Let’s set the scene: you are minding your own business, going through your typical day-to-day routine, when out of the blue, you are called by a recruiter. What should you do? Our first recommendation is to delay! Ask the recruiter if you can schedule a time to talk in a few days as this gives you time to adequately prepare.
Did you know an important step in preparing for a significant conversation is to study yourself? So before you ask the recruiter questions, ask yourself some questions, starting with, “Am I actually interested in this job?”
If the answer is yes:
- What do I know about this position?
- Based on what I know, why am I interested in it?
- What more would I need to know to decide?
If the answer is no:
- Would talking to the recruiter still be beneficial?
- Could I learn more about job opportunities from them?
- Could talking to them open up other career prospects?
- (If the answer to the three above questions is “no,” don’t waste your time or the recruiter’s time! Thank them for reaching out, but politely cancel the call altogether.)
Now that you’ve decided whether or not you’re interested in this job, it’s time to focus on some key questions that come into play when speaking with a recruiter:
• Am I looking for a raise of any particular amount?
• Are there any particular benefits that are necessary for me to have?
• Am I willing to move?
• Am I willing to travel?
• What kind of hours can I commit to working?
• Do I want a flexible work schedule?
• What am I willing to give up for a new job?
• What am I not willing to give up?
There are plenty more questions to ask yourself, but processing the ones above should help you begin. You are defining what you are looking for in a new job (and what you are not looking for, which is just, if not more, important!)
Finding out information about a job or a company is only valuable when you can evaluate it in comparison to what you are looking for – otherwise, it’s just data.
Do your Homework
Once you know what you want, move on to preparing to speak with the recruiter about the opportunity; it’s time to do your homework on the company and the position. Research the company online, using both their website and other websites that refer to the company and what it is like to work there (i.e. Glassdoor, Indeed, etc.). Make sure you know their major services and products, geographic areas, and key people. Gain knowledge to show the recruiter you are not interested because you want any old job, but you are truly interested in this business, what they have to offer, and what you can offer them in return.
More than what’s on Paper
Think about what you can share in addition to what the recruiter has already read about you on your resume or in your cover letter.
Most people have better conversations when they’ve had time to think through answers ahead of time, such as strengths and weaknesses, relevant experiences, and key skills.
Honesty is the Best Policy
Even though you want to impress recruiters, you should be yourself, as well as completely honest. Give an accurate representation of yourself; that way both parties can make an informed decision. You don’t want to feel like a fraud if you get the job!
An honest conversation exponentially increases the probability of establishing a long-term, successful employment relationship.
Thank the recruiter for his or her time at the end of the conversation and in a follow-up letter.
And if you don’t get the job you were really hoping for, don’t despair. Every conversations and interview is a learning experience and each closed door can lead you to the place best suited for you – and at the right time.