The first contact for an interview often forms the first impression for both the job seeker and interviewer. Make the most of that opportunity to form a positive first impression with the employer.
Finally! You, the job seeker gets the long hoped-for call. It’s a request for an interview, and the hiring manager is on the phone wanting to set up a suitable time to meet with the candidate. This is an often-overlooked opportunity to further sell yourself to the employer. Play it right, and you will establish a good rapport that can start the interview process in a favorable light. But, if you miss a step, you can sabotage your chances, which means that it will be doubly important to do well on the job interview. Here are some tips to make sure that you make an effective positive impression when you finally get that call.
- Have a professional greeting on your voice mail message. Leave the music, kids voices, and slangauge off the cell phone greeting, and make sure that the caller can identify your name on the greeting.
- Answer the phone in a professional, but positive manner. “This is ____ (insert first name), may I help you?”
- When speaking, your tone of voice should reflect that the caller is important to you.
- If a phone message is taken by another person, make sure that they understand how to accurately write down the phone message and then place the message in a pre-determined spot. If you have children or another person that will answer the phone, make sure that they know how to write the pertinent details of the phone message, so that you can promptly return the call. Establish a place where the written phone messages are to be posted. Nothing is worse than finding out that a person called to schedule an interview, and you did not get the message until two days later.
- Show a sense of urgency in returning the call. If you were the hiring manager, what would your impression be of a person who courteously and professionally returned your call within a few minutes, vs someone who waited two or three days to respond? Chances are that the person who does not return the call within a few hours will lose the interview spot to another candidate.
- If you do not talk live to the person setting up the interview, promptly call back and confirm that you will accept the interview.
- For those collecting unemployment in Michigan, you must be able and available at all times. Unless someone is in the Emergency room, or it is a death in the family, informing an interviewer that you can’t take that specific interview slot, can be reported to the UIA. If it is reported, you can lose your unemployment benefits for that week.
- If you need to think about whether you want the interview, chances are they won’t want you. In Michigan, when there are approximately five unemployed people for every job that is posted, there are plenty of other candidates who will be glad to take your interview slot. Why should an employer further consider someone who has to think about whether they still want the job interview?
- Use caution if you cannot make the time they suggest. You would be surprised as some of the reasons candidates give for conflicts. Excuses to switch the interview times send the message that there are more important things than working for this company. And, chances are that the company will decide that there are more important candidates to consider. If you must reschedule, make sure that you have a viable reason that an employer will understand; otherwise, reschedule the conflict in favor of the interview.
- Make sure that you have the correct interview date, time and location. Write down the name(s) and phone numbers of the people you will meet (if given to you).
Following these tips will help maximize the first impression with the hiring manager.
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