Thursday, October 30, 2008

I need help! In a good way!

After many months of no (good) job news to speak of, I found out today that I am one of eight people being interviewed for a job at a food-related non-profit. The first round of interviews will be on the phone, and that's where my request for help comes in.

I've only done one phone interview before and I totally bombed. I could use any advice or feedback those of you with interview experience can give me. If you've been on the hiring end of a phone interview, I'd particularly like to hear from you; what are you looking for? what makes a good impression? Whatever you can share is appreciated.

Thanks! Wish me luck.


Anonymous said...

Don't try to second guess anything, just answer the questions that are asked. Treat it as if it were any other reasonable phone call. The interviews are to see if you match a profile of what the employer thinks will work, you cannot win or loose the interview, you cannot do great or bad. What is good for one job might be not so good for another, just keep doing it with a good attitude and clarity, and the right people will ask you back for an in person.

Mr. Ed

shanamadele said...

1) Break a leg.
2) I've both been interviewed (successfully, I might add) over the phone (several times at different times in my career, actually) and have interviewed applicants over the phone.
3) Is this a food-related organization into which I may have some insight?
4) When's the interview? Do you want to chat this weekend?

Liz said...


1. Thanks.
2. This is good to know.
3. Yes.
4. Interview is either Tuesday or Wednesday next week; I haven't heard back from them about a specific time yet. Yes, I'd love to chat this weekend.


Tim said...

I've done both sides of phone interviews, and the most important thing in any interview, whether it's in person or on the phone is just BE YOURSELF. Don't try to anticipate what they want to hear, tell them what you really think.

Specific to phone interviews, I agree with Mr. Ed... treat it like any other reasonable, business-related phone call.

A few tips... Sometime prior to the call, give yourself a chunk of quiet time by yourself to just get your head at peace and in a good frame of mind to answer questions from a group of unseen strangers. Make sure you have a good environment in which to participate in the call... a tidy space, preferably an office or office-like space. Dress in something comfortable but not just "lounging around the house" clothes. You don't have to dress up like you do for an in person interview, but sweats and fuzzy slippers probably isn't the best choice. Unless of course that's what you NEED to feel comfortable enough to answer questions from unseen strangers! :-) We're all different.

As someone who's been on the hiring side, I can tell you the folks on the other end of the phone are actually on your side. They want you to succeed, at least in giving a good interview and presenting yourself well. So remember that... they just want to know you, they're not trying to trip you up or anything.

Hope this helps! The first phone interview is kinda unsettling, but it's really pretty easy. Best of luck.

Barry in Portland said...

Smile when you talk.

Liz said...

You're the second person who's suggested that I smile when I talk. I try to remember to do that when I host the Yiddish Hour, but I don't always manage it (still figuring out the technical stuff, so I get preoccupied).

Have you connected with Chris M. yet, btw?


Anonymous said...

I do phone interviews all the time. I think the most important thing is to be very tight in your responses and really answer the question with short, clear examples. My biggest pet peeve is when people talk on and on and I, the interviewer, can't get in a question or probe something. Overall, a phone screen is just a validation that you're the right person. Let your personality shine and enjoy the process. Also, make sure to have some great questions about them to ask at the end. It shows you did your homework and prepared and they always love that. Knock it out of the park baby.

from Berkeley said...

Great advice so far! Smile when you talk and don't overthink what they are asking.

Before the interview, do your research about their problems/issues and how you could help solve them.

Practice telling them how your experience will help them solve their issues.

Give real experience examples. And don't be afraid to tell what you really feel. People like to get a sense of the emotional side of candidates to check for fit.

Remember, you are checking them out as much as they are checking you out - so have some good questions ready for them.

Break a leg!