Putting Your Best Voice Forward: Surviving the Phone Interview

The job hunt can be a slow and frustrating process. When, after sending out dozens upon dozens of resumes, you finally get a telephone interview it’s both exciting and anxiety-producing. We all understand that phone screens, even with hiring managers, are used to get the candidate pool down to a manageable few qualified applicants for in-person interviews. Here are some tips to help you make it through the first cut.

Research the company – Your first stop should be the company website to learn about the players, products, and news items that the company is publicizing. Once you have a good understanding of what the company is about, hit Google and check out industry news to gain some insight into the challenges the company may be facing, for example: winning a large new account shows growth and profit potential, but also means they need to acquire staff to service it with experience relevant to the needs of the new client.

Research the interviewer – Your next stop should be LinkedIn to peruse your interviewer’s profile – take note of where they’ve come from, what other job titles they’ve held, and who they know. This type of research not only allows you to call friends or colleagues for the inside scoop, but could help you make connections with your interviewer and understand the career path for this position.

Prepare questions – You will inevitably be asked if you have any questions – have them ready. Prepare 3-4 thoughtful questions about the size and composition of the team you’d be working on, the competitive landscape, the specifics of the technology, the company’s long-term roadmap, or even what the interviewer likes best about working there. Your questions should show that you have done your research and know the industry. Remember, sometimes a question shows off what you do know more than it asks about something that you don’t.

Power down – When interview time arrives, turn off any unnecessary distractions like the TV or radio. Mute your cellphone. Take the call on a landline if at all possible to avoid poor connections. Keep a pen and pad ready to take down names, numbers, and notes.

Take a few minutes to breathe – One of the easiest mistakes to make is to let nervousness get you breathing heavily, over-talking, and racing through an interview. Before the call, simply sit quietly and focus on getting calm and in control. Once it begins, remember to take your time, breathe, and answer the question that was asked. If you need to clarify the question, go right ahead. If you need a minute to compose a response or come up with an example – take it.

In the end, it’s important to remember that the manager pulled your resume from dozens to be interviewed because he/she believes that you have the skills necessary to perform the job. Take confidence from that, take a deep breath, and show them they were right.


Get the Most Out of Your Relationship…With Your Recruiter

We’ve all had experiences with shady “recruiters” in our careers – the ones who don’t seem to have the faintest idea where you’ve worked, advertise jobs that don’t exist, or, worse yet, ask you for your social security number before they will submit you for a job.  A skilled and professional recruiter can be your best friend in the search for a new opportunity if you can separate the wheat from the chaff and treat legit recruiters right.

Here are some tips – and mistakes to avoid – from The Woods Group to get the most from your relationships with headhunters.

  1. Hear them out – When you automatically say no to an available position without hearing the details you may be cutting yourself off from improved compensation and benefits, growth opportunities, or work-life balance perks like a shorter commute, more regular hours, or more vacation time. Even if the position isn’t a fit, an open mind and a positive attitude leave the recruiter with a good impression that will serve you well when the right job comes along.
  2. Always have an updated resume ready – You never know when an interesting opportunity could come along and you want to be ready to pounce on it. Recruiters are calling because they need to fill jobs – if you can’t provide an accurate resume quickly they will move along to someone who can.
  3. Keep in touch – When you have good rapport with a headhunter it pays to check in quarterly and provide them an updated resume to ensure that they think of you when a job in your field comes in.
  4. Take the call – Yes, recruiters will call in the middle of your workday – it’s their workday too. If you can’t take the call at that time, make arrangements to talk when you can give them your full attention for 10 minutes or so.  Be reasonable and respectful with regard to scheduling; lunchtime or right after work are good options.
  5. Don’t jump to conclusions - It’s easy to make a snap judgment that a headhunter hasn’t read your resume when they ask you to tell them about your job responsibilities or skillset. Often they ask these basic questions to see how you articulate what you do and the value of your skills. In addition, while describing your work you may mention capabilities and experience that you neglected to put on your resume.
  6. Don’t burn bridges – There are some cardinal sins when it comes to working with a recruiter including the no-call/no-show for interviews, circumventing the recruiter in negotiations with the client, and damaging the recruiter’s relationship with their client by behaving unprofessionally in an interview.  Obviously these offenses will get you immediately blacklisted, but you also want to remember that we all work harder for people we like; being courteous  and patient goes a long way!

Cisco Call Manager 3.3 meets Jurassic Park!

Sorry for bringing up bad memories but this is too funny, I never heard of a Cisco Call Manager 3.3 being fixed

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Zayo acquires Abovenet

Further consolidation of the Telco markets, in order to increase companies footprint combining International and domestic presence. Will cause more price competition between carriers.

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