There are four potential opportunities to make it to the next level in the job search process: The initial screen; a more in-depth telephone screen; an initial interview; and the final in-depth interview. Therefore, you have four chances to cut your candidacy short by not understanding what is expected. Let’s talk about what prevented you from advancing to the next level and what you might do differently.
Initially, hiring organizations will screen-out 90% of applicants, based on the resume submissions. If you’re not a 75% match to their checklist, you won’t get a phone call. During the initial phone screen, questions will revolve around their checklist. They are looking for what makes you more or less valuable compared to all the other candidates. Your resume is the key.
What to do? Make sure you have a compelling resume that matches or exceeds the job requirements as defined by the positions description. Use the words from the position description on your resume, along with measurable results to demonstrate you have achieved the outcomes that they are looking for in a candidate. During the telephone screening process, your background and experiences must meet the checklist that the screener has to work from, based on the position description.
How do you create a compelling resume and telephone screen? When a hiring manager gets hundreds of resumes for an open position, the top 10 or 15 candidates are the ones that will get a telephone call for a screening interview.
- You match most of the top items on the position description, better than all others
- You demonstrate documented results that match the hiring manager’s requirements
- Your current organizational level matches the open position, with room to grow
The metrics that define the results you have achieved are usually the determining factor.
What about the face-to-face interviews? After the telephone screen, there are usually up to 5 finalist candidates. The reasons why you didn’t make the cut? Another candidate had better experiences or results than you; an internal candidate had the edge over candidates from the outside; you didn’t interview well on the telephone; or you didn’t focus on the important elements for which the hiring manager is looking.
The second interview is really about relationships. By this time your skills and experiences have been checked out. Now it’s a question of “fit”: Will you fit into the culture and be a contributor; will you be a disruptive employee; or will you be able to advance the performance of the organization over time. This final interview is where you usually meet the boss’s boss, the work team, and others who count on you for results. If for some reason you can’t relate well with them as a “team mate” the odds will be against you.
Each step in the hiring process requires a different approach and skills from the candidate. Understanding these differences will lead you to a job offer, rather than going back into the marketplace.
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