Friday, October 23, 2009

How College Grads Can Thrive in Phone Interviews

• Describe a situation where you had to work with others to solve a problem.
• Give me an example of a stressful situation you have encountered on the job. How did you handle it?
• Tell me about your three greatest accomplishments in your career.
• Do you have any questions?

Many of these questions are difficult to answer on the spot. By preparing your answers ahead of time, you give yourself the opportunity to think through your answers carefully. Your notes will refresh your memory if you draw a blank, and help prevent you from freezing up during the interview.

Giving a Fabulous Phone Interview

If you’ve done your homework, the phone interview itself should be a breeze. The important thing at this point is to remember to make sure the interviewer can hear and understand you – and vice versa – as well as possible. During the phone interview, you should:

• Find a quiet place. Children, pets, televisions, and radios are all noisy distractions that should be avoided. If the phone interview is scheduled in advance, you can arrange to have a quiet room all to yourself. If you receive the phone call unexpectedly, retreat into a quiet room or suggest another time for the interview.

Sip water periodically. Nervousness often causes your mouth to dry out, which can in turn change the way your voice and pronunciation sounds to the interviewer. If you know about the phone interview ahead of time, you can have a glass of water on hand, along with the other materials you have prepared.

Avoid eating, smoking, or chewing gum. Excess movement of your mouth and throat will make you harder to understand, and possibly distract or even irritate the interviewer.

Give short answers. Many people talk too much when they are nervous. This is especially easy to do in a phone interview, because you don’t have the other person’s visual cues to indicate when it’s their turn to talk. To make sure you don’t make this mistake, only talk long enough to answer the question. A moment of silence, while it might seem awkward to you, lets the interviewer know that you are done.

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