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career, job search

Why you need to read the instructions during your job search–and follow them.

Pop quiz, job seekers!

I schedule phone interviews with candidates by email. I have a very specific template I use, example below:

Thanks for applying for the <job title> position with <company>. I’d like to schedule a phone interview with you Tuesday February 26 between 11:30am – 1:00pm Eastern time. Please let me know if you have 30 minutes available during that time and at what phone number I can reach you. Thanks, and I look forward to speaking with you!

If you received this email, what information would you include in your reply?

A resume submittal, a job application, or a request for information are the job seekers first opportunities to demonstrate how they complete an assignment for the employer. Too frequently job seekers focus on the quantity, not quality, of job applications and hence do not read for critical details. And  that can adversely impact the impression they make on a recruiter or hiring manager.

The above example is a great case in point. I sent the email above 4 times yesterday. 50% of the respondents replied with a specific availability time–but not with the phone number. Not following this one simple request for information above needlessly drags out the scheduling process, but more than that it demonstrates that you didn’t read for detail. That’s not the first impression you want to make.

Another example: Although my current employer is based in Seattle, we have other locations in the US and Canada. Recently I was sourcing for a position based in our DC metro area office. About 20% of the applications I received were from candidates based in the Seattle area. Concerned that there was an issue with the posting, I audited all of the websites to which the position had been scraped (Indeed, NWJobs, etc). None of those sites showed the position located in Seattle; all stated it was for our DC metro area office. Curious, I reached out to a couple of people to ensure they knew it was in the DC area; both replied, “Oh, I saw RealNetworks and just applied assuming it was in Seattle.”

Take the time to read things carefully–and respond appropriately. It’s as much a part of the hiring process as the interviews.

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