Put your best foot forward.
Like many of you I experience the dichotomy of looking for talent and yet struggling to find people. With over 12 million unemployed in the US (some estimates are much higher) its not that we lack qualified candidates but some people hurt themselves unnecessarily.
If you're looking for work stay after it: people like me are looking for you. Yet take a lesson from the following.
Are You Ready?
In the past I've told you why its so important to have your phone number (make sure its the right one please) and email on every bit of correspondence (yes, candidates still omit these), so what happens when a recruiter reaches out to you?
- Be ready. Not ready for the call? Let it go to voicemail. Me? I never take calls from unknown numbers or numbers I can't recognize. I will listen to all my VM though. If a recruiter leaves a VM call them back. That better be within 24 hours by the way
- Be sober. Yes, it happens. At least once a week I reach a candidate in rare and what seems to be inebriated form. While notable it is not helpful (to you). Makes my list shorter though. My fav in the last week was the [former] candidate who slurred her words, asked for $20k more than the job is worth and clinked her ice cubes. Incessantly
- Be professional. If you cannot talk to me now give me an alternate time. Recruiters do not work 9-5: we will reach you later. It is not professional to whisper from your current employer's office, run out into a windy parking lot or speak in code so no one (including your recruiter) knows what you're saying.
Are you Experienced?
Assuming you're available, sober and rational let's chat reality for a moment.
- Know your skills. I can't tell you what you're gifted at: you need to tell me and illustrate it. “Getting along well with others” is not a skill, in a collaborative economy its an expectation. Your recruiter needs to hear about skills, strengths and competencies. And examples. Have them ready
- Know your market. All jobs fall into pay ranges. Know this range, ask for it, and be proud of your worth and value. Asking for far more – or less – as a range never helps you. And please don't bring comp up too early. When to do it? My rule of thumb is when you are invited to the site to interview in person
- Know your career path. Not only should you be able to discuss where you want to go, but where you've been as well. Please be ready to share a little bit of what you learned at past employers. Every job you've had is a learning laboratory – what did you find out? And never, ever denigrate a past employer. Just don't – you will not win this one
You don't need to be anyone but yourself to do well in a phone screen or an interview. But remeber the job-hunting process is much more marathon than sprint. You need to prepare yourself for a long-term effort.
And remember to let those calls go to voicemail once the ice cubes start clinking.