So You Hate Your Job, Part IV: The Phone Screen

So You Hate Your Job, Part IV: The Phone Screen

Check out last week’s installment of “So You Hate Your Job”

I’ll start by saying that it took me a solid two minutes to remember that “four” in Roman Numerals is “IV” and not “IIII.” I bring that up because a lot of recruiters, and damn near everyone in corporate America who had time off, is going to feel like a steaming bag of turd this week.

If you’ve followed all of the steps thus far and managed to land yourself an interview or a phone call, keep in mind that the recruiter on the other end of the phone is dragging and probably trying to remember why they thought it would be a good idea this morning to mix banana crème protein powder and chocolate peanut butter weight loss powder into one shake.

Why do I bring this up? Because it matters for the candidate. I’ll be honest, I don’t feel like doing a damn thing until I head off to Disneyland this weekend for a national convention. I’m not alone in that feeling, after checking our online chat system at my company this morning I’ve noticed that exactly one out of twenty-five people I work with have “logged on” by 10 a.m.

Because the recruiters are feeling less than motivated today, this is likely not a good week to talk to them. You’ve probably noticed by now that tons of open positions are hitting the job boards and company websites this morning which is typical for this time of year.

Now that you’ve applied, you notice that your phone lights up from an unknown number and there is a recruiter on the other end of it. So, what do you do? You stall.

It looks something like this:

“Hey Kiawah, my name is Island and I work as a recruiter at the Strip Club. I got your application over the break for an Account Executive here and would love to speak with you some more about this position and go over some of the details with you before potentially advancing you forward.”

“Hey Island, that’s fantastic news! I’m actually about to step into a meeting right now, can I call you back on Friday morning? My schedule is full today and then tomorrow and Thursday I’ll be laying the ground-work for some of our initiatives this quarter and calendar year. Is there a time on Friday that works for you? I’m really excited about learning some more about the position and the Strip Club has long been a dream company of mine to work for.”

So, after months of a dry spell, why would you stall once you’ve got this rando into the Uber with you? Lots of reasons. First, the previously mentioned general apathy that a lot of people are feeling right now.

Second, you’re able to make yourself sound incredibly important in your current role that will likely make the recruiter intrigued and you’ll seem to have more responsibility than you actually do.

Third, and most importantly, stalling gives you some time to not only prep for the interview, but to do some research on the role you applied for on Glassdoor.

Let’s be honest with ourselves here; you’ve likely applied for 20+ positions across 20+ different companies. That’s fine, I know you did that, you know you did that, everyone knows you did that. The biggest thing recruiters are looking for in a phone screen is that the candidate has great communication skills and that they are able to walk a recruiter line-by-line through their resume and tie their previous experience into the role that the recruiter is presenting you with.

If you don’t remember the finer details of the role you applied for, there’s a decent chance you could fall on your face trying to tie what you’ve done previously into what you could do in this position. Trust me, this job isn’t moving so fast that 48 hours will make-or-break you. Take the time and go hit up Glassdoor. On Glassdoor, you need to first check the salary for this position, preferably in your geographic area. I can guarantee that at some point your minimum salary requirements will come up with regards to this position. If they are willing to pay you 60 but you tell them your minimum is 45, they’ll likely pay you 45. Glassdoor will tell you what they are willing to pay someone in this role.

Next, check out the common interview questions on Glassdoor as it relates to the company and the position. Companies are incredibly predictable when it comes to interviews. If one good thing came from the Occupy Wall Street people, it’s that they created a mentality of “us vs. the company.” While that isn’t an amazing mentality to have, it has led to lots of candidates and employees dumping loads of information on the internet about interviews, salary, expectations, etc. I’ve even found usable stuff as it relates to an interview on Reddit.

48 hours later and it’s finally phone screen time. You’ve got a good idea of the questions they’re going to ask you and you feel ready. My biggest preparation for an interview is to take every single possible question they could ask me and then paste those questions into Microsoft Word. I then go in there and type out answers to each and every question.

While I don’t recommend reading verbatim off of this file during a phone screen, I’ve found it very helpful to sit down and actually think about what I would say to some of these questions. This forces you to think about your biggest failure, your biggest accomplishment, the time you changed direction mid-project, etc. A lot of interview questions are things you don’t normally think about or tell your friends about during happy hour. Because the questions aren’t natural conversation points, it’s helpful to think about them beforehand.

How would I personally answer some of the common interview questions? I’ll cover that next week once my brain allows me to start functioning again.

Image via Shutterstock

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Kiawah Island Strip Club

I'd rather be golfing. Seattle sucks so I write about that. Also work...ish in recruiting. Shoot your resume to for any and all job hunt questions.

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