Interviewing can be a hard thing to master, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get better at it over time.
Check out my top 10 interview tips based on my own experiences interviewing others for research and career/educational opportunities, being interviewed for jobs and internships, interning with CBS Human Resources recruiters, interviewing individuals with CBS Newspath, and working at Princeton Office of Career Services.
You can trust this advice because as the title says I’ve been around a whole lotta darn interviewing.
Note: These tips are in no particular order.
Further Note: These are not the only interviewing tips you might need. Just 10 that I’d like to highlight.
1. Be early, but never too early. You want to make sure you are on time for an interview but when you arrive too much before your scheduled time, you become an inconvenience. People have to tend to you (get you water, show you where to sit, worry about you being there) during a time they hadn’t planned to. Never arrive more than 15-20 minutes before an interview if you can help it. You might be labeled as inconsiderate if you do.
2. Send a thank-you note. Thank you notes go a long way. They show the interviewer that you have an interest in the position. They also are just a nice gesture. People like feeling appreciated. When I started interviewing others, I was surprised when I received no thank-you emails. It made me wonder if the individual really cared about the opportunity. Don’t ever let the interviewer think you aren’t interested (unless you really aren’t.) Make sure to get a business card after your interview is over.
The thank-you note will be the last impression you can probably make on the interviewer. It also may be your only chance to do so. Once when interviewing at MTV, I lost my interviewer’s business card and wasn’t able to get it from her secretary due to confidentiality terms. I had to do some major scouring later on because I failed to be organized.
3. Let your personality shine. I know this may be a hard thing to do, but don’t go into an interviewing with getting the job being the only thing on your mind. I’d suggest having the mindset of making yourself likeable. At the end of the day recruiters are looking for the best fit. If they called you into an interview, you’ve probably already been screened and they see you as atleast potentially capable. Interviewers take notice of your personality and who you are as a person. Be yourself.
4. Dress and groom appropriately. People will talk about you if you walk into an interview for a corporate job in a mini-skirt. Know the culture of the place that you are interviewing for and try to dress appropriately. Men, don’t engulf yourself in cologne. Not everyone’s noses can take strong smells. Bad breath is a no-no. Chipped nails could become a point of conversation. Just saying. I’ve heard and seen the conversations that can ensue when people come into an interview looking cray-cray.
5. Do your research. Imagine you’re on a second date and your date forgets your name. How would you feel? Confused? Angry? Upset? Think of an interview as a second date ( the first one being the organization reading your application). Know some things about the company. You don’t want to go into a interview for tech consulting and talk about non-profit granting. You’ll look really unprepared in the interviewer’s eyes and potentially be labeled as a joke. Don’t be a joke. Be a winner. Know some facts and current news about the industry/position you’re applying for. Impress the interviewer. It won’t hurt ya.
6. Ask the right questions. It’s an interviewer’s job to answer specific questions about the company or position, not give you an overview of the company. Make your questions worthwhile. And please, I repeat, please ask questions. It’s a personal pet peeve of mine when I ask “So do you have any questions?” and the person replies “No.” If you did your research (as outlined in step #5), you’ll probably have some type of question. Good questions are:
1. How would the employees describe the culture of the organization?
2. What would be the ideal candidate for this position?
You can even be a bit forward and ask:
3. What are some of your concerns about whether I would be a good fit for this position?
Though that question seems pretty odd to ask, it’s actually a good tactic for identifying what might make you not get the opportunity and then making your case for why you should. It might also make you aware of something about the organization that you don’t like such as “everyone here works by themselves.” Maybe you like working at organizations that value teamwork, so this place might not actually be a fit for you.
7. Don’t lie. If a interviewer asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to, don’t lie. This is especially important if it involves fact-based things or specific skills set. If you don’t know how to code, don’t tell an interviewer you do. It could come back to bite you in the ass.
8. Don’t Lie, but you can be IMAGINATIVE. We all freeze up sometimes. I once asked a prospective student I was interviewing for an admissions interview the question:
If you could go back in time and ask anyone anything, who would you pick and what would you ask them?
