Put on your business mind for a minute. Try to think in terms of money.
If you’re a strong candidate for a position with one of the larger security companies, they’re going to make a serious up-front investment in your employment. Between the cost of a plane ticket from your home of record, then the expenses for feeding and lodging you during pre-deployment evaluations and training, they’re sinking at least a few thousand dollars into you even before you leave the US! That’s why one of the recruiter’s most important jobs is to learn as much about you as possible, to find out what the company’s getting for its money.
I can’t stress enough the importance of these telephone interviews. That 30-minute phone call might be the only time you actually get to speak to a human being before getting a conditional offer. So don’t blow it! Try to sound professional, but excited about the opportunity. On that note, here’s a couple of common questions you should think about BEFORE you get the opportunity to hold an interview:
So why do you want this job, anyway?
This is one of the easiest ways for a recruiter to get to know you, just by acting like a 2 year old and asking, “WHY?” It’s pretty common for applicants to trip over this question, but you can really shine if you’ve actually put some thought into it. Any response like, “It fits my skills and interests”, or “the opportunity to work with different cultures”, would sound great, just so long as it makes sense. And don’t be afraid to mention that you see it as a good entry-level position to start your security career, either! Even though you’re basically saying that you plan to jump ship after a few years, being career oriented means that you at least aspire to be professional, and you’re less likely to quit in the middle of a contract.
What strengths will you bring to this company?
The only bad thing you can do at this question is to hesitate. The recruiter’s leaving the door wide open for you, man! Walk on in! If you’re asked this question, you have official permission to discuss all of your experience, all of your training, and anything else you can think of. Bring it on! I recommend keeping your resume right in front of you when you make the call, just so you don’t leave anything out. And if you’ve applied for the job but don’t have an exact time scheduled for the interview, keep a copy of your resume with you at all times! As long as you don’t come off looking like a braggart, don’t hold anything back. Go out there and sell yourself! After all, they asked for it.
Tell me about a situation in your career that illustrates your high ethical standards?
Okay, this one is actually a little bit of a curveball, but don’t lose your head over it. Keep it simple. They’ve already set you up for success by assuming that you do have high ethical standards, so now it’s just up to you to affirm their belief. Ethics are a huge concern for employers, especially the bigger firms who market themselves by becoming household names. I don’t mean to call any companies out, but run a Google search for “Human Trafficking” and “Security Contractors”. You’ll see what I mean. It’s best not to get overly complex with your answer here, just have a few examples handy. For instance, maybe there was a time when a buddy asked you to cover a shift while he slipped out early to meet his girlfriend, but you said you couldn’t do it. The best answer you can give would be one that’s easily understood and that no one could find fault with. Even if you can’t give the best answer to this question, at least give them something to work with.
Remember, if a recruiter interviews you, it’s because they want to hire you. That’s their job! It’s your job as an applicant to give them every reason to.