It’s been a while since we shared insight from our weekly hosts Ask the Coach calls with NETSHARE members. Here is an excerpt from this week’s session with career transition coach and career management consultant Randy Block.
When going through the interview process, you will have to run the screening gauntlet, negotiating your way past the various pre-screeners that stand in the way between you and the hiring manager. The first screener will more than likely be the third-party recruiter who will make the initial contact and conduct the initial telephone interview. If you are armed with the right attitude and the right questions, you can learn a lot about the prospective position and position yourself to move to the next step in the screening process.
When you get that call from the third-party recruiter, one of the first questions you need to ask is “How long have you been working on this search?” There are two answers that should immediately raise red flags for you:
1. We just started. This should be a red flag because the first few candidates are rarely hired. Early in the search process the company typically does not have a sufficient sense of urgency to make a hire. Chances are the hiring managers want to see what kind of talent is available first.
2. We have been working on this for a long time. Ask a follow-up question about how many candidates actually have been interviewed. If the number is high, then the position may be too difficult to fill for some reason, either because the criteria are too narrow or there is some other challenge. And if the search has been going on for a time, the recruiter may be about to be fired.
When doing an initial screening interview, you should ask about the recruiter’s track record with the hiring company. You want to get a sense of how close their relationship is with the company and if they have worked with them before. This will give you a better sense as to whether the recruiter really has an inside track into what the company is really looking for.
Be sure to ask if they have already presented candidates for the open position. If they have, ask in general terms about what the company liked and didn’t like about the candidates. Also be sure to ask about the screening process and how it progresses through phone screening to in-person screening with the recruiter, in person with hiring manager, and in person with hiring manager’s boss. The recruiter should have this information. Also be sure to ask about the next steps and when they will be done screening candidates. Be sure to schedule a follow-up call for the next day.
As an interesting side note, recruiters are using video screenings more frequently. Research shows that about 20 percent of screening interviews are now being done over Skype. Be sure to treat every interview, including telephone screenings, as if they were face-to-face interviews.