Don’t talk your way out of the job interview

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Want that job interview? Don’t talk your way out of it.

You’ve sent your resume to dozens and dozens of potential employers. You know if only you could get in front of the employer, they’d see your talents and realize how great you are and hire you right away. So when you finally nail an interview during your initial phone call or email, why keep talking and risk talking your way out of a job before the interview has even happened?

Here is one way to handle an interview request from a prospective employer:

Get in and out of the phone call or email as politely and accommodating as you can. “Yes, Tuesday at 10AM works great for me, looking forward to seeing you then.” Assuming the scheduler or employer doesn’t ask you anymore questions, you’re done.

Unless asked, save your own questions for the interview. Resist the temptation to contact the employer again ahead of the interview to ask directions, how much the job pays, if you should bring anything, or details about the specific job.

Keep in mind that most employers and human resource professionals are busy and processing hundreds of resumes. Many applications don’t even get opened.

If you need to ask a question prior to the interview, make sure it absolutely cannot wait until the interview. Because you might talk yourself out of the interview. The employer simply may not have time to respond to several questions from multiple similarly or higher-qualified applicants. Also, any time you communicate by email, there is a chance for misinterpretation because of the nature of email versus communicating in person. For example, if you ask for directions, this may suggest to the employer that you may not be a good problem solver. If you ask about money at this stage, the employer may think money is the most important thing to you.

Save your questions for the interview

Remember, the hard part in getting a job is getting in front of an employer. Once you’re in front, you can show your stuff and ask questions when you have the employer’s attention.

Here is a REAL email my former company received from a job applicant who responded to my interview request. It’s an example of the wrong way to respond. Ultimately, the interview was never scheduled. The candidate “talked” her way out of it by asking too many questions at the interview scheduling stage. Check it out:

 

 

 

 

Actual follow-up email from job applicant

“Dear Karen: “My office can’t spare me tomorrow but I might be able to get Friday free. I should know by the end of the business day tomorrow. Or, if a time outside of normal business hours would work for you, I might be able to make that work too. In the meantime, if you have any questions for me, feel free to ask away. I’ve got a couple myself. For example: If hired what specific tasks would I be doing (what would an average “day in the life” look like, what hours would I keep, etc) How much (if any) of my work could be done remotely? Such as working from home. Would I be in a bullpen, in a cubicle, in a shared office, or in my own office? Are there any rules about playing music during work? (Such as headphones being required, etc) Thank you again for getting back to me. I look forward to your reply.” Sincerely, XXXX

- Job Applicant (name redacted)
Karen Skeens

Karen Skeens

Karen is a creative director / writer / designer / strategist with 20 years of passionate dedication in digital agency and broadcast media work helping companies of all sizes grow.

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