Your calendar shows you have a phone interview with a candidate.

  • Be on time. It’s a reflection on both you and your firm if you’re not prompt.
  • If you can’t make the phone call, let the candidate know as soon as possible.
  • Clear distractions including incoming calls, Blackberries, incoming emails, and visitors.
  • Prepare a matrix of questions that you ask each candidate. Keep a spread sheet detailing how each answers your questions, so that you can quickly compare candidates.
  • Establish a dialogue. Be sure to give the candidate time to answer questions.

Be clear on your time frame and goals. How will you know you’ve found the right person?


A phone interview gives you the opportunity to address the value you bring to both the hiring manager and the company.
Candidate questions for phone interview:

  • Why is the position open?
  • What are the priority projects for the next six months?
  • What are some of the immediate challenges of the role?
  • What would be the next step?
  • When does the company expect to make a decision?

Answer questions as openly as possible. At any point in the process, don’t give the interviewer a difficult time or set up unnecessary road blocks.

Express interest in the position and in working for both the hiring manager and the company.

Send a follow-up note or email thanking the interviewer for the time. If a staffing agency sent you to the manager, send the note via the agency.

Your goal on a phone interview is to receive an invitation to interview in person.


The purpose of an employee performance review is to communicate feedback on your level of performance within a job. Often the result determines bonuses, salary increases, and keeping your job.

Good performance review systems improve communication. This is an effective way to clarify jobs, responsibility and performance between management and the team.

Performance reviews can pinpoint top producers and under achievers, but what about those in the middle?

Consider implementing a 360 degree review. This can include:

  • Management reviews
  • Peer reviews
  • Self reviews
  • Upward reviews where a manager receives feedback from the team

When writing an annual performance review, consider the job description, responsibilities, goals and accomplishments of the past year. Create a timetable to track progress and measure deliverables.  In person, discuss feedback on expectations and performance, as well as setting clear goals for the next review.

Unhappy with your performance review? Set up a time to discuss the feedback with the reviewer, if you believe the review was unjust.

Most important, use the review as a learning opportunity to ascertain feedback on your performance. You’ll also discover a great deal about the person who wrote the review.




Some managers choose to begin the interview process with a phone call. Phone interviews can quickly establish mutual interest.

Phone interviews can ascertain:

  • Overall fit for the job
  • Experience and skills
  • Manageability
  • Motivation
  • Personality fit


  • Inability to see body language and establish eye contact.
  • It’s easy to have distractions pop-up and not pay full attention to the candidate.
  • If the initial interviewer is not the hiring manager, a solid candidate may be disqualified by someone else’s filters.
  • Candidates with English as a second language can be disqualified at this step for poor communication skills, although they can do the job.

Phone interviews can delay the hiring process. During the lag time of a phone and in-person interview, your competitors are looking at the same person.

Good candidates vanish fast.


Your ONLY goal from a phone interview is to receive an invitation to interview in person.

Prepare for a phone interview as if it is an in-person interview:

  • No barking dogs! Clear your space. If you’re at home, make sure you’re in quiet room.
  • Land lines are preferred over VOIP and cell phones.
  • Check-out the company’s Web site. Search the Internet for additional information on the company, industry, and hiring manager.
  • Have your resume and the job description handy.
  • Match the key needs of the position to your answers. Bullet point ideas.
  • Stand while  speaking.
  • Look in a mirror. (This really does help!)
  • Speak clearly. Do not ramble. If you’ve answered the question, don’t repeat the same information in circular logic.
  • Answer questions fully. Do ask the interviewer if you’ve succinctly answered the question.
  • There is no time for small talk, be direct.

Although this is your interview, don’t monopolize the conversation!



Projects work when they are delivered on time, within budget, and work as promised.

Why do projects fail? Usually it’s not because of the technical or operations piece. Some project failures can be traced to:

  • Lack of involvement by senior management
  • Lackluster commitment to the project
  • Poorly defined projects, specs, or organization
  • Team members lacking appropriate skills and training
  • Insufficient funds

More often communication, hurt feelings, and people issues within the team are the hidden cause of a potentially failing project.