I must have scared the life out of this girl because she looked terrified. I wasn’t expecting for her to take the question too seriously. I basically wanted to get a better sense for her imagination and thought-process. She eventually answered that she’d want to ask Velma from Scooby Doo about her mystery solving skills. To me, GREAT ANSWER! However, she probably thought it was a weird question.
Sometimes interviewers will ask you things to throw you off. They are probably testing your problem solving abilities, response to pressure, and communication skills.
Instead of thinking about being right, think about being creative and coming up with an answer!
9. Don’t Talk Too Much. Just like you, interviewers get bored. Just like you interviewers, zone out. The person you’re interviewing is probably not your friend and doesn’t care about the intimate details of the questions you asked. Keep answers to the point. Provide substance when needed. You want interviewers to remember what you said and not have to sort through their memory’s clutter to remember the sound bites that might make or break their decision to hire you or bring you back for a second interview.
10. READ ABOUT INTERVIEWING. I DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING. I’m an avid reader and think everyone can always benefit from reading more. There are plenty of other articles out there that have great advice. Some good ones I recently found were Huff Post’s The Top 10 Interview Tips for College Graduates and ABC News’s The Top 5 Interview Tips No One Mentions.
I used to give Princeton Students career advice. Read some of it here.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GO-TO INTERVIEW TIP? COMMENT BELOW.
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You’re ready to jump into the technical job market. Maybe you’re a network engineer, maybe you’re a brand-new coder, or perhaps you work in server support. Whatever your specialization, all technical interviews share some common aspects. Our guide shows you how to prepare ahead of time so you can rock your technical interview. A little advance work can make all of the difference and land you that job you want.
In this article, we walk you through the technical interview process from start to finish. You’ll learn about the different interview stages you can expect to go through, and we also give you advice on what to wear and how to present yourself. Job interviews can be fraught experiences, but planning ahead will give you the confidence you need to knock your interviews out of the park. Is everyone ready? Then let’s get crackin’!
You’ll Actually Go Through Multiple Interviews
Take this quiz to ace your interviews by getting personalized feedback about your technical skills!
It’s a bit inaccurate to describe your experience at a hiring company as one big interview. In fact, you’ll probably have several different interviews as you move through the hiring process. Think of the multiple interviews as hurdles you have to clear or as qualifying heats. At each interview stage, some people will fail to advance. By the time you sit for a final onsite interview, you’ll have cleared a number of bars and established yourself as a promising candidate.
You’ll likely have an initial phone interview to get the hiring process underway. This will be a technical interview for the most part and will gauge your qualifications and enthusiasm for the work. You might also get a second remote interview to test your skills ahead of an in-person visit. Then, you’ll have a final interview with the hiring manager and any other folks who have to sign off on you. Plan on answering technical questions at all stages, and project an enthusiastic and cooperative attitude, and you’ll be set.
Dress to Impress, and Bring Your Tools
You made it to the final interview, huh? Congratulations! Just getting to this point is a huge accomplishment, one that many of your peer couldn’t achieve. Now, all you have to do is make a positive impression on your interviewers. To do so, you’ll need to answer the technical questions to their satisfaction, but you’ll need a little extra to put you ahead of the other candidates. Fortunately, you can get a head start on impressing your future employers with a few simple steps.
Let’s start with your clothes. Naturally, you don’t want to dress too casually to your interview—leave your shorts and halter tops at home—but you can dress too formally, too. A good approach is to wear outfits that are one level higher than the company’s dress code. For example, if the company allows employees to wear jeans or shorts, come to the interview in business casual dress.
You should also bring some basic tools, including a pen, a notepad, and your resumé. You might not need any of them, but having them on hand will impress your interviewer.
So that’s how the story goes, folks. When you set out to land a technical job, the interview process can be overwhelming. We’re here to help, though. Our guide shows you how to rock your technical interview. We give you some dynamite tips and advice to help ensure that your next technical interview ends with a job offer and handshake.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.
