Countless times, I’ve heard clients say to me “It’s just a phone interview.” Just a phone interview! Like it’s no big deal. Well it is a big deal, because if you don’t make it through what’s also known as the phone screen, you don’t get the face to face interview, which means you also don’t get the job.
The phone screen has become a rite of passage for someone making a career transition. Before a recruiter decides to advance your resume to his or her client, before an HR professional sends you to the hiring manager, before a hiring manager takes the time to meet with you in person, there has to be a phone interview.
In today’s competitive market, the phone screen is necessary to whittle down the pool of candidates. Without some sort of screening mechanism, no work would be done, there would just be interviewing. That means the phone screen is not to be taken lightly.
A common mistake made by job seekers is not taking the phone interview seriously enough. How do you prep for a phone interview? The same way you would get ready for a face to face encounter. Research the company, prepare to answer questions about your background complete with anecdotes, and have questions ready for the interviewer.
The disadvantage of a phone interview is you don’t have the visual cues like body language to see how your answers are going over. But there are some benefits. You can have notes in front of you that highlight your successes and why you’re a perfect fit for the position. In addition you can have your own questions written out so you don’t forget to cover everything.
Another thing you can do on a phone interview that you can’t do in person, without looking mildly insane, is to smile and stand up while you’re speaking. Smiling and standing dramatically improve your delivery. Smiling adds a positive energy to your voice while standing adds more power. They’re two simple tricks, but if you’re doing them and your competition isn’t you’ll be the stand out candidate.
I recently read a Wall Street Journal Blog, Want to Be CEO? What’s Your BMI? The blog cites new research suggesting “that a few extra pounds or a slightly larger waistline affects an executive’s perceived leadership ability as well as stamina on the job.” Which begs the question, if your body-mass-index is having an impact on your perceived ability when you already hold the position, what kind of impact is it having when you’re looking to make a move?
According to Ana Dutra, the CEO of Korn/Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting, there is a new fitness imperative for executives. It used to be expected that they spend every waking hour on business, but now being fit and exercising is factoring into the executive equation.
Right or wrong, your appearance does play a significant role in the job search process. Because it takes only a matter of seconds to make a first impression, you’re expected to “suit up” and look your best for job interviews. What does that mean if you’re overweight? According to Amanda Sanders, a New York-based image consultant, excess weight can convey weakness or a “lack of control.”
This means an executive who is looking for a new challenge needs not only to demonstrate their ability to achieve significant ROI and to be thought leaders with superior IQs, they also have to go the extra mile (so to speak) to achieve a low BMI.
Now if you’re approaching a job search, in addition to shaping up your resume and executive biography, you might also consider approaching a gym. While content is king in your marketing materials, perception is reality when meeting someone in person.
I recently read a blog post that suggested resumes may soon be a relic of the past. In the Forbes post, 2013: The Year of Social HR, the author points to trends indicating your Internet presence will be more important than your resume. The article states that “before you’re interviewed by a potential employer, expect the recruiting manager or hiring manager to check out one or more of the following sources about you: 1) the top ten searches on your name on either Google or Bing, 2) the number of Twitter followers you have and last time you tweeted, 3) the size and quality of your LinkedIn community, 4) the number and quality of recommendations you have on LinkedIn and 5) your Klout score.”
This begs the question of how you received the interest of the potential employer in the first place. Might it have been a resume? I certainly agree that a LinkedIn profile and online Web Portfolio can complement the traditional resume, but you’ll still need to tell a compelling story about your experience and expertise in the content of those online tools, especially at the executive and upper professional levels. How many executives are spending hours on social media, generating a following through entertaining tweets. And if they are, would your really want them running your operations?
I can see a strong social media presence being important for someone in marketing or advertising, but don’t you want your executives to be spending their time contributing to bottom line growth, running the company or their division? Even if you’re fresh out of college and just starting your career, do you really believe a 140 character tweet will get you in front of a hiring manager? And whether social media will completely replace traditional marketing as far as yielding ROI is not even up for debate at this point, it doesn’t and probably never will. Social media is just another arrow in the quiver of marketing managers.
Remember in the mid to late 90’s when there were dire predictions of Apple’s demise? The last time I checked, it remains an industry leading, technology powerhouse and has not gone the way of the dinosaurs. So too will resumes, in some form or another (LinkedIn, Web Portfolio’s, Online Resumes), always be with us. There’s no better way to share you skills and expertise.