How to navigate that call about a job

“Have you got time to chat?”. Believe it or not, these six words can either make or break your chance at landing that next job. While a stellar electronic application will impress a potential new employer, one of the most telling signs that you’re right for the job lies in the next step: the phone call to discuss the application.

This is the point in which the employer gauges your manner and communication skills. If you’re stumbling and unprepared, you could easily jeopardise the opportunity for an in-person interview. The best way to ace this stage is to treat the phone call like a mini-interview, and this of course, starts with preparation.

Here are five helpful tips to turn that surprise call into a confident conversation.

  1. Start at the application. Everyone knows a good job application starts with a stand-out cover letter and resume. But many fail to realise that practising your interview skills at this stage of the process could be the one thing that gets you over the line when that mini phone interview surprises.
  2. Get phone ready. If you’ve applied for one or more jobs, you should now be well aware that you could receive a call from an unknown number. Make sure you have a friendly and professional voicemail recording enabled on your phone so you’ll never miss when that new opportunity comes ringing.
  3. Expect the unexpected. When you answer the call, make sure you’re ready to take on questions. Only take the call if you’re in a quiet place, away from disruptions and if you aren’t, politely ask if you could call back at a more convenient time that suits both parties.
  4. Be professional and polite. This first call is the very first impression you’ll be making on your potential new employer. Maintain the same level of professionalism reflected in your voicemail recording by engaging the caller with an upbeat and friendly tone of voice, and by responding to questions with enough detail and enthusiasm. It could also be nice to engage in a little chit chat at the beginning of the call, if there is that level of casualness in the conversation.
  5. Answer honestly and succinctly. To avoid sounding nervous, view the conversation as a relaxed chat to showcase your personality. Be honest as you talk through your skills and experience and keep the answers short and succinct. If they like the way you present, it’s likely they’ll ask you for an official interview time then and there. Good luck!
This first call is the very first impression you'll be making on your potential new employer.