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Hi Everyone, this week’s show topic on my BlogTalkRadio Show, Career Talk with Holly Bunn, included how to rock your phone interview. Below are a few bullets and golden nuggets from Saturday’s online radio show.
Prepare for Your Phone Interview:
- Research the company – go beyond the company website and set up a Google alert to email news, sign up for newsletters and follow their blogs; look for current events that could affect your potential job.
- Like/Follow the company’s social media pages (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instgram, Blogs, etc.) to get updates.
- Calculate your asking salary (refer to Episode 9) because you will get asked the salary question during the first interview and preparation is key to landing your optimal salary.
- Prepare CAR stories that create value – at least three. Challenge, Action, Result stories. Create stories that demonstrate your ability to do the job you are applying for…..
- Have pen and paper handy to take notes during the phone interview.
. How to Get to the Second Interview
- Ask thoughtful questions that only a hiring manager can answer. Stay away from questions that can be answered within the job posting.
- What is expected of the successful candidate within the first 90 days of the job?
- Tell me about the team I’d be working on/with.
- Send a thank you note within 24 hours of the interview. Include 2-3 bullet points on why you are a good fit for the position. Be genuine and purposeful in your note. No empty or cliché thank you notes.
- Find and connect with the recruiter/interviewer on LinkedIn with a tailored connection request message.
10 Phone Interview Rules to Follow
- Smile – People can hear you smiling and feel the positive energy.
- Sit up straight or stand during the interview. Sitting up also creates positive energy. Do not lie down or slouch on the couch for the call.
- Tell the truth – no lies, they will eventually catch up to you.
- Dress the part – Yes, get fully dressed as if it’s an in person interview. It plays a role in your attitude.
- No background noise –Find a quiet place without distractions.
- No dropped calls – Use a landline, if possible, to reduce the chances of a dropped call. Have a fully charged phone if cordless or mobile.
- No eating, drinking, or smoking while on the call. Do not chew gum or eat candy. Remember, you can’t undo burping.
- Do not use the bathroom while on the phone – this seems obvious, but people have done it. Please use the bathroom before the call.
- Do not bad mouth your former/current employer or manager.
Ending thought: The key to acing the phone interview is attitude and preparation. Present your best self during the interview and be optimistic. Optimism (or the lack thereof) comes out in your voice tone and word choice.
In case you missed the show, click here now to listen to the entire episode: How to Rock Your Phone Interview.
Getting ready for an interview when things were “normal” was stressful enough. What do I wear? Where will I park? What questions will they ask? Adding a global pandemic and video interview to the mix adds a whole other layer of anxiety to an already nerve-wracking situation. How’s my lighting? Is my background OK? Will my dog bark?
We get it, and we’re right there with you. Ninety-eight percent of our workforce is working remotely and will be for at least the rest of 2020. So, chances are your interviewer is probably hoping their child doesn’t pop in the frame during your interview, too.
Putting your best foot forward virtually doesn’t have to be as stress-inducing when you’re prepared for the big day. To help ease your nerves, get ready for your video interview with these five tips:
1. Test your technology beforehand
We have all experienced unexpected technical difficulties at the worst possible time. Make sure to check your connection before your interview. You should also make sure you’ve downloaded and created an account on whichever platform your interviewer is using. (At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, we like to use Microsoft Teams). This can eliminate a last-minute scramble to get logged in and join the interview.
If you don’t have access to internet or need other accommodations, let your recruiter know. Our team is ready to work with candidates to remove barriers that could stand in the way of you landing your dream job with us!
2. Minimize distractions
Find a quiet, private place to take your interview call or have your video interview. We completely understand that life happens. Maybe a roommate or pet makes some noise, and we won’t judge you for that. However, we encourage you to do your best to step away and minimize unnecessary sounds.
You should choose a background that is free of distractions. You may even choose to blur your background or use a fake background image. A neutral background is a great bet. Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s appropriate and allows you to shine. We won’t be evaluating your décor. We just want to hear about you and why you’re the best fit for the position.
