Focus And Cut Out All Distractions
Make sure youre not distracted. Turn off the TV. Let me repeat that. TURN OFF THE TV.
Nobody wants to ask you about your past performances and work history and hear Sponge Bob in the background. Dont think putting it on mute is good enough either. People can tell if youre distracted and delaying your answers to a potential employer because youre reading the crawler at the bottom of FOX News isnt going to score you any points.
Get comfortable, but dont get too comfortable.
Find a good spot to sit down and have all your prep materials nearby for easy access.
Sit at the kitchen table or at a desk.
Dont lay down. Dont slouch. Make sure distractions are not going to be an issue.
If youre doing the interview at home and youre not alone, make sure everyone knows youre going to be busy for a bit and to give you some privacy. Put the dogs outside. Pop in a video for the kids. Have your spouse keep everyone calm. At the very least go into a room where you can shut the door and focus on the task at hand.
So, now that youre up and dressed, lets get ready for that interview!
First and foremost, make sure youre presenting yourself in the most professional way possible, from the very first Hello, all the way to the Goodbye.
Analyze Your Learning Style
Before you can start experimenting with different studying methods, you need to understand what type of learner you are:
Is your memory associated to sound?
Maybe you can remember what you were reading when a particular song was playing? If this is your case, then you fall into the category of auditory learners.
If you want to start studying more efficiently, then it would be wise to record the lectures and listen to them instead of reading textbooks.
Do you relate information to visual content?
If you are a visual learner, you should implement images, graphs, charts, infographics, colorful lists, flashcards, and other types of visual content when you study.
Are you a physical learner?
If your learning style is not auditory or visual, then you might be a physical learner. Some students have too much energy they tap their feet or play with a pen during lectures.
A walk before a lecture will calm your nerves down. You can try studying or listening to audio lectures during a walk. That will help you remember the information more quickly.
How To Begin A Phone Interview When The Interviewer Calls You
Starting your phone interview successfully can ultimately impact how the rest of the interview goes. Use the following steps as a guide for starting your phone interview when the interviewer calls you:
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Make Sure Theres Excitement In Your Voice
One of the biggest mistakes people make in phone interviews is not sounding energetic and excited enough. Because the person cant see you, you have to work extra hard to show that youre enthusiastic about the role and meeting with them.
To help convey this, use gestures and smile while you talk. Both will automatically inject emotion into your voice. Hey, get up and walk around if that keeps you lively. And if somethings funny, laugh! Thats allowed!
Of course, youll want to balance this out by not sounding fake. Keep an eye on how loud youre speaking and try to lower the volume when you find yourself getting too animated. Practice and getting feedback from peers can help with nailing this down.
Use Calming Techniques The Day Of The Interview
You can help yourself stay calm on the day of your interview by making sure you’re prepared and practicing stress-management techniques. Being on time, ideally 15 minutes early, is one way of showing your potential employer your professionalism. Drive to the location ahead of time so you can find out the exact location before the day of the interview. If traffic is heavy in the area, prepare enough time for the drive there.
If you are feeling nervous, ask to visit the restroom before the interview. Take a deep breath and be confident that you have prepared well for it. Being nervous is normal, but try to stay as calm as you can during the interview. Ask for clarification if you haven’t understood a question, and take your time to give the best answer you can.
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Do Your Research In Advance
Know as much as you can about the employer and the opportunity before the interview, just as you would for an in-person interview:
- Re-read the job posting, and make notes of where you meet or exceed the requirements .
- Review the organizations website to see what they do, where they are, and the latest news they may have posted.
- Look for a LinkedIn Company Profile to see what information they post, as well as other job openings they might have.
- Google the company and the product/service names. See for more ideas.
- Check a site like Glassdoor.com to see the job interview questions commonly asked by this employer as well as the salary ranges and employee reviews.
- Based on your company research, have questions to ask if the opportunity arises or you risk looking uninterested and unprepared .
This research will help you to succeed in the face-to-face interview later, hopefully. It should also help you to determine if you really want to work for this employer.
For more pre-interview research ideas , read The Winning Difference: Pre-Interview Preparation.
Why Are You Looking For Jobs
Employers might ask this question during your phone interview to see if there are any red flags about your employment situation. If you are currently employed but are looking for new jobs, simply explain why. You should make your answer focused on your career instead of personal reasons or small preferences like hours or commute time. For example, you might be looking for new jobs because there are few opportunities for growth or movement in your current role.
