When does your interview start?

I wanted to write this post in reaction to something I saw on LinkedIn the other day. A recruiter I am connected with was complaining about a candidate. Apparently this candidate had applied to her job and when she called him to set up an interview he was very rude. In the post she went on to say that for her that was all it took, she knew the candidate wasn’t going to be a fit based on the customer service qualifications necessary for the role. After I read that, it got me a thinking a little bit. Did that person actually want that job? If they did, why were they so unpleasant upon receiving the phone call?

As I was having this internal dialogue, I realized that while there are a lot of questions you can ask, perhaps the most important one is when does your interview start. Most people think it’s when you start the interview formally and the recruiter is asking you questions. In all reality, your interview starts way earlier than that. Your interview starts at first correspondence. Whether that be the very first email you respond to or the first conversation you have, setting up the formal interview, as soon as a dialogue has been established you are in the interview process.

I am sure some of you agree with me and some of you think that the interview starts when it starts. However, I can tell you that your interview starts as soon as the first impression is made. Whether that be through email correspondence or through a phone call, once you start corresponding your interview has begun. So if we are operating under that assumption let’s look at a few things you can do to make sure you aren’t sabotaging yourself early on.

Have a professional email for job application purposes

This tip is probably more for people early on in their career. I remember when I graduated college I still had my AOL email address on my resume that I created when I was 17. I wont disclose the name to avoid embarrassment but it probably wasn’t as professional as it should have been. So if you have an email address on your resume that you consider to be unfit for a resume, go to google and get yourself a Gmail account. As much as you might love Slayer, if your email address has their name in it, then it doesn’t belong on a resume. Your name with a combination of numbers should suffice.

Have a professional voicemail message

If I told you how many people had ridiculous voicemail’s while they are applying for jobs, you wouldn’t believe me. I have called candidates who applied to a role I was recruiting on just to hear heavy metal music in the background and sometimes even an inappropriate voice message. I once called a candidate and the voicemail said “Leave a message or else”. I left a message and thought to myself, “was I just threatened via voicemail recording?” If you are applying for a role, have a polite message waiting for those who call you. Simple as that.

Be polite in all communication

This is another one that should be common sense but for whatever reason, isn’t always the case. Simply put, if you are interested in finding a new job it behooves you to be polite and enthusiastic in all communications with everyone at prospective employers. If you are called to set up an interview and you communicate with all the enthusiasm of setting up a dentist appointment, you are getting on the wrong foot. If you are rude with the person setting up your interview, whether they are conducting it or not, you are getting off on the wrong foot. If you aren’t flexible in the times you are available or you push the interview out super far, you are getting off on the wrong foot. The fact of the matter is, given how competitive finding a great job is, often you can ill afford to get off on the wrong foot. Every interaction counts and if you want to be successful it is important to maximize those interactions.

So, when does your interview start? As soon as there is any form of communication. So make sure you are on your game from the get go! I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions, please make sure to comment below and I will answer.  Also, if you haven’t already, check out last weeks post Are you prepared for a career disaster? And if you didn’t catch me on the podcast I was recently on, check it out here as well I was a guest on an awesome Podcast!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *