By Christopher Woods
In my last post, Welp What Now, Part 1, I talked about the first two steps in getting a new job: determining what you want to do and updating your resume and LinkedIn profile. In this next post we will continue with speaking with recruiters and phone interviews.
Speak with Recruiters
I am not sure how the algorithms within LinkedIn work, but as soon as I updated my profile and resume I began to be contacted by recruiters. Usually I ignore these messages, but I reviewed them all to see if there were any opportunities that I was interested in. There were a few that stood out. I reviewed the job descriptions and the companies and replied to the ones that I felt would be a good fit.
A few recruiters did reply to my message either requesting more information from me or wanting to schedule a short conversation to discuss the positions and assess my interest. These calls were short and to the point. The recruiter gave me a general overview of the company and the position and asked me to talk about my experience and skills that qualified me for the job. They next gave my information to the company and told me if there was interest they would contact me to get times where I was available for a phone interview.
The few recruiters I worked for were all very personable, and they liked to keep in contact until a decision was made about my hiring. One particular recruiter spoke to me almost every day to provide me an update on the status of my application.
In my search there were two positions that I was very excited about. They were both senior level positions that allowed me to do both database programming as well as SAS programming. To prepare for the phone interviews I printed out a copy of the job description, my resume, and jotted down a few questions I had about the company after reviewing the company website.
NOTE: It is always a good idea to have prepared questions ready for an interview. You need to know just as much as they do that the company will be a good fit for you since you will spend the majority of your time there.
For the first, a company based out of NC, I had to do a phone interview with an HR representative. The call was about 30 minutes. In many ways it was similar to the first conversation I had with the recruiter, but more in-depth questions were asked about my resume. That call went well so I was scheduled to do a 2-hour web-ex interview. I was to speak with four different people I would be working with if I got the position. I dressed up and had all my documents available to me and did the interview in my living room.
The first two conversations went very well because they were more about whether my work style and personality would fit in with the team members. The second half was an assessment of my technical ability to perform the job. This part was difficult. I had to answer questions off the top of my head that I would usually solve with the internet or a reference book in front of me. That was challenging. I was also asked difficult questions that did not have a clear solution that a person with more experience at the senior level than I had would better be able to answer. I did not answer those questions well at all. I felt great after the first half of the interview but defeated after the second half. I did not anticipate getting an offer after that.
The next interview I had with a company based out of Chicago was just a phone interview with the hiring manager and another colleague. I learned from my mistakes from the previous interview and reviewed some more technical things about the position so I could better answer those questions if asked. This interview was much less intense, but I had a good time talking with the team members than in the first interview. They were not as serious, and we even laughed a little bit. The second position wasn’t as ideal as the first one, but I walked away from the interview feeling like employment there would be a symbiotic relationship.
Immediately after each interview I wrote a short note to the teams I interviewed with thanking them for their time and expressing my excitement to hear from them again. I had the recruiters forward them the message. This is just a nice gesture that carries over from the time when people used to send cards for everything.
In the last part of the series I will talk about accepting or rejecting job offers.
Photo Credit: Lee Chapman