I was looking for a job, so day in and day out, I fired off my resume into the cyberspace, via the various job sites such as job.ca, workopolis, monster.com etc.
After two weeks, the phone rang with an unfamiliar number in the Caller ID. It was the Hiring Manager of one company that got hold of my resume. He was asking for an interview. I said - sure, where and what time. Over the phone, right now - was the answer.
I was baffled. Having played the waiting game for days on end, is this the way the canadian employers would hire people? But the voice at the other end of the phone sounded professional and credible and even before I could say yes, he started firing off a barrage of questions.
* Tell me something about yourself.
* How did you know about our company?
* What are you looking for in a job?
* How can you contribute best to our company?
Those were the usual introductory questions which I have long anticipated. And having anticipated them, I have sort of already rehearsed the answers in my mind. Common sense dictates that preparedness for such questions pays off if you want to create a good impression for the first 10 minutes.
What followed next was a set of behavioral questions, which I found more difficult yet challenging. The interviewer started discussing hypothetical workplace situations presumably to evaluate my behavioral tendencies.
* Supposing there's a conflict involving two people in the workplace over some pettty issues like somebody taking one's hanger and they exchange verbal tussles right in front of the customer - how are you going to handle it as a leader.
* Tell me a situation in the past where you had an argument with a colleague who is on the same level as you are and how you resolved it.
And he rattled off with other similar behavioral situations.
They say that phone interview is a common-place practice for all industry and at all levels. As for me, it will always be a boggling concept, even though I belong to what they call the tech-savvy generation. True, it spares me of the inconvenience of having to travel but it is not as affirming as a face-to-face interview. I don't get to see the facial expression of the interviewer that gives me an idea of how I am faring. Once the interview is over, I'm clueless how I came across. Promoting myself to a disembodied voice will always be discomforting.
The only thing that I appreciate about it is the knowledge that I have already made the first base in my job hunting. Even if it is an elimination round, I know I've already had the first cut, otherwise they wouldn't have called at all.
Next time the phone rings with an unknown caller ID, I better be ready.
2 years ago