You’ve updated your resume, checked it one last time and removed that quip about liking Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain, filled out the application form, and clicked ‘Submit.’  

PHEW! Job application – done. So, what’s next?

Generally, the hiring manager or recruiter will review the applications and call some key applicants to determine their suitability for the role.

Remember, this first conversation isn’t technically a ‘phone interview’, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat it as seriously as you would a phone interview.

(Traditionally a phone interview will be organised for a scheduled time, will last around 30 minutes and will be structured similarly to an in-person job interview)

So how do you put your best foot forward during that first contact and avoid the oh so common foot in mouth scenario?

First – phone etiquette.

Check your voicemail greeting – is it five years out of date and needs to be updated? If so, do it now.

Remember when you are applying for a job (or multiple jobs) that you will be receiving these calls. When an unknown number calls you, make sure to pick it up with a professional greeting such as:

Hello, ‘your name’ speaking” and not “Yo, what up?”

Trust me…it’s happened before!

Think about your location.

Are you in the middle of a crowded shopping centre? Is someone mowing the lawn right outside your window? Are you sitting in your current office with your boss around the corner?

If you find yourself in a noisy location, consider moving to a quiet, private room or let the recruiter know you will give them a call back. It’s better to call them back then try and have a conversation with screaming children or nosey colleagues looking over your shoulder.

Now let’s get into it, what do we talk about?

The recruiter could ask you a range of questions from why you applied for the position, your current working situation, what you think you could bring to the role etc.

Remember not to just rattle off information from your resume. They already have that in front of them. Focus on answering their questions with relevant information they can’t see on your resume. Think about the job description and consider what you want to tell them and finally know your salary requirements.

Keep your answers succinct.

Remember you may be invited to a formal interview after this conversation where you can really sell yourself and your skills but for now – short, simple and relevant answers are key.

Listen to what you’re being asked. This might sound odd, but often candidates can get so caught up in talking about themselves that they forget to answer the question they have been directly asked, so make sure to listen up!

Don’t forget it’s a dialogue.

It can be difficult to gauge someone’s reactions over the phone as you can’t see facial expressions or body language but don’t worry too much. A good tip is to smile whilst talking. It relaxes you, slows your speaking, and you can almost hear it over the phone.    

Burning questions?

Don’t hesitate to ask questions; it shows you’re interested in the role and engaged in the conversation. Again, don’t forget this is generally a short phone call, so if you have ten questions maybe just stick to the two or three most important ones.

Next steps.

When finishing up the recruiter may organise a formal interview. If this is the case, once you hop off the phone, a good rule of thumb is to write down the details. If they don’t organise anything following the conversation, don’t stress. They might be calling quite a few people before organising follow up interviews, so keep that in mind.

Make sure you finish professionally.

Thank the recruiter for calling and let them know they are welcome to contact you again if they have further questions.

That’s it. You’re done! You can breathe easy and relax knowing you have made a great first impression.

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