If youve been let go for some reason, explain in a positive way that you and your employer decided it would be best for you to find a better fitting opportunity. You should address the ways youve been using your time to improve your skills and work styles.
Example answer:Im looking for opportunities to start my career as a project coordinator. Working as an executive assistant has given me abundant experience in managing and organizing schedules, so Im ready to take the next step in my career. I feel especially qualified for this particular position because Ive worked in the retail industry in my last two administrative roles. Im more than ready to start my project coordination career and would be excited for it to be with your company.
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Listen And Then Respond
When we are stressed or nervous, we tend to focus on our own words and speak quickly. We try to avoid awkward silences and often forget an essential point: an interview is supposed to be an exchange! Even if it is incredibly tempting to respond straight away, listen to the recruiter, stay level-headed and try to be focused. This will also stop you making a fatal mistake: cutting the other person off. Silences arent the end of the world, they give an interview structure. By listening to the silences, you may be able to detect the interviewers interest in certain parts of your career path, or even detect their boredom, and thus change direction or your approach.
Listening also means being proactive, taking an interest and responding by asking questions. Make sure you prepare them! The recruiter also has to convince you that you want the job, so ask for all the information you need to make an informed decision.
If Someone Enters The Room Unexpectedly
If family members, housemates or pets enter the room while youre interviewing, apologize to the interviewer, ask for a few moments, mute your microphone and turn off your camera, and then step away to deal with the interruption. Make sure that the room is secure before beginning the interview again.
As with any job interview, you should conclude by thanking the interviewer for their time. Send a follow-up thank you email later that day . This message may help build a stronger connection with your potential employer and help you progress to the next step.
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Get Ready Ahead Of Time
Don’t wait until the last minute to pick out an interview outfit, print extra copies of your resume, or find a notepad and pen. Have one good interview outfit ready, so you can interview on short notice without having to worry about what to wear.
When you have an interview lined up, get everything ready the night before.
Not only will planning out everything buy you time in the morning, it can help reduce job search anxiety, and it will also save you from having to make decisions, which means you can use that brainpower for your interview.
Make sure your interview attire is neat, tidy, and appropriate for the type of firm you are interviewing with. Bring a nice portfolio with extra copies of your resume. Include a pen and paper for note-taking.
If you’re interviewing virtually, have all the technology set and ready in advance. Do a trial run to be sure everything is working properly, and you’re comfortable with it.
Tell Me What You Know About The Role
Employers may ask this question to get a starting line for how much they need to tell you about the basics of the position youre applying for. It might also tell them whether or not youve taken the time to carefully read the job description and research as much as possible before.
Example answer:From the job description, I understand that you are looking for a bookkeeper to provide support to the departments financial activities primarily related to Accounts Payable and Procurement. I also understand that you require HIPAA compliance training, for which I am certified. It sounds like many of the daily tasks include processing vendor creation, journals, check requests, wire transfers and invoice for payments. Can you tell me more about why this position is open and what needs the team needs?
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Phone Interview Tips That Will Help You Get Hired
While you’re job searching, it’s important to be prepared for a phone interview at a moment’s notice. Many companies start the interview process with a phone call to discuss the job opportunity with a prospective employee, determine whether the candidate is a good fit, and to gauge his or her interest in the position. In some cases, a phone interview may be the only interview you’ll have.
In many cases, your interview will be scheduled in advance by email or phone. In others, you may receive a surprise phone call asking whether you’re available to chat about the job.
You never know when a recruiter or a networking contact might call and ask whether you have a few minutes to talk, so always answer the phone professionally, especially if the number is unfamiliar.
You should also make sure that your voicemail message is professional.
The Dos And Donts Of Phone Interviewing
- DONT take the call in a car, outside, or anywhere noisy
- DO answer the phone with a professional tone Hello this is
- DONT smoke or chew gum during the call
- DO take notes and have your own notes handy prior to the call
- DONT take a long time to answer the questions
- DO allow the interviewer to interrupt you and ask follow-up questions
- DONT forget to prepare questions to ask the interviewer and write down new ones as youre talking
- DO prep for the dreaded salary question ahead of time in a mock interview
- DONT talk too quickly. Breath and make sure to enunciate
- DO make sure youre distraction-free to so you can focus and listen. You can scrub your counters later.
