Interviewing

Monday, February 13, 2012

Acing the Phone Interview

An increasing number of job applicants are finding themselves faced with an initial phone interview, sort of a hoop through which to jump before getting some face time with a hiring manager. Though daunting in that the medium itself strips conversation of crucial non-verbal cues, there are a few ways to make this experience into more enjoyable and successful.
First, set up the right physical environment. For most people, that’s a quiet space at home, a room where there will be no distractions or competing noise. That includes pets, so make sure Fluffy has settled nicely onto the living room couch for a sound nap. One additional advantage of choosing a bedroom for this conversation is that typically there’s a mirror on the wall. And since you will have no one to look at while speaking, it’s not a bad idea to look at yourself. A one person audience, as it were. Granted, this might feel weird and most people don’t take me up on this suggest but it definitely does work. Looking at someone with a smile on their face—even if it IS you!—is much more energizing than talking into the air.
Second, not enough can be said about being prepared. Research the company, google your interviewer, print out a copy of your resume, write out notes (another advantage of the phone interview—you can glance at your notes and no one will notice) and think through your answers before encountering   the questions. This is especially true for phone interviews where silence seems to stretch out longer than in real life.
Finally, relax and be yourself. Smile—seriously, don’t neglect a smile—and forget about trying to be perfect. Look to connect with the person on the other end of the line. They are, after all, trying to solve the knotty problem of a vacant position and you might just be the one to make their day.

Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 02/13 at 01:31 PM
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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Marketing yourself…yuck

I realize that today’s title flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Current job search literature is replete with admonitions to market and brand yourself, the end result being a coherent product ready for employers to pick off the shelf, as it were.

Personally, however, I find the idea mildly repugnant. And a number of Calvin students seem to agree. Modesty rules, putting us at a seeming disadvantage in job search situations.

But, there’s nothing wrong with communicating who you are, right? I mean, how else will an employer know who they’re hiring?

So, in lieu of marketing yourself, may I suggest the following strategy:

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 03/02 at 01:30 PM
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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Readers’ questions on interviewing

A recent e-newsletter published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers made the following observation: out of all the hoops job seekers jump through, they tend to make the most mistakes during the interviewing process. More than on resumes, cover letters or sceening phone calls.

So with that backdrop, I thought I’d move to some readers’ questions on the subject.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 11/10 at 03:23 PM
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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Both sides of the fence: real life interview tips from an experienced student

Today’s advice comes from someone who’s sat in both chairs—that of the interviewee and the interviewer. After being selected from a pool of internship candidates, Helga was then assigned to travel the state and search for new employees, quickly throwing her into the role of an interviewer herself—even though she’d not yet finished college. Based on her summer experiences, here’s what she has to say…..

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 11/08 at 11:50 AM
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Friday, August 26, 2005

Informational Interviews at your fingertips

How do you find out—before you get there—what your dream job is really like?

I’ve met with a number of people who never did check things out ahead to time and, low and behold, 15 years later and they hate (should be a capital H there) what they’re doing. Worse yet, might be making a lot of money doing it, thus exacerbating the stuck feeling. A few lawyers I met with years ago always come to mind.

Anyway, one low risk way to get the facts is to do informational interviews, i.e. line up what amounts to advice time with a professional and get them to basically tell their story.

Sound too daunting? Well, jump to http://www.roadtripnation.com and click on Interviews for real life tips from people in a variety of fields.

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 08/26 at 01:49 PM
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Monday, August 15, 2005

Questions to ask in an interview

Bright sunny Monday morning. Start of the week. It’s a good time to think about success stories from past summers.

Like last summer. A grad of about two years had, like many other Michigan residents, lost her job. So she would use the computers in our resource area daily. Everyday I’d see Kelsey—working tirelessly on her job search.  We’d often talk and, at one point, spent some time in prayer asking the Lord for a job.

 

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Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 08/15 at 10:09 AM
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