3. In-person or virtual, dress professionally
Whether communicating through a screen or face-to-face, you should dress professionally for every interview. This doesn’t mean you need to have the perfect or most expensive outfit. Just put your best foot forward! Doing so helps you appear prepared and excited about the position. It will also make you feel more confident for your interview.
*Tip: If you are unsure what to wear to an interview, business attire is typical. A nice jacket will give you a polished look.
4. Prepare in advance
Even though you will be spending time talking about yourself and your own experiences, preparing in advance helps you communicate concisely and clearly. This means thinking through what you want to share about yourself and what you want to know about the company.
Thoughtful questions will help you determine if you can see yourself joining the organization. We typically ask behavioral interview questions. To learn more about how to prepare for those, read 7 Tips to Ace your Next Interview.
5. Communicate with your Interviewer or Scheduler
Wireless connections, pets, and family members can be unpredictable. Things happen – just let us know about them. At Blue Cross NC, we understand that during an interview, you might be balancing your education, personal life, and professional development in one space.
If your wireless connection struggles with video capability, we can work with that. If you live with multiple people and there is some background noise, we can work with that too. If you anticipate any challenges, make sure to keep us in the loop so that we can join you in being flexible and adaptable.
6. Most importantly, be yourself
In person, on the phone, or on camera, we want you to be yourself.
Interviews are just as much about you determining if you can see yourself somewhere as they are about being evaluated for a position by the company.
Video interviews are starting to become the norm in the hiring process. They’ve replaced the traditional and outdated phone screen, but with a few tweaks. You’ll be asked the same standard questions about why you want to work for the company, why you’re the best candidate, and a few questions to learn more about your character and work ethic. The difference is that you won’t be speaking directly with a person. Instead, you’ll be reading questions and recording your answers through a video system.
Treat it like a regular face to face interview.
You may be doing the interview from your living room, but don’t let yourself get too comfortable. Wear exactly what you would if the interview were in person. It’s tempting to wear a nice shirt paired with pajama pants, but doing that will negatively impact your performance. Putting on business clothing signals to your brain that it’s time for work, not relaxation. It’s a simple yet powerful mind trick that truly works.
Don’t rely on notes.
You can’t use notes in a face to face interview, so don’t use them in a video interview. There’s no way of using them discretely, no matter how hard you try. You’ll be seen glancing away on the video, which makes it very obvious to the hiring manager that you’re reading from something. The perception will be that you aren’t confident, aren’t prepared, or aren’t engaged – not the message you want to send. That will likely cause the hiring manager to stop watching your video and move onto the next candidate.
Know the rules.
Make sure to read the instructions carefully before you record your interview. You should be told how long you’ll have to answer each question and what the time limit is on each recording, as well as if there’s an option to re-record your answers. I highly recommend not utilizing the re-recording tool. Re-recording often causes you to come off as robotic, rehearsed, or forced. None of these are desirable qualities in a job interview, nor do they help you stand out in a crowded field of candidates.
Put your phone away.
Put your phone on silent and leave it in another room. You don’t want any distractions during the interview, and it’s all too easy to let a quick glance at a phone derail your train of thought. Better yet, turn off vibrate so your phone is completely silent. That will ensure a 100% distraction free environment.
Make sure your environment is quiet.
Nothing is more disruptive than a person shouting or the sound of a coffee machine in the background. Find a quiet spot where you can guarantee there won’t be any background noise for the interview. If you have roommates, let them know when you’ll be doing the interview so they can keep quiet. Also avoid chewing gum or eating a lozenge, as the sound of that will be picked up by the recording.
Get set up 10 minutes early.
Have everything you need for the interview ready to go 10 minutes before the interview starts. Put your phone away, turn on your computer, have your login info ready, then take a few minutes to relax. A quick meditation or guided breathing exercise will help you focus and ease your nerves.
Test all your tech beforehand.
Make sure that everything works before you log in and start the interview. Check that your camera is working and find a flattering angle with good lighting. Make sure that your background isn’t cluttered or showing anything that isn’t work appropriate. For the best audio, use headphones to ensure that your speech is captured clearly.
Prepare exactly the same way you would if you were doing a face to face interview. Do your homework, learn about the company, review the job description, and know what skills you want to highlight in the interview. Remember that the video interview is simply a different format, and don’t let that rattle your nerves.
You’ve discovered the advantages of working with a staffing firm that specializes in recruiting temporary accounting and finance professionals in your search for temporary work. That’s why you signed up with them. But now that it’s time to meet face to face, do you know how to succeed in a temporary job interview?
Candidates should prepare to answer questions about their background, their strengths and weaknesses, and why they’re interested in the role — just as they would if they were interviewing for a full-time position, says Lauren Coker, Robert Half senior regional manager.
“But they should steer clear of talking too much about long-term opportunities when it’s a temporary job,” she says. “That could make them look like a flight risk or someone who wouldn’t commit to the duration of the project.”
What other behind-the-scenes advice does Coker have to share about interviewing for a temporary job?
Here are three ways that she says will help you stand out in a temporary job interview — and win the assignment.
1. Research the company and know what it needs
Before the interview, you should research the company and look up the hiring manager on LinkedIn, Coker says.
Employers have a variety of reasons for engaging temporary workers, but it’s safe to say they’re looking for someone to fill a specific role or complete an immediate project. You can find out from the job description and also from your staffing agency what a business is looking for in a candidate.
Is the employer looking for a highly skilled finance professional who can supply specialized expertise? Does the company need to fill an entry-level position for someone on leave? Either way, you’ll want to focus on how you can quickly get up to speed to accomplish the tasks the company needs.
2. Prepare for skill-based interview questions
Say you’re interviewing for a temporary position as a tax accountant. You’ll want to talk about your top-notch research, organization and communication skills, your commitment to ethics and a strong attention to detail. Preparing for a temporary job interview for a part-time bookkeeping position? Discuss your experience in preparing financial statements, managing bank reconciliations and processing payroll.
“What you need to do in the job interview is to outline your specific skills,” Coker says. “Articulate your experience, from software and positions to industry experience, and explain how you’d transfer your skillsets to the temporary job you’re applying for.”
Yes, you may be asked common job interview questions, such as: “Can you tell me a little about yourself?” But the questions that will get to the heart of a temporary job interview are those that give you a chance to discuss similar work you’ve done in the past and the processes and technology you’re familiar with.
Practice your answers so you’re able to present information about your relevant skills and experience, your adaptability and flexibility, your ability to complete specific tasks and commit to a project, and how you can benefit the company.
Here are some examples of skills-related questions:
- For an accounts payable job: “Tell us about a time you discovered a discrepancy in an invoice. How did you solve it?”
- For a cost accounting job: “What accounting packages have you worked with, and which one best meet your needs?”
- For internal auditing: “Have you ever discovered an inefficiency or fraud during an audit?”
For a short-term role, personality fit isn’t always the most critical component of the job interview, but your interpersonal skills still important.
“Hiring managers are going to want someone who fits in with their staff and collaborates with others on the team,” Coker says. “And you can be sure that if there are two or three people who are all equally qualified for the position, they will choose the person who they connect with most from a soft skills perspective.”
3. Be proactive and ready to work
Hiring managers need to know you’re going to be able to hit the ground running with little or no training for the temporary job. They also want to know you’re interested in the kind of work you’ll be doing.
“Be sure to express your interest in the job and that you’re ready to work right away, assuming you are,” Coker says. “Show that you have initiative, and that you care about bettering yourself and adding value to the organization.”
Keep in mind that some companies may be considering a temp-to-hire strategy, where they can evaluate potential hires before offering them a full-time position. This is one kind of temporary job interview where it’s fully acceptable to discuss your long-range goals.
“A lot of people who start out in temporary positions and do really well and make a great impression are going to be the first to be considered for a full-time opportunity, should one present itself,” Coker says.
“If you’re asked why you’re pursuing temporary work over full-time positions, talking about how temporary work fits into your current lifestyle would be appropriate.”
