Today, I’d like to give you a tip on how to end every phone interview you have from now on. Many people come to CRC with a chronic problem of not being able to get past the phone interview. Most of the time, they don’t understand the reason why they didn’t move on in the process.
First, it’s important to understand that gatekeepers, like HR Managers and Recruiters, are still sifting through piles of resumes and having multiple hiring meetings daily, and they just don’t have the time to give each candidate individual feedback as to why they were not a good fit for a position. That has given them the reputation of being quite “fickle,” though it’s really just a time management issue, so please don’t hold it against them.
Secondly, please understand that in the game of Job Search Baseball, you’re playing what the Royals call “small ball.” (GO ROYALS!!!) You’re not looking for a lot of grand slams – your best strategy is to make it to just the next base. If you’ve had a phone interview, that’s just first base, and
your primary goal is to set yourself up as an investment that will quickly pay off, and a safe bet to hire, in order to make it to the next base, which is a face to face interview.
Above everything else, you want to leave the phone interview with a CLEAR FUTURE of your next step. Now, usually a job seeker asks the phone interviewer, “So, what’s the next step?” That’s really not the ideal question to ask to get a clear future, as it leaves too much in the hands of the interviewer.
Here’s what I recommend instead; a two-part questioning process that gives you a better estimation as to your future prospects with the company. The first question to ask at the end of the interview is,
“Is there anything else you need to know about me before you make a decision as to whether or not I move on in the hiring process?” This gives the interviewer one last chance to ask anything he or she needs to know. Usually, they will say “no” and oftentimes you can tell from their response how positive they are about your prospects. This uses sales psychology, particularly Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) to solidify the interviewer's commitment to you. When they say, "no," they are actually telling their unconscious mind that they are satisfied with your answers.
Then follow-up with a question about timing. “When will the next round of interviews take place, and do you know who will be interviewing the next round?” This will give you an idea of when you can expect a decision from the person you’re talking with and a call or email regarding moving on in the process. This will also allow you some time to do your research on the person or people you would be talking with in the next interview.
Two great resources to find out information that you can use to build rapport are a person’s Facebook profile and a little-known website called
PIPL.com. Stay away from the “sponsored results” in PIPL, because you don’t want to pay for information, but you can find plenty of info for free on that site. You can do research that goes way beyond every other candidate, who is just reading the LinkedIn profiles of their interviewers.
If you happen to be in a phone conversation/interview with the decision maker/hiring manager/person who you would report to, there is an extra step you can take to boost your odds of moving into a face to face interview, and that is to
ASK FOR THE SALE!
Keep in mind, the sale we're talking about is not the job itself, but just a face to face meeting.
In other words, simply ask for the face to face meeting. You can use a soft-sell approach to this, by asking,
“You know, after talking with you today, I’m even more excited about your company and this opportunity than when I sent you my resume. Is there a time next week that would be good to meet in your office to talk about your specific needs in more detail?” Then attempt to get a date/time to meet in person (this works in the case that the company is local).
If they can’t meet in the office, you could suggest a lunch date, as you increase your likability if you are sharing a meal with someone. It also gives you a more relaxed atmosphere to have a two-way exploratory conversation, which is what a great face to face interview feels like. I would suggest you pick up the tab, if you are able.
Most executive job seekers spend a majority of their time and attention just trying to get to first base, the phone interview, and then they find themselves a little unprepared for the rest of the process. In my view, it comes from an erroneous belief that most people have, that
if they just get their foot in the door, they can easily win the job.
The reality is, it’s just not that easy, as you are competing with other top performers that believe the same thing. You must position yourself as an investment, which takes a lot of pre-work on your part, as well as using sales psychology throughout the interviewing process to ultimately win the job and start your next career with a company that will pay you what you’re worth and respect your gifts!