5 Tips to Ace a Phone Interview

Ever wonder how to increase the odds of getting a personal interview? In today’s society getting passed the phone interviews can be tricky. Previously, employers wanted to meet job candidates in person, but now due to time constraints, everything is being done via phone or internet.

In the economy today there is so much competition for jobs. Employers now get swamped with applicants and meeting with every applicant is impossible. The telephone interview became the first step, in what can be a long process. So to get you off to a good start of getting an on-site interview, here are five tips to ace the phone interview:

Tip #1 If you have a scheduled phone interview, it’s best to prepare ahead of time; just like you would for an on-site interview. Researching the company beforehand can make or break the chances of making it to the next step in the interview process. When researching the company, their website is going to be the main place you will want to start. Other tools to investigate the company could be social media, news articles, and word of mouth. Once you have collected a good amount of information about the business, you will be able to identify their needs, and how you can fill that void.

Tip #2 Have your resume handy! Chances are the interviewer is looking at your resume while speaking to you, and that will allow you to highlight some of your accomplishments. Remember to formulate your responses in way that fills the employer’s needs, and give examples of previous experiences that makes you the best fit for the position.

Tip #3 When looking at your resume are there any periods of unemployment? Do you have difficulty discussing your reasons for seeking new employment? Tip #3 is to practice your answers with friends. Practicing your responses as to why you had to take time off, or leave a certain company will give the interviewer a clearer understanding of your history. At times it can be difficult not to describe previous jobs, or employers in a good light, but do your best not to speak of them in a completely negative way.

Tip #4 Aim to discuss the attributes of previous positions and describe your performance in detail. The goal is to establish ways that you were successful when overcoming challenges, and examples of how you improved the situation. If you have numbers that can help demonstrate how the changes you implemented were successful, use them! Make sure you memorize the numbers to keep from giving misinformation.

Tip #5 In today’s job force, taking charge of towards the end of the call can be a great strategy. Using this strategy allows you to reiterate your enthusiasm for the position, and recap the highlights of why you would be best suited for the position.  And finally, assume the greenlight for the next step in the hiring process. Ask “What is the next step, (interviewer’s name)? When does the staffing coordinator normally have interview appointments?” Due to this type of initiative, this strategy could inspire the interviewer to potentially schedule the on-site interview, or keep you from waiting for a call that will never happen.

Remember to smile, while you use these 5 tips to ace your next phone interview!

Need help practicing your responses, contact us at JumpStartResumes.com

5 Ways Your Bogus Resume Hurts You

  1. It looks fake

Most HR professionals are experienced in determining which resumes have false information, or are extremely exaggerated. It’s easy for them to spot which are fake because of the information does not correspond to previous job experiences, and does not fit the context of the work history.

  1. Your resume is off to the ‘No pile’

Most potential employers have a no tolerance policy for lying or exaggerating so when the fake information is discovered, your resume will automatically be screened out.

  1. It will become obvious in an interview

There could be a possibility of making it to the interview step in the process, but if you falsified your work experience, the hiring personnel will see that your resume is obviously fake. The interviewer will be asking questions regarding the information listed on your resume, and if your responses do not support what was detailed, in most instances, you will not get the job.

  1. It will be exposed during background and reference checks

If you are questioned about any criminal history or violations, and deny it, it will quickly be discovered during a background check. Additionally, if you described yourself as an outstanding employee at a previous job, and during the reference call the former employer contradicted what was said during the interview process, the potential employer will start to distrust your true abilities.

  1. It becomes apparent when you start working

If somehow, you make it through the hiring process, and get offered the job, don’t throw a party just yet. It may take some time, but the truth will come out about your exaggerated information once you start the job, and cannot demonstrate what you claimed to be able to do. At this point, you may find yourself getting a demotion, or terminated.

10 Most Common Interview Questions

What Are Your Weaknesses?

This is the most dreaded question of all. Handle it by minimizing your weakness and emphasizing your strengths. Stay away from personal qualities and concentrate on professional traits: “I am always working on improving my communication skills to be a more effective presenter. I recently joined Toastmasters, which I find very helpful.”

Why Should We Hire You?

Summarize your experiences: “With five years’ experience working in the financial industry and my proven record of saving the company money, I could make a big difference in your company. I’m confident I would be a great addition to your team.”

Why Do You Want to Work Here?

The interviewer is listening for an answer that indicates you’ve given this some thought and are not sending out resumes just because there is an opening. For example, “I’ve selected key companies whose mission statements are in line with my values, where I know I could be excited about what the company does, and this company is very high on my list of desirable choices.”

What Are Your Goals?

Sometimes it’s best to talk about short-term and intermediate goals rather than locking yourself into the distant future. For example, “My immediate goal is to get a job in a growth-oriented company. My long-term goal will depend on where the company goes. I hope to eventually grow into a position of responsibility.”

Why Did You Leave (Are You Leaving) Your Job?

If you’re unemployed, state your reason for leaving in a positive context: “I managed to survive two rounds of corporate downsizing, but the third round was a 20 percent reduction in the workforce, which included me.”

If you are employed, focus on what you want in your next job: “After two years, I made the decision to look for a company that is team-focused, where I can add my experience.”

When Were You Most Satisfied in Your Job?

The interviewer wants to know what motivates you. If you can relate an example of a job or project when you were excited, the interviewer will get an idea of your preferences. “I was very satisfied in my last job, because I worked directly with the customers and their problems; that is an important part of the job for me.”

What Can You Do for Us That Other Candidates Can’t?

