Generally, when you present yourself as a prospective candidate for a new employment opportunity, your information will filter through the Human Resources department. Since every company has their own hiring process, understand that you cannot always control when HR will call you. Our philosophy is that a prepared candidate will have a higher chance of success than an unprepared candidate.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if HR does call:
1. Remain calm: Very few HR departments will take the time or effort to call candidates they are not interested in. Regardless of the tone or tenor of their voice, a call from HR should be seen as a step forward in the process. Even if it is only telephone contact, you do have a chance to make an excellent impression. Be confident, sound interested, and engage the person on the other end. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Make it count.
2. Always be prepared: Yes, it could turn out that the HR representative knows nothing about your skill set or area of expertise. Actually, that is the case more often than not. Take this in stride and make certain you answer all their questions as appropriately as possible. We generally recommend staying away from questions concerning your salary history or desired compensation. Rather, keep this item open for discussion at a future time, preferably the face to face interview. Always keep a copy of your resume handy, preferably next to the telephone.
3. Collect contact information and topics of discussion: If not during the call, do this immediately afterwards. Write down all pertinent information including questions or topics covered. Be certain to get the name and other contact information from the person you spoke with. Finally, if they did not specify what the next step was, make certain you do. Ask directly what the next step in the process will be and when it will occur.
4. Offer additional information: For candidates that normally maintain additional career information such as coding samples or art portfolios, make certain you offer to supply these as further evidence of your skills and interest. Do not assume that the HR person knows to ask for this. Offer it. It will generally benefit you in the end.
HR departments, and their representatives, are generally the first chance a candidate has to make a great impression. Knowing how to handle calls from HR will assist you in the process from start to finish.
Executive recruiter William Werksman is a frequent columnist to job boards including http://www.NevadaJobBoard.com addressing both the candidate's and employer's perspective. Werksman's expertise has been featured in business magazines, national newspapers and television news segments. His firm, Resource Partners, is recognized as the leading source of specialized and executive talent in the Casino and Gaming industry. He manages a staff of recruiters out of his firm's Las Vegas, Nevada headquarters. He may be reached at: Bill@CareerInsider.com