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How to Have A Successful Phone Interview Presented by Career Services The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars.

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Presentation on theme: "How to Have A Successful Phone Interview Presented by Career Services The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars."— Presentation transcript:

1 How to Have A Successful Phone Interview Presented by Career Services The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars

2 Slide 2 The 3 Stages of a Phone Interview 1. Pre Phone Interview 2. Phone Interview 3. Post Phone Interview

3 Pre Phone Interview Preparing for the Conversation

4 The most important person to research… YOU What skills do you want to use in your career? What experiences have honed these desired skills? Is this position an opportunity for you to use and improve the skills you want? What experiences do you need to further develop these skills?

5 How do I look online?  Google yourself  Check out Reppler as a tool for managing your online reputationReppler  Downplay the negative  Keep social network profiles clean or private  Emphasize the positive – is your LinkedIn profile the first result?  Make your LinkedIn profile interesting  Get recommendations (hint: recommending others = good karma)  Post articles  Join groups  Custom LinkedIn URL

6 Pre Phone Interview: The Research Hierarchy Industry Company Job

7  Bureau of Labor Statistics  Career Guide to Industries:  Occupational Outlook Quarterly:   – check if your school pays for this service Pre Phone Interview: Knowing the Industry

8  Company website  Avoid wasting time asking questions that can be answered on the website  About Us Section  Mission Statement  Management Team Bios  Recent Press Releases  LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.   More than financial information  Company successes  Areas for improvement  Strategic plan  Interviewer(s)  Google them, they are Googling you anyway!  LinkedIn (again)  Facebook (again) Pre Phone Interview: Knowing the Company

9  Read the job description carefully  Look at each responsibility and note any experiences that prepare you  Watch for skills explicitly included and write out specific experiences where you demonstrate those skills  Know which responsibilities you are not prepared for or don’t understand  Opportunity to ask interviewer for clarification Pre Phone Interview: Knowing the Job Function

10 Slide 10 YOUR VOICEMAIL  Greeting Example: “Hi, you have reached Jason. I’m unavailable to come to the phone right now. Please leave your name, phone number and a message and I will get back to you. Thanks!”  Check your voicemail everyday and return all messages within 24 hours!  Watch for the following area codes for the DC and surrounding areas (202, 703, 301)  An employer may call and want to interview you on the spot. If they call and it is not a good time for you have a long conversation or interview, don’t answer the phone and let it go to voicemail. YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS  Make sure your address is professional  Good email addresses:,  Not so good email addresses:,  Return all emails within 24 hours.  Follow directions. Do they want you to call or email them back?  Keep it professional HOUSE PHONE  Make sure you are receiving the messages. Pre Phone Interview: Getting Set Up

11 Slide 11 Pre Phone Interview: Other Helpful Tips  Keep your resume in clear view so that it is at your fingertips when you need to reflect back to it.  Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.  Clear the room! (evict the kids and pets, turn off the stereo and the TV, close the door)  Charge your cell phone.

12 Phone Interview Showcasing Your Best Self

13 Slide 13 Important Reminder Make sure that you note the Eastern Standard United States Time Zone for your interview! For example, 9AM in Washington D.C. is 6AM in Los Angeles, California.

14 Slide 14 Phone Interview: Setting Up STAND OR SIT UPRIGHT WHEN ON THE PHONE  This allows your voice to project and sound more confident.  Wake up plenty of time before the interview. SPEAK CLEARLY  When people get nervous they talk fast and mumble.  This makes communication even more difficult over the phone. FEEL FREE TO USE NOTES, BUT DON’T READ FROM A SCRIPT  Bullet items that you want to mention in your interview.  Have your questions ready. SMILE AND BE ENTHUSIASTIC  When you smile, the interviewer can actually feel it.

15 Slide 15 The Most Common Interview Question  Tell me about yourself.  School  Year in school (graduation date if you are graduating)  Major(s) and minor(s)  I am interested in…industry, type of work, etc.  I am drawn to this position with your organization because…  I would benefit your team with these skills and experiences…

16 Slide 16 Explaining why you want to work for them…  Why did you decide to apply for this position?  Answer this question before they ask when telling them about yourself!  This requires self-reflection – what do you want?  What sort of work do you want to do?  Be as specific as you can – e.g., you can “help people” in many ways, but why this way in particular?  This involves company research – what are they looking for?  Know the company’s purpose  Know the job description

17 Slide 17 Common questions  What would a coworker say it is like to work with you?  What is your ideal work environment?  What is your greatest strength?  What is your biggest weakness?  What were the responsibilities of your last position?  Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?  How do you handle stress?

