March 2014

Get a Job

Mauri Scwartz

Q:    Do you have any special tips for a phone interview?

     Congratulations on securing that interview! These days it takes hard work to get even that far in the search process. Consider a phone interview pretty much like a face-to-face meeting. Prepare in detail; dress the same too. Create a private space without noise or distraction to take the call, one where you know you’ll get the best phone reception. Be ready a few minutes ahead of time, operating on all cylinders. Be at your best.

    The nice thing about phone interviews—that aren’t Skyped—is that you can have notes in front of you, but be very careful not to have too much paperwork. You don’t want to make noise by shuffling papers or take too much time to answer because you’re searching through your materials to find a particular notation. Use your computer to help you, one with a large enough screen to be useful. Not your phone; it’s not big enough. I highly recommend that you bring up the person with whom you’re interviewing’s LinkedIn profile so you know who you’re talking to. It’s not ideal, in that the facial expression is fixed, and you won’t be able to read body language, but you can still tell a great deal just from a photograph.

    And don’t forget to prepare ahead. You can download a free copy of my proven Interview Prep Guide from my website’s resources page. Good luck!

Q:    I have a group interview with four people coming up soon; what should I watch out for? This will be a group of my peers.

 As in my answer to the phone interview question above, make sure you’re fully prepared. Research each participant so that you’re familiar with what are likely to be their particular hot buttons. If these are peers, they’ll probably to want to know your job-specific skills, experiences, and achievements: have you used x tool or procedure, how did you use x, and what was the result.

    Introduce yourself and shake hands with each one at a time. Eye contact and body language—reading it and exhibiting it—are key, and can be challenging even with only one interviewer. A few tips include making eye contact with the person asking the question; while it’s being asked and during the beginning of your answer. Then shift to make eye contact with each of the other interviewers one at a time while you’re speaking, and return to the questioner to finish. You’ll want each person to know that you’re addressing them all equally, even if one person is hogging the show. Leave the same way you came in: shake the hand of and thank every participant and ask for their business card so that you can write each a personalized thank you email. You can download a copy of my 4R Thank-You Letter Template too.

    Mauri Schwartz is President / CEO of Career Insiders

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