One more tidbit: The temporary job interview process often moves quicker than for full-time positions. That means you may need to provide references right away, and you might be called in for a second interview, where you can expect to discuss the next steps. Be prepared to start very soon in a temporary job.
Learn how Accountemps’ industry expertise and personalized job search service will help you find temporary positions well-matched to your unique skillset and requirements.
November 14, 2017 // by Keristen Lucero
Have you ever thought of interviews from the POV of the interviewer? While interviewing via Skype a prospective intern from the University of Arizona, Burns Entertainment operations manager Janell Santiago heard a party song. “I finally said something because it was so distracting, and he said he was hoping I couldn’t hear it.” She cut the interview short. In the past, Santiago has had people interview in rooms that were a mess, or while dressed in pajamas. “I am fairly easygoing and want students to feel comfortable,” Santiago said. “Some people equate that with being too comfortable and the level of professionalism goes out the door.” Yikes.
Ready to rock that internship interview? You’ll want to avoid these mistakes.
Read over your documents
Impressions start before the interview. Students often overlook small details when applying for an internship. You need to double-check company requirements during the application process. For instance, according to Santiago, Burns Entertainment requires a cover letter, which students often ignore. In fact, she said that when they do receive cover letters, they are addressed to a different company entirely. “There is never an excuse for this, even though some students try,” she said.
The name of a resume file or cover letter matters. Avoid general file names. Instead, include your name in the title. “It can be frustrating to receive a resume file that’s named Resume Final 2, especially since we get a lot of resumes each day,” Shannen Olan, community manager for Dormify, said. “It’s a tiny detail that doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Customize the application materials, said Sid Holt, chief executive of American Society of Magazine Editors. “That goes for letters of recommendation too,” Holt said. “Generic letters tell me the recommendation can’t be relied on.”
Don’t overlook company background
Research the company before you go to the interview. Jennifer Neef, associate director of the Career Center of the University of Illinois, suggests starting with the company website. After that, Neef said students shouldn’t undervalue personal connections they have with the company. Talk to past interns and graduates now working for the company through LinkedIn. “It is not enough to just know the company,” Neef said. “You must be able to articulate that to the employers.”
Know the company’s mission, values, history, departments and products or services, said Andrea White, assistant director of student services at Indiana University. She recommends staying up to date through news and press releases on the company’s social media pages like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
And what if you didn’t do your research? According to Santiago, her biggest issue is when interviewees give excuses for not knowing what they have applied for. Interviewers can spot lies in the same way your sixth sense tells your roommate has stolen your last slice of pizza.
Finally, Olan she finds it impressive when an intern has an idea or concept they think the company should work into their strategy. Hey, your ultimate goal revolves around contributing to the company. Why not go that extra mile and show your enthusiasm?
Don’t say too little
Not only does body language and professionalism matter during an interview, but the interactions are just as important. Interviews are a two-way evaluation and assessment, Neef said. Olan agreed that asking questions during the interview is super important. “When someone doesn’t have any questions to ask us it can come off as though they aren’t interested in hearing more about the position,” she said.
White suggests asking these five questions: What do you hope a person in this role will have accomplished in a year from now? What are the first projects I would take on when getting this role? What are some challenges to success in this role? How do you see me contributing to the overall goals of the company? Can you tell me more about the culture and community of the company?
A common mistake? Not fully answering questions or giving short responses, Olan said. Think about it—if you were the interviewer and your interviewee gave you half-baked answers, would you hire them? “Responses to my questions can be indicative of their personality, meaning how well they handle criticism, workloads and pressures,” Santiago said. “I feel like I have to pull teeth to find out more.”
To avoid this mistake, students should anticipate questions, Neef said. For instance, as she said, you could engage in mock interviews with friends is a good way to practice.
According to White, you should read the job posting and look for the skills and requirements listed when it comes to anticipating questions. She also suggests having answers prepared for at least these five questions: tell me about yourself, what are your biggest strengths, what do you believe will be your biggest challenge to success, why are you interested in this organization specifically and tell me about a time you had to work with a team.
