As recruiters, we “pre-screened” over 10,000 college students each year. When we say pre-screened, we simply mean a preliminary phone call to gather basic information from an applicant. Trust me when we say that a bad, unorganized, unprepared pre-screen call can make or break an applicant getting the position.
There is nothing more frustrating than hearing “Which position was this for?” or “Can you remind me what I would be doing again?” from a candidate you are pre-screening. Many times, individuals apply to more than one job at once; this is why it is SO important to organize your job applications! See the steps below to ensure you are never caught off guard when applying for jobs or internships!
DO YOUR RESEARCH – COMPANY
When applying for a job, take 5-10 minutes to research the company and learn a little bit about what they do. This research should not replace the research done before you sit down for an interview with said company! It would also be beneficial to document what their mission statement is.
DO YOUR RESEARCH – POSITION
Knowing what the position entails is just as important as knowing what the company does. A common question an applicant will receive on that initial pre-screen phone call is “What interested you about the position?” If you can’t answer that question, it is unlikely you will receive an offer to interview.
KNOW & UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS
A lot of companies will begin with a pre-screen phone call to make sure the candidate is worth bringing in for an interview. Be prepared for that! This is where the company and position research comes into play. Back up your answers with facts you have gathered about the position and organization itself.
The interview process varies based on company and position. A common interview process looks something like this:
- Preliminary Phone Call/Email
- Phone Interview
- In-Person Interview with HR personnel
- In-Person Interview with Direct Manager(s)
- Offer or Potentially Follow-Up Interview
Everyone stays organized in different ways. Some like to write things down in a ledger or journal. Others prefer spreadsheets and Google Docs. Whichever method you prefer, stick to it. We suggest using a spreadsheet with the following categories of information:
- Job Title Applying For
- Job Description
- Company Description
- Mission Statement
Feel free to add/take away categories that you see fit. Keep this spreadsheet up to date and review it frequently when searching for jobs. You may not always have a computer in front of you when you are applying for jobs which is why you want to review the information so you are knowledgeable and prepared when you receive that first phone call!
Narrowing your job search and staying organized and being prepared during the job application process is an important step that should not be ignored! Be the applicant that can rattle off 5 facts about the position and company, not the applicant that has to ask what he/she would be doing if offered the position they just applied for!