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Candidate Number Seven

Angela Gatewood -- Cut through the competition! A corporate recruiter shares top phone interview tips to help you impress and make it to the next level.

Life as a Corporate Recruiter can be extremely exciting!

No matter how much I plan ahead my priorities are always changing. There is plenty of variety regarding the open positions I am trying to fill, and, of course, I have the privilege of assisting individuals with furthering their careers. However, amongst all that excitement the job, at times, requires long days of back-to-back phone interviews; sometimes up to eight interviews a day! Asking eight candidates the same questions again and again, one right after the other, and hearing the same answers over and over can become quite mundane. By the time 3:00 PM rolls around on one of these hectic days I am usually on my seventh interview. At this point I am feeling restless, a little sleepy from lunch, and I can feel myself losing concentration. When I am in this state it is unfortunate for candidate number seven, especially if they are unable to stand out and be memorable.

Last week, I experienced this exact scenario. However, the outcome left me feeling not drained, but exhilarated! No, not because my afternoon interviews were canceled... but because I had the opportunity to experience the best phone interview I have had in a long time. It started, mind you, just like any other Regional Sales Position interview. I began asking the same questions that I had asked the previous candidates that day; however, during this interview I felt myself sitting up in my chair, listening intently, smiling, and finally overflowing with recruiter love! Yes, that's right, recruiter love—the moment when a recruiter knows they have found the right candidate! I became so excited by the time the interview was over I wanted to applaud this candidate and give her a standing ovation, just as you would the star of a Broadway play. She was that exciting! Thank you candidate number seven!! Thank you for reminding me why I love this job! So what made this candidate stand out from the rest? What made me want to bring this candidate in the next day to meet the hiring managers? Simple: she had the "wow" factor.

If you are currently looking for a job, chances are you will be asked to do a phone interview with me, the corporate recruiter, before being invited to an in-person interview. The outcome of this interview will determine if you are moved forward in the hiring process or not. Unfortunately, there is also a chance that you could be candidate number seven. Just as the candidate in the above scenario, it is imperative that you "wow" and excite me!

First, make sure you have a good phone connection. A land line is best. If one is not available, and you are using your cell phone, make sure you are in an area where you have excellent reception. And stay put during the interview! There is nothing more frustrating than trying to interview someone who sounds like they are under water. Well, actually, there is something more frustrating—dropped calls. It is very hard to keep my interest in you if I continually have to stop in the middle of the conversation and call you back. Also, make sure you have no distractions in the immediate area where you are conducting the interview... no small children, no animals, no pedicures (yes, these have all happened during phone interviews). I require and deserve your full attention. And please, no interviewing while driving! I had the experience not too long ago where I was interviewing a sales candidate over the phone while they were driving, and they got into an accident! I never want to feel that type of concern or responsibility again!

Next, be sure to show some energy and enthusiasm. Stand during the interview, as it creates energy in your voice that can be heard. Also, SMILE! Yes, a smile can be "heard" over the phone. Be enthusiastic starting with your very first sentence. I am so much more inclined to listen to a candidate who starts the conversation by saying "I've been looking forward to speaking with you!" or "I am so excited about this position!" Be sure to continue this enthusiasm throughout the interview as you answer questions. Be precise in your answers and highlight the successes of your career. Remember; focus on what you can do for the company, not on what the company can do for you! Be creative in your answers to let your personality shine through. When I asked candidate number seven why she thought she was successful in sales, she told me she "grabbed her sales tools as if they were weapons and went into the sales field like a soldier going into battle!" That one sentence made her unforgettable.

And, lastly, have a sense of humor! Everyone likes somebody who laughs freely and doesn't take themselves too seriously. When I asked this candidate about overcoming objections and sales barriers, she told me, laughingly, that there are no barriers! Her comment to me was that when she comes across what might seem a barrier she goes over it, under it, around it or barrels right through it. Again, her answers were fun, creative and memorable.

Obviously, everyone would prefer to interview in person and nobody prefers to be candidate number seven. But the reality is that you first have to impress me over the phone before you get invited to an in-person interview. By taking note of the above suggestions and utilizing them in your next phone interview you will definitely increase your chances of moving to the next level in the hiring process. And, as for candidate number seven from last week... she was hired!! Congratulations, candidate number seven!!

Source: Ezinearticles

Throughout her tenure as a recruiter, Angela has worked in a variety of industries, including the highly regulated environments of healthcare and higher education. She has valuable experience in staffing and recruitment, including temporary staffing, professional recruitment, and corporate recruitment. She has also participated in recruiting at all levels within an organization, from general labor and line staff positions, to C-Suite Executives. Angela is an advisor and trainer; an inspiring, engaging, confident public speaker; and a well-rounded human resources professional.

© 2018 Angela Gatewood

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