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Job Interview by Phone? 3 Things Not to Say to the Recruiter
by Yuwanda Black
TheSyndicatedNews columnist

Yuwanda Black has published 10 e-books, a freelance writing e-course and hundreds of articles on small business, real estate, freelance writing and marketing. Ms. Black wrote and self-syndicated a small business column to eight on- and offline outlets in 2002-2003, including Greater Diversity News; The Mississippi Link; The New York Christian Times; Houston Style; Caribbean Life; and

Finally, a recruiter responded to your resume. It's been on Monster and CareerBuilder forever, and you've responded to hundreds of ads.

Following are three rules to follow when you've got a recruiter on the phone. Your phone etiquette will not only kill your chances for the job at hand, but all other positions a recruiter may be seeking talent for -- now and in the future.

1. Answering the Phone: When you're job hunting, it's extremely important at all times to answer your phone professionally. And, more importantly, have those who may be answering your phone follow this rule as well.

Many recruiters report being subjugated to obscene music, inappropriate voice mail greetings and outright rudeness by the person answering the phone. If you have 50 cent or Guns 'n Roses on your voice mail, you might want to change it to Bach - at least until you secure a position.

If you're mad at your boyfriend/girlfriend, don't chance them answering your phone with a "What? Who is this?" Answer it yourself. Kids answer your phone? Make sure they know proper phone etiquette and are old enough to take a succinct message.

Even if a recruiter manages to get past a child or an angry boyfriend/girlfriend, they are unlikely to pass your resume along to their client. Why? Because they think, if this happened to us, then it might happen when the client calls as well. And, as candidates are a direct reflection on the recruiter and his/her agency, there are very few second chances.

So ensure that your phone etiquette -- and those who may answer your phone -- is on at all times while you are job hunting.

2. Lazy: Even via phone, skilled recruiters are adept at picking up laziness. So even though you may be sleepy or tired, it's important to put some pep in your voice. How do you go about this?

Ask questions, repeat what the recruiter said about the position to make sure you understand, ask if you can come in to see them (most don't want this until they determine you are a good fit, but at least it shows you're interested), etc.

NOTE: Many recruiters will wonder how serious you are about job hunting if they call at 11 a.m. and you're still sleeping (or sound sleepy).

Recruiters talk to 20, 30 or 50 people a day. A lazy-sounding candidate is a big turnoff. What does lazy sound like? Whiny (well, it's kinda far, and I was hoping for . . .); hemming, hawing and guffawing; and all around disinterest.

3. Regarding Salary: Don't inquire immediately about salary. If the interview goes on for a while and it's a temp assignment, then feel free to ask for a ballpark figure if it wasn't listed in the job ad, or you forgot which position it was the recruiter is calling you about.

But if it's a full-time position, industry norm is not to ask about salary, unless the recruiter brings it up first.

Why is it okay to bring salary up for a temp assignment and not for a full-time assignment? Because recruiters understand that temp assignments are often determined by rate -- especially if it's a short-term assignment.

But if it's a full-time job, many recruiters like to think that you're making a career move. Hence, they like to feel that you're more concerned about things like career advancement and learning possibilities than salary.

Although recruiters intrinsically understand that money is a huge motivator, they're trying to select the candidate who is interested in long-term career advancement, not money.

The Importance of a Recruiter to Your Career Aspirations

Recruiters deal with many employers -- sometimes hundreds. Even though they might not call with the perfect opportunity today, you never know when that opportunity can come along.

Therefore, when you interact with a recruiter, think of it as not someone who can give you a job today, but someone who can give you "the job of a lifetime" tomorrow.

Published: Aug 29,2008 11:05
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