What makes you unique? This will take an assessment of your experiences, skills and traits. Summarize concisely: “I have a unique combination of strong technical skills, and the ability to build strong customer relationships. This allows me to use my knowledge and break down information to be more user-friendly.”

What Are Three Positive Things Your Last Boss Would Say About You?

It’s time to pull out your old performance appraisals and boss’s quotes. This is a great way to brag about yourself through someone else’s words: “My boss has told me that I am the best designer he has ever had. He knows he can rely on me, and he likes my sense of humor.”

What Salary Are You Seeking?

It is to your advantage if the employer tells you the range first. Prepare by knowing the going rate in your area, and your bottom line or walk-away point. One possible answer would be: “I am sure when the time comes, we can agree on a reasonable amount. In what range do you typically pay someone with my background?”

If You Were an Animal, Which One Would You Want to Be?

Interviewers use this type of psychological question to see if you can think quickly. If you answer “a bunny,” you will make a soft, passive impression. If you answer “a lion,” you will be seen as aggressive. What type of personality would it take to get the job done? What impression do you want to make?

For more interviewing tips, visit JumpStartResumes.com.

How to Get the Salary You Deserve

Did you know that most hiring managers are inexperienced with the interview process?  You can gain the advantage by fully understanding how to properly write a powerful resume and be an effective interviewee/negotiator – you can ultimately control the interview and put more money in your pocket.

Here are some of the scenarios you can expect to encounter the salary question when applying for a job and the best ways to tackle the challenge:

Avoid Being the First to Mention Salary

Usually the first person to name a number loses the advantage in the negotiation process.  On a job application you might even consider writing “negotiable” in the salary block or state a range that is from the middle up to 110%. Remember, it is easier to negotiate down than it is up.

 

Check out similar positions online at sites like www.salary.com or www.indeed.com to help determine the salary range,

 

When you hear the salary question early on, it’s best to deflect your answer. You can say something like “Before we discuss salary, what are the two most important things, the person you hire, needs to know to hit the ground running?” This statement forces the interviewer to respond with an answer and gives the candidate the opportunity to reply with a response that further defines your worth to the company.

Think Total Compensation Package

You can expect to be asked about what you were making at your old job, so be ready with an answer.

One common mistake when talking about previous salary is forgetting to include benefits as part of your total compensation. For example, if you are earning $ 75,000 a year with a 25% bonus plus health, dental and other incidental benefits, you should answer the question by saying, “$93,750 plus generous benefits.”

This will prove useful if you’re not able to negotiate on the amount of money you’re earning. For example, if you’re coming from a job where you had three weeks of paid vacation and are being offered two weeks – negotiating more time off might be easier than going after a higher salary.

Take Time to Decide

You might feel the pressure to accept an offer right away, but it’s wise to take at least 24 hours to make a decision. Be sure to ask for the offer in writing so that you can see how it breaks down in terms of salary and benefits.

Good Luck!

If you need some extra help or practice with getting the salary you deserve, contact JumpStart Resumes.

The Importance of the Resume “Objective Statement”

After reviewing and adding comment to several resume writing and job hunting discussions groups, via the Internet, I’ve notice a variety of views on the need for an “Objective” in the resume.   I have been in recruiting for more than 17 years and have been able to gather plenty of statistics about recruiter performance.  The average recruiter with handle between 12-17 open positions at any one time.  Even though we are suppose to be moving toward a “paperless” society; in my opinion, most recruiters are “paper-driven” when they are reviewing resumes. 

 Most recruiters will take an average of 30-45 seconds to quickly review your resume. Now think about that – if the recruiter is working 12-17 open positions at one time; how are they going to keep track of their “paper” resumes – they will focus on the “Objective “ to ensure it gets into the right stack.   The stack with that title then gets turned into three stacks – Yes, Maybe and No. You want your resume in the “Yes” stack. 

If your resume has a long and flowery “Objective” Statement such as “I want to use my talents to further the goals of the organization….” it will probably be placed in the “Maybe” stack because the recruiter may not understand what exact position you are applying for within their organization. 

Help the recruiter with your Objective” Statement and get your resume to the “Yes” stack.

Need more help getting into the “Yes” stack? Contact JumpStart Resumes!

4 Tips to Successful Salary Negotiations

There are four main strategies to use in optimizing your position during salary negotiations. Each one is aimed at getting the hiring manager to disclose their offer before you state a number.

1—Deflect The Question
The first time that you are asked about salary, especially if it comes early in the interview process, try to deflect the question with something like: “Salary is one of the things I’m looking at but, since it’s early in the discussion, could we put that off until later, after you have had a chance to learn more about me and I have learned more about the requirements of the specific position?”

2—Turn The Question Around
When the salary question comes up again, try to get the employer to state a figure first by responding with something like, “Well, I’m sure you have a range in mind for the position, would you mind sharing what that is?”

3—State A Range Only
Before you interview, you should research what the typical salary range is for the type of position you are seeking, at the appropriate level, industry and geographic location you are targeting. When you are asked about salary, you can respond with something like: “Salary won’t be a problem. According to my research, similar positions are paying in the range of $xxx to $xxxx.”

4—Reassure the Interviewer
At any time that the salary issue comes up, reassure the interviewer that salary won’t be a problem, and proceed with determining if this is the right fit for both of you. A sample response might be: “If I’m the right person for the position, I’m sure that salary won’t be a problem.”

For all of this to work properly, you need to have a quality resume, polished interviewing skills, and understand the importance of keeping in touch with everyone in your network. For other job hunting tips, or professional assistance visit our site at JumpStartResumes.com.