This is the second part of our 3 part Blog: Job Hunting Tips for Trainees and Graduates. Part 1 contained tips for CV writing.
Part 2 provides tips for initial contact with a hiring manager or prospective employer.
Is your first contact with the hiring agency or employer making a good impression?
Imagine you are a hiring manager. You call a candidate to arrange an interview and the conversation goes like this:
Manager: Hello is that Jessie?
Candidate: Yes, who’s this?
Manager: My name is Helen Chen, HR Manager from Smith & Brown.
Candidate: Sorry, who?
Manager: Helen Chen from Smith & Brown. You applied for a job with us?
Candidate: Oh, right. What job was it?
This creates a poor first impression. It’s unprofessional and shows a lack of interest in the role.
Always retain a list of the jobs you’ve applied for and the companies or recruitment agencies advertising them. Unless you’re using the shotgun approach, you should know which job the caller is talking about. Be prepared to be contacted by phone from a number you don’t recognise. Always state your name when you answer the phone. Be enthusiastic.
Here is an example of a good first impression:
Candidate: Hello Jessie Gardner speaking.
Manager: Hello Jessie this is Helen Chen, HR Manager from Smith & Brown.
Candidate: Hello Helen, nice to hear from you.
Manager: I’m calling about the Trainee Analyst role you applied for with us.
Candidate: Great Helen, I am really interested in this position with Smith & Brown as I’ve read some interesting things about your company.*
*Note that if you make a statement like this, you need to be prepared to back it up – what interesting things did you hear?
OR if the job is with a recruitment company and you don’t know who the employer is…
Candidate: That’s great Helen. I applied for the role as I have just completed my Diploma in Business Management and I’m eager to kickstart my career as a Business Analyst.
Manager: We think you have some interesting skills and experience Jessie and we’d like to get you in for an interview. Are you available either Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning this week?
Expect to be interviewed and ensure you have time available during business hours. It may be a good idea to negotiate time for interviews with your current manager in advance so you are prepared when you receive an interview request. The more flexible you can be the better, as the hiring manager will be short on time availability. This is easier to manage if your current employer knows you are job seeking. Whether to disclose this to your current manager depends on your personal circumstances.
If you need to ask your current employer for time off to attend an interview, advise the hiring manager of this and ask if it is okay for you to phone them back or email them to confirm you have your manager’s approval to take time off. This gives the impression that you respect your current employer’s time and that you are honest.
Candidate: Wednesday afternoon sounds great Helen. I am rostered to work until 5pm that day, however my manager knows I am job seeking and that I will be taking unpaid leave for interviews. Would you mind if I check whether Wednesday afternoon suits her, then confirm with you via email?
Manager: Yes of course Jessie. Either 2pm or 3pm on Wednesday would suit us.
Candidate: Thanks very much Helen. Nice to speak to you. I will email you to confirm within 24 hours.
Follow up by confirming the time, date and location of your interview with the hiring manager by email and ask for the names of the interviewers.
Part 3, the final part of this blog, will contain interviews tips for Graduates and Trainees.