- DONT forget to send a post-interview thank-you note
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Train Your Brain To Accept New Information
Efficient studying is a habit. Your brain needs constant training if you want to improve your focus and complete complex tasks without taking breaks.
One way to achieve this goal is to create a private learning space in your home. Youll also need a specific time of day that youll devote to studying. That will make your brain ready to accept the information it gets, so youll notice youre starting to learn much faster by the day.
Can You Tell Me About A Time Where You Had To Overcome An Obstacle
At some point, every professional encounters an obstacle. Hiring managers want to know that youll admit youve faced challenges and that you have the ability to overcome them.
In my last position, I was working on a project that was in jeopardy of missing the deadline. A team member was behind on their tasks, creating a bottleneck that impacted the rest of us. Instead of sitting back, I reached out to my colleague and asked if I could help them catch up. We discussed the trouble they were facing and created a plan that allowed us to get back on track. It took a substantial amount of effort, but was ultimately worth it since the project ended up as a success.
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Prepare Your Own Cheat Sheet
Like all good interviews, its not just about answering questions, but asking the right ones as well.
The right questions not only help you get information you might need to make an informed decision regarding the job, but it also helps confirm your qualifications as the ideal candidate for the position.
Ask about the different aspects of the job and express genuine interest and excitement in the opportunity.
Take the time to make sure that this is the organization you want to work foritll save you a ton of heartache and headaches in the long run.
Dont be afraid to dig for more details about the position and the company.
Ask questions about the job that werent covered in the job postingask about specifics and get details.
You need to know exactly what youre getting into before you say yes to the job
Make sure you prepare your own list of questions before you start. Make sure your questions are thoughtful and have a purpose.
Need some examples to use or ideas to kick start your own list? Check out our Top 14 Questions to Ask In An Interview blog post.
Remember though to keep these questions short and sweet. Again, remember, Its not about you, its about them. How can you fulfill their needs?
Ask Focused Interview Questions
Once youve established some rapport with the interviewee, focus your questions on the positions most critical skills and knowledge. The questions you ask should help determine whether a candidates qualifications, experience, workplace preferences, cultural fit, and salary requirements align with the position and your organization.
There are certain things that are must-haves for you to make any hiring decision. After starting off with the ice-breakers discussed earlier, youll want to ask questions that reveal deal-breakers. Do they have a bachelors degree? What are their salary expectation? Have they worked in a B2B sales environment for at least three years? Are they willing to travel two days each week.?
If the candidate doesnt pass muster with those initial screening questions , gracefully end the phone interview. For candidates who answered the questions satisfactorily, you can move on to the behavioral-based interview questions that delve deeper into the way the job seeker has used critical skills in past positions.
Knowing the typical problems presented by each of the jobs deliverables, youll ask candidates how they do their work to anticipate and prevent those problems from arising and how they solve them when they do arise. These types of questions go beyond skills and experience and get at the heart of how they conduct themselves at work.
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How Can You Help The Company Succeed
Hiring managers see new hires as an investment. They want to know that theyll get as much as they give, so they may ask a question like this to gauge your potential value.
Usually, you want to showcase an accomplishment or two that relate to the role. This helps you demonstrate how your skills could lead to gains for the company.
In my last position, I was able to implement a new system that enhanced overall productivity. Ultimately, efficiency and results were improved, causing sales to be boosted by 20 percent. I believe my dedication to process enhancement and efficiency can help me produce similar results in my next position, allowing me to become an asset to any sales team.
Find A Quiet Comfortable And Convenient Place
At home, this may mean locking yourself in a room thats away from family, roommates, or pets. At work, this may mean booking yourself a conference room or Breather, finding a coffee shop nearby, or settling for your car or a quiet side street. Wherever you decide to go, scope it out a day or two early for all the necessitiesa comfy seat minimal distractions, interruptions, or foot traffic good phone service and an outlet if possible.
Whats Your Biggest Weakness
This is a personal favorite of mine. The primary reason for this question is not to actually find out what your biggest weakness is. Unless of course, you say something like showing up to work on a regular basis, then its probably going to get you kicked out of consideration for the role.
The main reason for someone asking you this question is to see if you are self-aware. That is if you know your weaknesses and are smart enough to account for them.
The smart play here is to answer in a modest way. You want to be able to show that your biggest weakness actually has an upside. For instance, I usually say that mine is impatience. Which is true, I like to get things done. But what I ensure what I point out is that even though I am impatient, its because I like to crank and get a lot of work done.