The link between college and corporate

I interviewed for my summer internship twice via phone before a face-to-face final interview, and I am now preparing for another phone interview in two days that may lead to full-time employment. Having gone through the process once before, I’m recalling a few things that will make going through the process again much easier.

1) To me, phone interviews always seem like they are going to be relaxed, because I can be in jeans sitting on my bed, but I find that they are just a different kind of stressful. While I may not be sweating in a suit with someone forcing eye contact, I also do not have the ability to read the body language of my interviewer. When talking in person I take for granted visual cues on whether or not someone is responding to what I’m saying, and especially in an interview context, I can use them to alter the direction of the conversation. It is important that I remember to ask questions throughout the interview to gauge how the process is going and be a strong listener.

2) Being prepared is one of the things that makes me feel most comfortable phone interview. Throughout my college career I’ve attended seminars and classes on how to interview. During these sessions I’ve collected papers with lists of things to discuss and remember: my 3 best qualities, what makes me a leader, a strength and a weakness, and stories on different types of problems I’ve solved. Having read through those papers again, I like to keep them on hand for when those questions are asked. I found it easiest to sit someplace where I could spread out my resume, cover letter, and these papers (all unstapled of course so they can’t hear the shuffling of papers on the other side of the phone!) and grab them at a moment’s notice. This minimizes the lag time in between question and answer, and it helps me to maximize my time when speaking to the interviewer, rather than filling in between answers with fluff while trying to wrack my brain for the best response. Having those reminders gives me confidence when going into the interview!

3) Speaking of having papers, doing my research on the company is key before this interview. Last time, I made up a sheet with basic information about the company (it’s history and core competencies) and any recent news articles featuring what it was currently doing. These are great to have for when the interviewer is giving some background on the company (I’ll be able to chime in!), and it’s great for when the interviewer asks if I have any questions.

4) Lastly, when I did my first phone interview I ended up sitting at my desk, which is near my mirror. I found that it was easiest to look at my mirror and talk to myself during the interview! It was calming to see myself sitting cross-legged in my desk chair with my hair in a messy bun while talking business. It was also easier to become animated during the conversation (it’s true what they say—people can hear a smile over the phone! Don’t underestimate the power of expression, that’s for sure). Plus, it also kept me from talking too fast—I could see when I was moving too quickly (something nerves definitely are a factor it), and I could better pace myself.

All in all, I’m feeling much more relaxed going in to the phone interview process again!

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Author: Patrique

My most recent phone interview was for a position as a tele-counselor for USC. Obviously this position requires that I talk on the phone to prospective students and parents who have questions about USC, so a phone interview is clearly the best way to see if I fit the job description.

I do agree with you Amanda that it is harder to get a feeling for how your interviewer is feeling about you since there are no visual cues, but the auditory cues still can hold some key information. Hearing the interviewer’s fluctuation in tonality can tell you if the interviewer liked your response to the question that was just asked, but some are able to hide these reactions. What I found, which usually gave me a better gauge for how they were feeling, was that after I answered a question I would follow up my response with a simple question about their experience with a similar situation or something they like in their life that relates to it. This made our interview a bit more casual, yet it still kept a professional tone.

I strongly agree that you should research any company that you are interested in working for, especially the core principles that they follow. Coming unprepared to an interview and not anticipating what could be asked will not land you the job.

Lastly, because you are not forced to be in front of the interviewer this allows you to be more active when you explain, either using a mirror to maintain a comfortable composure or even moving your hands and feet more than you normally would since no one is there watching you. This is good because it allows you to get some of the first interview jitters out of your system and prepare you for when the face-to-face interview hopefully comes.

Author: Brock

Great post, and I’d like to emphasize point #3 especially. I recently had a phone interview for an internship, and I spent an hour or two scouring the company’s website for things to comment on or ask questions about during the interview. The interview went very well, and I noticed the interviewer became much more engaged when I began to talk about what I knew and what I wanted to know about the company. Talking about whatever company I’m interviewing for is the easiest way for me to find common ground with an interviewer when I’m not able to be in their office, surrounded by pictures and decorations that express their personality.

Author: armil

Apparently, you are very much prepared for any interview, through telephone or not.
You did your homework and put some time to research about the company you were applying for, and that was very good.