The following are some tips and tricks for you, the interviewee, to keep in mind the next time you have to do a telephone interview.
Usually, the first interview with a new company is a telephone screen (a ‘screener’). It may not even be with the hiring manager or a person you might ultimately work with.
What I want to talk about today is specifically about the screener and how to ace it. I do a lot of screeners and experience lots of beginners who make deadly mistakes, again and again.
Let me just run through a few key issues so you can avoid them.
You need to make sure that the signal coming from your end is very, very clear. I find, particularly with folks who are calling in from Africa or Israel or India, interviewees frequently use cheap phones; cheap headphones, or bad VoIP lines. I can barely hear half the answers they’re giving to me. Even if they are great candidates.
Most likely the interviewer will give you a little intro at the beginning of the call saying, “This is what we need…” or “This is my understanding of the role…” or “This is who we are and this is what we’re looking for…” If so, focus your comments around that description and not the long story about how great you are. The interviewer really wants to hear how your background applies specifically to the job they’ve just described.
It’s also possible when you pick up the phone they’ll immediately say, “So, tell me about you.” If that happens, I would strongly recommend saying, “Before I tell you about me, could you tell me a little bit about your impression about the role and maybe tell me about the company or tell me about the group?”
Focus your comments there.
That’s not what I asked. What I asked is how you estimate requirements. Right now. Make your answer short and concise. At the end, ask, “Would you like to hear more details or is that enough?” Even if the interviewer asks for more, keep it short.
Holding off on the money conversation is not always possible, of course. If HR gets involved early in the process, they’re going to ask you what your current base is, and you need to answer.
If you have to answer, your answer should be something like: “X is my current base and Y is what I’m looking to receive if I move to this new position in this new city. These are the type of benefits I’m looking for, but I’m certainly flexible and I’d love to talk with you more about it as we go through the interviewing process.”
If you are talking about an hourly position, you will have to reveal what your hourly rate is from the very beginning. If you don’t know what it is you need to figure it out before you get on the call. To not know what your hourly rate is on your initial call for a contracting position is the sign of a beginner. The easy way to figure it out (if you are currently full-time) is to take your base salary and divide it by 2080 (the number of working hours typically in a year). We recommend you then add 30% to cover health insurance and any travel expenses you may have.
But it’s more likely they’ll say, “I need to hear more details about X.”
If so, deliver.
Instead of saying “Get me a Scrum Master,” you want hiring managers to say, “Get me Barc Holmes!” or whatever your name is. You want the hiring manager to know you already and want to work with you because they like you and know you’ve got the skills.
And that doesn’t mean to start networking or advertising. Instead, ask yourself, “Who are my friends in the industry right now?” Talk to them first. They may not be able to offer you a job, but they may know somebody who is looking for somebody like you.
Have them introduce you.
It’s good to constantly remind your friends (and I hope that includes past co-workers and bosses) that you are an expert in your field. Periodically send them a note and say, “Hey! have you read this article?” or “Have you looked at this blog that I wrote?” or “Have you seen this series of tweets from this guy that I think is important?” They’ll know that you are part of a community of experts and part of the conversation about new techniques, new tools, and new processes. When they need somebody like you, they’ll remember that you sent them that article a couple of months ago.
Try not to be part of a mass interview, but instead be the person that executives, managers, and your friends call on because you’re the person known to be knowledgeable in a certain area.
Those are my tips for better interviewing and the last one, of course, is to not interview.
Get out there start writing, start making friends, start providing value, and start sharing your wealth.
Welcome to Coral Mountain Consulting, a Deliverse company. We are glad you found us. If you need to contact us, please call or email Barc directly.
Phone: 1-(626) 644-3857
Office: 2122 New York Drive, Altadena, CA 91001