With these in mind, go forth and conquer that interview. You got this.
Looking for more tips on landing your dream internship?
The Ultimate Resume Guide
“Pro tip: List only the most impressive and relevant points in reverse chronological order, including the location and the time period you worked there. While looking at a stack of resumes, your potential employer’s short attention span needs a reason to keep reading. If you’re applying for a marketing position, don’t bother including high school goalie, but make sure to list last year’s business internship. Don’t forget to write out a job description and acquired skills for each position to show how your previous experience will translate at the job you’re about to land.”
How to Rock These 10 #Basic Internship Interview Questions
“The employer wants to make sure that you’re not there just for a paycheck, so don’t answer, ‘Because I need a job.’ They’re looking for someone who can grow as a person and an employee. Tell them things you like about the company and how your strengths align with the job, like the company dynamics or the ability to grow with the opportunities they have. This will make you a better candidate than the competition.”
This is a guest blog post from our Spring 2015 interns here at Intern Queen Victoria Mazella, Rachel Fleishman and Lauren Whalley.
Spring 2015 Intern Queen interns here! Interning for the Intern Queen has given us a lot of experience with phone interviews, on both sides of the interview process. A lot of companies, not just for virtual positions, are conducting their first round of interviews on the phone. Sometimes students feel that phone interviews are the “easy way out”- you don’t have to dress up, you can have your information right in front of you, and there seems to be less outside pressure. While you may not be sitting face-to-face with your interviewer, phone interviews are just as important and should be taken just as seriously! After conducting the first round interviews for the Intern Queen summer interns, here are some of our tips for rocking your phone interview:
1.Give yourself some time to prepare. Prepare for your phone interview as if you were preparing for a traditional interview – the interviewer can tell if you’re not ready even though they cannot see you! If your interview is in the morning, get up at least an hour early to allow yourself time to fully awaken. Research the company ahead of time so that you can ask great questions at the end. Even though you may have access to your computer, it is difficult to multitask researching the company, paying attention to the questions, and providing well thought out answers. Plus, the interviewer can hear typing and clicking in the background!
2. Set-Up Before your interview, set up your space! Make sure you are in a quiet place with no background noise, have all of your electronic devices charged, and make sure you have a great Internet connection. Also have your resume and cover letter in front of you for reference when you answer questions. Again, it’s all about being prepared and professional!
3. Smile! This is one of the biggest tips we see regarding phone interviews and we now know why! Although it seems silly to smile while you speak, it is something that the interviewer can really hear. When you smile, it naturally forces you to sound cheerier, clearer, and more professional. The interviewer’s only way to read your personality is through your tone and the way you speak, so if you sound tired or mumble, it leaves a bad impression.
4.Be Conscious About Your Phone Etiquette! Because you are not in a typical interview environment, it is easy to forget that you are on an interview! You may forget that you are speaking to an interviewer rather than the people you would normally speak to on the phone- a friend, your parents, your significant other, etc. So make sure you are aware of what you say during your phone interview and how you say it! Don’t mumble, don’t overuse filler-words such as “uhm,” “uh,” or “like,” and don’t curse (even if it is just a slip)! You may have to remind yourself that although you are not physically in a professional setting, you still have to conduct yourself professionally.
5 Ask Great Questions! This is where all of your research comes into play. Asking great questions during a phone interview is one way to leaving a lasting impression on the interviewer! Remember, during a phone interview, you cannot rely on your physical presence to stand out. Asking a lot of well-researched questions proves to the interviewer that you are well versed in the company and the position you are interviewing for!
6. Send a follow-up email. Follow-up emails are a given for any interview! Especially for phone interviews, where it can be more difficult to leave a lasting impression, sending a follow-up “thank you” email can really help you stand out!
Bottom line- treat your phone interviews like you would treat an in-person interview. It can be harder to stand out in a phone interview because you aren’t making a physical impression, so be sure to follow our tips to make the interviewer wish they could meet you!