Start Your Search
You find the perfect job, your resume and past skills match the job posting. Submit your resume and more often than not, answer a short list of questions. Then wait, and usually worry as most companies are not as timely as you would prefer.
The Human Resource Manager reviews your skills to the job description and requests a phone screen. Prepare and write down answers to the questions that will be asked. But wait, the questions, they didn’t give me a copy. Develop 3-5 stories that put a positive light on time management, dealing with difficult co-workers, working on cross-functional teams, and of course the strength and weakness questions.
Don’t stop at one job. Apply for 5-10 at a time, depending on response rate and time available to interview. You will need to gauge how many phone screens/interviews that you handle at a time. More opportunities will speed up the process, however, you need to keep each job opportunity specific to that job. Hence, no mix and matching.
Gather Your Materials
Your current resume probably has an objective, skills from all past jobs, education, awards and a short statement about references. That’ll work on the Human Resource Manager and you will definitely get invited to many interviews, but no offers. Reduce the clutter of your resume, morph the objective into a summary, replace your skills with experience and accomplishments, and remove the obvious offer of references. Your resume is a snapshot of you, but should not be substituted for you.
Prepare a cover letter for job postings that have an upload option. Three main things to include, very interested in opportunity, your relevant skills, and look forward to speaking with them. Usually each in a separate paragraph. Skills are ideal for a cover letter as the Human Resource Manager will be the audience.
Create the list of questions and your stories. Use the STAR format – Situation, Task, Action, Result. Keep each story to 1-2 minutes and practice, practice, practice.
Preliminary Screening (the HR call mentioned above)
Write down the date and time and let your live-in-family know that you will need privacy and quietness. Arrive at least 15 minutes early and have your resume, list of questions and answers, and of course the job posting easily accessible, but without making it known to the interviewer.
Be comfortable with your surroundings, home dining room, home office, or home study. Wear what you would wear as if the interview was in person, this will give you confidence and also good practice.
Wait by your phone and answer as you would at work, “Good afternoon, Jim speaking”, “Good morning, Jim speaking”, or something along those lines. Keep all answers positive, including the small talk. Good signs of success are personal questions at the end and availability questions. Remember the personal questions are still part of the interview and should be kept normal and positive, good to NOT mention family medical problems, worries of starting a new job having 3 kids, and hobbies that might raise an eyebrow.
Most interviewers will ask if you have any questions. Keep it to three, one about the culture and one about your new group. Don’t push for answers as the intent of the questions is to show interest and not put the interviewer on the spot. Your final question being next steps and timing. Send a thank-you note if you have their email address.