less. Why is that? Did it decline as technology has increased? Doubtful, some of the highest level people in the IT world I know feel the same way as me so that’s not it. Is it a generational gap between the boomers, gen X or Y? No again, I have seen it across the board. Is it because we are used to bossing Siri around sayingImage “Siri tell me…” This could be a possibility, but Siri was programmed by someone else so not there either.

I’m not one to do a lot of research for my blogs nor am I one to think I can change the world with my bi-weekly ramblings. I do however believe I can help some people and hopefully change a few lives for the better in the process. I also try and be as simple as possible so it can apply to as many people as possible. (the 15 or so people that read this anyway). I would like to let you in what apparently is a little known secret to job seekers out there.

One of the easiest ways to eliminate yourself from the running for a new position is to neglect sending a follow up email. Within that email “thank you for your time” should show up at least once, if not twice. You could be the number 1 candidate, go through multiple interviews and all but have the job, but if you don’t send an email to thank your interviewers for their time and the opportunity to speak with them and learn about their company, you could very easily lose the position to the number 2 or number 3 candidate.

Don’t believe me? I have spoken with 4 different hiring managers within the past few weeks who commented on the lack of a follow up email. 1 candidate was very well qualified, but do to her lack of follow up, she was set to the side as we searched for others. Another candidate for a different position had a great interview, was qualified, and we would have moved her on to the next steps in the process, but she didn’t follow up within 24 or even 72 hours for that matter so we assumed she wasn’t interested. She called me yesterday to see if we filled the position! She interviewed 3 weeks ago!!! Usually I speak with candidates fairly soon after they interview so I can hear their thoughts, but this particular position would require great follow up skills, so I wanted to see how hers were by not calling or emailing.

                                 Image

You might be saying you would like to send a thank you email, but don’t have the email addresses of those you met with. Do you have 1 address? I bet that person would be happy to pass along your appreciation. Don’t even have 1? How about the person who set up the interview, did they send you pre-interview paperwork or directions? I bet they can help direct you. Still nobody? Call the main number, explain to the person you speak with who you are and let them know you would like to send a thank you note, but was so wrapped up in the interview you forgot to get a card and need an email address. I am willing to bet between those options, SOMEONE would be able to help.

Want to take it a step further? After you write a brief two or three sentence email thanking each individual person (if possible) for their time, send a handwritten thank you note as well. Do the email within 24 hours if possible, no later than 48 and do the handwritten note literally right after the email so it’s still fresh in your mind.Image The email will show your interest and also allow you to add something else you may have forgotten to mention in the interview. Most people are doing this or should be doing this, so in order to take it even 1 step further, sending a handwritten note could help you rise to the top.

These might seem like little, trivial ideas, but appreciation is becoming a lost art and those who are able to hold on to it will have the appreciation reciprocated. It may not be immediately for this particular position due to other circumstances, but I can promise it will help you stand out and will not go unnoticed.

Have you had a similar experience where someone “forgot” to send a follow up email? Have you had someone recently send a handwritten thank you note that caught you off guard? Please tell me about it and what your thoughts are! Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

So you have been looking for a new gig for a while and finally you find one that is worth checking out.  You get on LinkedIn and see if you know anyone in your network working there now or even in the past.  You find out the company is indeed a place you could see yourself in the future and continue to take the next steps.    You ask your colleague to make an introduction for you with the hiring manager and you also apply online through the company website.

All of this assumes of course you actually HAVE a LinkedIn profile which you have been building as well as the fact you are utilizing the relationships you have been cultivating.  If however, for some reason you have not then please let me know and I would be more than happy to assist you.

Well your colleague makes the introduction for you through LinkedIn and your previous experiences coupled with your complete LinkedIn profile land you a telephone interview with the hiring manager.  It’s only 30-45 minutes, but you are certain you will wow her and she will want you to come in and meet the rest of the team right away.  As with most telephone interviews, this is just to screen you to see if you would be a fit with the team, to make sure your skills on your resume all match up, and what type of personality you have.  This is often done by an internal recruiter, HR, or someone else, but since you showed the gumption to seek out the hiring manager she decides to perform the phone screen herself.

Right away you know you are moving on to the next stage in the process.  You did your research and aside from the colleague making the initial introduction, you tell the manager about the multiple similarities the two of you share which you found out by following her on Twitter.  You tell her how your background is a perfect match for what they are looking for and how you would be able to come in right away and make a difference and how much value you bring and this and that and everything else.  And on and on and on.

While all of this is ok in moderation, that is the magic word at this stage of the game.  MODERATION.  You may be very well suited to have an immediate impact. But how do you know exactly what this organization is looking for or even this particular group?  More than likely you know what they do and what they are looking for by the job description, but all too often even the hiring manager doesn’t TRULY know what is needed so chances are slim you have any clue at all!

Again, I am not against selling yourself to some degree, but just make sure you don’t over do it.  In fact, I encourage you to sell yourself!   Interviewing is about you selling yourself and your skills while the company sells themselves and the opportunity.  In theory.  And while many have the misconception that a great salesperson is someone that talks a lot, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  They DO talk a lot, but if they are doing it properly, they are asking questions or if they are answering questions, they are keeping it brief.  When you are talking the entire interview of course you think it went well.  As humans we love nothing more than to hear our own name and our own voice.  So if YOU are doing all of the talking you think everything is going well and you are a shoe in for the job.  Again, this is wrong.

Almost 100% of the time when someone calls me after their interview and tells me they aced it and they are certain it will go to the next level or they will get the job I know I need to find someone else to fill the position.  There are times where that isn’t the case, but it’s rare.  Confidence is great and all, but you spent the whole time talking and didn’t give the manager the chance to get to really know you and build rapport.  In sales (and interviews) building trust and rapport is so important that you can toss everything else out the window if you don’t have it.  That is why I say it’s great in moderation, but just make sure you are having a conversation, not a monologue.  Ask how she progressed to the current position.  What drew her to the company when she first started?  Something!  When you actually converse it allows you to uncover some of the needs possibly not mentioned on the job description which will allow you to speak of your unique attributes and how they relate to the position.

One of the main, if not THE main reason for speaking too much is being excited and/or nervous.  Trust me, I am quite guilty of this.  This is why the importance of practice interviews is a constant subject when performing searches on interview preparation.  By knowing what you are going to say, you are able to listen more and when the time is right sell your skills which will in turn enhance your chances to beat out the competition. 

So next time you finish up an interview, look back and ask yourself if you did all of the talking.  If your answer is “yes,” it may not be the best idea to start writing your two weeks notice.  If the answer is “no,” it’s still not the best idea to start writing your two weeks notice, but the odds will be stacked higher in your favor and you may be that much closer to your next great opportunity!

What do you think?  Have you been in this situation before or know someone who has? Please leave me some comments below and remember if there is anything I can do to help with any of this please let me know as I am more than happy to assist with the difficulties of the job search.