18 Slide 18 Answering the “biggest weakness” question  Note an area of improvement that is not essential to the job (check the job description!)…  …but is also a genuine weakness that you are working to improve on  Always end on a positive note  “Being organized wasn’t my strongest point, but I implemented a time management system that really helped my organizational skills.”  “Sometimes, I get caught up in my daily tasks, that I forget the big picture. I have been working on this in my weekly status meetings with my manager by discussing with her how my tasks fit within the departmental and company goals.”

19 Slide 19 Telling Stories  Identify key attributes for success in the role and prepare 2-3 stories for each personal attribute  Teamwork  Communication  Organizational  Critical/analytical thinking  Self-starter/Innovative  Willingness to learn  Willingness to travel  Experiences related to the position

20 How to tell a story USE THE STAR APPROACH Source:

21 STAR Example QUESTION: Describe a situation when you had to change your plans without warning  Situation: One time at Company XYZ, a project deadline got moved up 2 weeks. This project required a lot of time and research, but…  Task: I needed to send results to my supervisor by the following morning.  Action: I immediately put on hold some other projects that could wait and began working on this project. I had good rapport with other staff members and they offered their help. I delegated some research tasks, allowing me to focus on the tasks I had already begun working on. I also stayed after work for a few hours to get the project done.  Result: The project was turned in early and my supervisor was able to use the project to get an important client who generated an extra $40,000 of revenue for our organization. I was very grateful for the support from my fellow coworkers and made sure to thank everyone. We all work together well and I am always willing to help others if they are in a jam, and my supervisor was very pleased with the results.

22 Slide 22 Other Tips  You will be talking about yourself, but maintain a focus on what YOU are going to do for THEM.  When discussing negative experiences, emphasize how you made the best of the outcome.  Vary your examples; don't take them all from just one area of your life.  Use recent examples (high school may be too long ago).  Don’t interrupt the interviewer.  Take your time – it’s perfectly okay to take a few moments to collect your thoughts.

23 Turning the Tables: What to Ask Interviewers  Prepare 3-5 questions beforehand  Examples:  Please tell me about what you are looking for in this position?  What are the day to day responsibilities of this internship?  What is the work atmosphere like in this internship?  I noticed on your website that you work with [topic], I’m very interested in this subject, would I be exposed to this?  Could you tell me about your supervision/managerial style?  What is the timeline for filling this internship position?  What is your employee turnover rate?

24 Slide 24 Phone Interview: Wrapping Up  Ask about next steps in the process  Thank them for their time  Restate your interest!  Examples  “I am very interested in this position and I hope you will keep me in consideration.”  “Thank you very much for taking the time to interview me today. I’m very interested and I hope to hear from you soon.”

25 Post Phone Interview Making a Lasting Impression

26 Slide 26 Post Phone Interview: Thank You THANK YOU EMAIL  You should follow the interview with a thank you email within 24 hours. EXAMPLE: Mr. or Ms. Jones: Thank you again for the opportunity to interview for the internship position at ABC Company. I appreciated your questions and enjoyed our conversation about (subject A, B, C, and D). The interview convinced me of how compatible my background, interest, and skills are with you the goals of ABC Company. I am very interested and hope to hear from you in the near future. If you have any questions feel free to contact me at (123) 123-1234. Thank you again for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Tim Smith  Send separate personalized notes to each interviewer with specific references to conversation

27 Slide 27 Post Phone Interview: Reflection Do you feel more or less excited about working for this employer?

28 Slide 28 Post Phone Interview: The Offer  To accept or not to accept?  Communicate with The Washington Center!  Example acceptance of job offer email. Carbon Copy your contact at The Washington Center. Dear Mr. Smith: It is with great appreciation that I thank you for the internship offer. I gladly accept the offer and appreciate the opportunity to (your preferred expression here). I will commence at this position on (start date). I look forward to being part of your team and am confident that I will be able to make a positive contribution to the (company/organization) goals. Thank you once again for this opportunity. Sincerely, Your Name

29 Slide 29 Post Phone Interview: Rejecting an Offer  Call first before following up with email  Example rejection of job offer email. Carbon Copy your contact at The Washington Center. Dear Mr. Smith: Thank you very much for your telephone call and letter offering me the [position name] position with [company]. While I believe firmly in the mission of your organization and appreciate the challenging opportunity you offer, I have had another offer which I believe more closely aligns with my current career goals and interests. Therefore, although it was a difficult decision, as I explained when we spoke by phone this morning, I must decline your offer. I do appreciate all the courtesy and hospitality extended to me by your office, and I wish you the best in your endeavors. Sincerely, Your Name

30 Slide 30 QUESTIONS?

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