… they occur BEFORE an in person meeting!
Crystal here – ‘reporting live’ – while Jana is off traveling the world. Lucky gal! Jana LOVES warm weather so hopefully she is able to enjoy the weather, and some time off, in Brazil for the week. I’m a little ‘green’ when it comes to travel – so I’m hoping Jana takes a lot of pictures!
As a recruiter I spend a lot of time getting to know an applicant before I actually get to meet the individual face to face. Sometimes, it seems as if a job applicant forgets that they are making their first impression on me, or any perspective employer, the moment they press the ‘submit’ button on an online application. Here is some food for thought, to help you avoid falling prey into a first impression trap.
Top 5 First Impression Pet Peeves
‘Ring Back’ Tones – I’m indifferent to ‘ring back’ tones – I could take them or leave them. For those of you who are not familiar – a ring back tone (RBT), according to Wikipedia, is an audible indication that is heard on the telephone line by the caller while the phone they are calling is being rung. It is normally a repeated tone, designed to assure the calling party that the called party’s line is ringing. However, when I am calling a candidate who has a RBT installed on their phone – I do not like listening to ‘screaming’ or swearing while I wait patiently for a candidate to pick up the phone. Instead of being excited to speak to a perspective employee – I lose a little bit of my focus while I listen to the ‘noise.’
We all have different tastes in music, but take a second to consider the audience of who’s calling, or may be potentially calling, you.
Tone of Voice – Nothing is more disappointing to me when I call a candidate for the first time, and they sound unhappy, angry, put out, etc. when I ask to speak to ‘John Doe.’ On the phone, I don’t have visual clues or body language to gauge just how interested someone is in regards to the subject matter at hand. All I have is their tone of voice. Also, if you are busy, at work, walking to class… simply don’t answer the phone. I will leave a message and you can call me back at a better time.
Rudeness can also be very off putting and can sometimes be very difficult for the candidate to recover from. It makes me wonder: if the candidate is going to be rude to me – how are they going to treat our guests and our team members?
Be professional, confident and friendly… you can’t go wrong with that on the phone!
Resume Appearance – Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. Did I say proofread? Check your resume for spelling errors, grammar, punctuation, formatting and relevance. An error-free resume is essential. Prioritize the information on the resume from the most important to the least important. Most recent to least recent. Write your resume so key facts that will tell the recruiter that you are the best candidate for the job jump out from the page. While I am not always good at this myself – avoid wordiness. Don’t get too fancy with graphics, fonts, colors – many of the applicant tracking systems that companies use aren’t compatible with fancy stuff, and you risk the reader of your resume getting a jumbled mess of unreadable characters. Also, check to make sure your contact information is up to date and that your objective pertains to the job in which you are applying.
If you don’t have a resume – take some time to create one because they aren’t going away anytime soon. Career sites like Monster and CareerBuilder have great tips on creating resumes and Microsoft has templates that you can start with. What you don’t want to do is write “I don’t have a resume” on the resume portion of an online job application. If you aren’t taking this seriously… why should I?
Voicemail Message – Sometimes I get a good laugh at a candidate’s voicemail messages. Sometimes I’m confused by whether or not I called the right number if the name stated on the message is different from what is on the resume. Sometimes I’m just offended. Sometimes the number provided isn’t even in service.
Again, be professional, confident and friendly in your message. If the number you listed isn’t your own home or cell number – make a note of it somewhere so the caller isn’t second guessing his or herself. Also, make sure the number you are listing is in service, and/or provide a secondary contact number so that the caller can reach you.
Email – Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. Spell check. Again, you want to check your electronic communication for spelling errors, grammar, punctuation and relevance. Also, is your actual email address professional or something XXX rated? You never know whose inbox your email may end up in and you don’t want to be embarrassed if firstname.lastname@example.org ended up in the CEO’s inbox. There are many free email sites where you can sign up to get something a little bit more professional.
Until next time…