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Phone Interview with a Recruiter

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Phone Interview with a Recruiter

Receiving that email or phone call from a Recruiter is an exciting moment when you are searching for a job, and it is your opportunity to shine and stand out from your competition. But as that initial excitement wears off, the nerves set in. What will they ask? How should I prepare? In this blog post we will uncover a few simple areas to help you have more success in these initial Recruiter interviews.

Research

Preparation is key, start by understanding the job description in and out. Identify the key skills and requirements and match them with your own experiences. Additionally, don't forget to research the company. Some recruiters will challenge your knowledge about the organization to see how much you've prepared.

This includes having a little knowledge about the product area (if applicable), for example, if you are interviewing for a role with Google Cloud, understand some of the fundamentals/basics of that product space. 

Logistics

Most Recruiter interviews are done over the phone, so simply be ready at the scheduled time. I can tell you from personal experience that oftentimes the candidate would not pick up or they would call me back a few minutes late telling me they were busy, in another meeting, and, believe it or not, that since this was a Recruiter interview, they knew I was flexible, but they would be on time for the “real interviews.” Ugh!

Some other basics are pretty obvious, but let's address them quickly. Be in a place where your cell coverage is good, be in a quiet place, have all your notes up in front of you, and if you are physically capable, stand, this will help your voice have a little more energy (there is a reason why professional speakers stand).

Communication

The Recruiter interview will absolutely involve making sure you meet at least the minimum requirements to do the job. And they are also evaluating your communication skills. Make sure to communicate with enthusiasm/excitement and gratitude.

It is critical to be concise during these conversations because you have a limited amount of time to impress your Recruiter. So where does this show up? Mostly when answering common questions like tell me about yourself and why the company. Make sure these answers are brief, think one minute or less. And you can probe at the end with a follow up question such as, "I am happy to expand on any of those areas in more detail if you like?”

It is also possible they ask you more role-related questions as well. This is where your research will be helpful. In addition, think about a few very specific role-related questions that might be asked so you can share a couple of examples from your past, and potentially talk through how you might handle a specific challenge the role is presenting.

Lastly, make sure to ask a ton of questions to learn more about the role, the company, the hiring manager, etc. And if you are going to ask a lot of questions, I have two tips to keep the conversation streamlined. First, introduce to your Recruiter that you have a number of questions. Second, after asking a few, let your Recruiter know that you have more, but that you will continue to check in to be respectful of their time.

What are some questions to consider, oh boy, this list is way over the top, and all items you may want to consider asking:

  • Why is the position open? 
  • How long has the position been open?
  • What is the level or level range of this position?
  • How many people are currently interviewing for this role?
  • Are these people all external or are there also internal candidates?
  • Why do you think my background is a good fit for this position?
  • What are the most critical skills needed to have success in this role?
  • Are there any gaps/skills needed that you do not see on my resume?
  • Are there any themes/areas where other candidates are falling short and or doing well?
  • Can you tell me more about the structure of the team, roles, hiring manager, etc.?
  • Anything that this team specifically looks for from a culture fit perspective?
  • What are the specific steps of the process - phone, video, In person?
  • What is the number of total interviews?
  • What are the focus areas of those interviews? And will you share that information before every single interview?
  • Will you share the types of questions that will be asked in these interviews?
  • In general, what types of questions can I expect in these interviews, behavioral, open-ended or both? Is there a typical percentage of one vs another?
  • Will there be a presentation interview, case study interview, or both?
  • Can you tell me more about the end of the process and who is the final decision maker(s)?
  • How long does the overall process typically take?
  • How often will I hear back from you?  Should I proactively reach out or should I wait to hear from you?
  • What is your preferred method of communication, call, text, email or all of the above?
  • Do you have a secondary POC that I can reach out to if you are out of the office?
  • Am I able to use a whiteboard via video or will the conference room have a whiteboard?
  • What should I wear?
  • Any items to be aware of about the video platform or about the location of the interview?
  • I see the position is located in X city, would it be possible to work out of another location/work remote? (Just casually ask, don’t push on this item until they want to hire you, say you are open, you can change your tone when they want to hire you)
  • Does the job require travel?  I see the job requires X travel, is that consistent or does it grow/decline over time?
  • What is the salary range?
  • Can you share benefits information with me?
  • Any questions that I did not ask that are important for me to know?  Questions you typically hear from other candidates?

Final Thoughts

Thriving in a Recruiter interview is all about preparation and effective communication. The relationship you build with your Recruiter is important, navigate this relationship with respect and open communication.

For more resources visit my website - Practice Interviews and check out our AI Practice Interview App. 

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