It’s easy to be caught up in being busy. The catalyst for success is being considerate of others on your team. Everyone works towards the same goal.

Establish a strong sense of relationship with peers, management, subordinates, and anyone else within the organization.

Good manners and empathy pave the way to success with the team. At the end of the project, your teammates will not recall the details of the work you did, but they will remember your daily attitude.

Take the time to say good morning and greet your team. You’ll be surprised at what a difference it makes to the success of the project.




You have a stack of resumes on your desk. How do you identify a solid candidate?

  • Is it clear that the resume is a match for the position?
  • How many years of professional experience are on the resume?
  • Must the candidate have experience in your industry?
  • Does the candidate have large corporate or small business experience?
  • What are your education requirements?
  • Will you only consider local candidates?
  • Is the resume format polished?
  • Is the candidate’s salary requirement within your budget?

When hiring for managerial positions:

  • Does the candidate have solid project and/or people management skills?
  • How large a team or project has the candidate managed in the past?
  • How large a budget has the candidate managed?

We’re seeing a trend toward hiring managers desiring candidates who have the same job in the same industry. Fresh experience and candidate flexibility bring insights from outside your industry.


Can you pass the 10-second test?  With on-line job boards, you have moments to catch the eye.

Does your resume match the needs of a hiring manager?  Is your resume tailored for the position?

Does your resume contain:

  • Contact information including email and daytime phone number
  • Summary of your skills
  • Chronological professional experience
  • Education
  • Professional licenses and certifications
  • Professional associations, affiliations, honors, and speaking engagements

Resume etiquette:

  • Resumes can be longer than two pages. Respect your reader. No one wants to slog through six or more pages.
  • Watch your tenses. Current jobs are in present tense. All prior positions are in the past tense.
  • Never use the word “I” on your resume.

Tailor your resume to all positions.



The most valuable asset you have is your time.  Your time is your life.  Where are you spending your time?  Where are you spending your life?

Do you feel you have all the time in the world or never enough?

Be clear on commitments as we move into the year.  Saying no to unwanted projects, obligations, or objects allows space—and time—for you to focus on what’s truly important to you.

Maintain work and life balance by calendaring time for yourself.

Have a problem saying no?  Then practice saying no on smaller issues that will prepare you for the bigger ones.  Say no  to commitments or obligations that don’t give you joy, or move you forward.


  • With whom are you spending your time?
  • Who do you want to meet this year?
  • Where do you want to work, study, or travel?
  • What resources can you invest in yourself for your long-term goals?

Make  your time count.  Spend time this year to develop, maintain, and enhance your professional network.  The time you spend outside of core business hours developing your professional network will provide a stable foundation for your career.




Where do you find people for your team?

Do you receive candidates from numerous sources? Sources can include your human resources department, colleagues and other internal referrals, as well as recruiting agencies, the Internet, job fairs, and special interest groups.

Many candidates are found through personal networks. Is your network current?

Once you’ve identified candidates, what is your screening process?

Who are your trusted advisors?



How do you find your ideal employer?

Finding a job through Internet searches can be time-consuming. It’s easier if you feel in control.

First, where do you want to work? Target a geographic radius from your home.

  • How far are you willing to commute?
  • Are you willing to relocate? Would you relocate at your own expense?
  • Are you willing to travel in a job?
  • How much income do you need to cover your lifestyle?
  • Define your dream job

Research companies in your target zip codes.

Resources can include:

  • Professional and personal networks
  • Job boards/ Internet
  • Employment Development Department (EDD) for your state
  • Vocational organizations
  • Staffing agencies
  • Outplacement agencies
  • Alumni associations
  • Professional associations
  • Niche industry focus group
  • Professional publications

Who do you know who can hand walk your resume to a hiring manager?