Blog    About Ellyn    Contact    Subscribe to College to Career CoachingNews Feed

The Telephone Interview – 3 Questions to Ask Ahead of Time

September 26, 2012 by  
Filed under General

Employers will often use telephone interviews to prescreen potential candidates. This almost always happens when their recruiters are headquartered out of your area. It’s also a huge time saver for the employer – even if you’re just across town. Telephone interviews allow the employer to preselect candidates before investing in face-to-face interviews. In my past, as an executive recruiter, I often telephoned potential candidates prior to meeting them. This screened out a number of candidates and allowed me to spend more time with those who fit the criteria of the job during face-to-face interviews.

The telephone interview may also be used when the responsibilities of the job will require you to communicate with clients, colleagues or executives by phone. It may also be done because your future manager or team is based in another city, and should you get the position, you will be reporting in to them long distance.

When scheduling your interview, make sure to ask these 3 important questions:

#1. Ask how much time you should set aside.

#2. Ask the name, title or position of each person who will be interviewing you. This is important because the position of the interviewer tells you something about the focus of questions you will be asked. Someone from Human Resources, for example, would be questioning for overall fit and will ask questions about your resume and / or behavioral questions related to the job description. A direct manager will ask more in-depth questions about your skills and experience as they relate to the position, and a more senior manager will question you more on overall fit and what you know about the company. Being prepared for every level of manager who may appear on the call (even unexpectedly) is vital.  A few sessions with an Interview Coach can make a world of difference in preparedness for this.

*It’s definitely worth the extra effort to research online each of those you will meet by phone (i.e., Linkedin and Google). Obviously this is true for in-person interviews as well.

#3. Finally, ask if you should call the employer or if they will be calling you. If they will be calling you, give a phone number where you will not have any interruptions.

 

A word of caution: Use a landline if your cell phone does not have reliable service. If you are using a cell phone, make sure your phone is charged. You can plug in the charger while you talk so you don’t have to worry about talking too long and depleting your battery.  If you have call waiting on your cell or landline, disable it by hitting *70 before dialing.  Remember that a quality headset is an important tool for this purpose – it allows you to take notes, walk around freely, and basically not be involved with the equipment. Having your papers neat and accessible to you means BOTH hands should be free.  Always test your headset thoroughly before the interview.

 

Ellyn Small Enisman, LCSW, Certified Coach
Interview Coach
Author of the highly acclaimed book,Job Interview Skills 101
Ellyn@CollegeToCareerCoaching.com
845-323-3835


PS: To receive more great tips and advice on getting the interview and sidestepping some of the most classic mistakes, sign up for my newsletter at http://CollegeToCareerCoaching.com

 

The Telephone Interview – 3 More Tips for The Million Dollar Call

September 19, 2012 by  
Filed under General

Job Interview Skills 101What does it take to get the job? And what does the job mean to you, in dollars and cents? The bottom line is unknowable. Is it the annual salary you get just going from college to career? Is it the sum total of every job you ever have? The truth is, this is your million dollar opportunity – and a phone interview is often where it starts. Many companies will opt for a phone interview before meeting candidates face-to-face, so you must be prepared for this part of the process from the day you start your search. Ideally, a few sessions with a great Interview Coach will prepare you better than anything else. But here are 3 quick tips to help you get a good start, just in case an opportunity comes up on day 1 of your search.

#1. Have your 30-second commercial fully prepared, as well as your strengths and weaknesses. Then, put a mirror on the wall in front of you or on the desk so you can see yourself during the interview. SMILE!  Believe me, people can hear a smile through the telephone – and no one wants to hire someone who doesn’t have a great attitude.

 #2. If you are nervous, walk around with the phone to your ear. This will help to release some nervous energy. One of my most nervous coaching clients used a headset and paced around her office during the interview. She said that this helped her concentrate and released her nervous energy so it did not come through her voice on the phone.

#3. Practice, practice, practice!  Nothing takes the place of a great Interview Coach, but practicing interviewing over the telephone with your friends and family is at least a starting point. Set up a time and ask them to comment on your voice and speech qualities as you answer mock questions you provide them beforehand. Why not record the interview and play it back for yourself? You can use a web-based service to accomplish this easily, like www.freeconferencecall.com.

A word of caution: Be 100% sure you keep a list of the names and titles of everyone you speak with. You need to send a thank you to each one of them. If you don’t want to ask a potential employer how to spell his or her name, call back and ask the receptionist for the correct spelling. Before you hang up, ask about the next step in the process.

 

(For more information on this, please see questions to ask the employer in my book, Job Interview Skills 101).

 

Ellyn Small Enisman, LCSW, Certified Coach
Interview Coach
Author of the highly acclaimed book,Job Interview Skills 101
Ellyn@CollegeToCareerCoaching.com
845-323-3835


PS: To receive more great tips and advice on getting the interview and sidestepping some of the most classing mistakes, sign up for my newsletter at http://CollegeToCareerCoaching.com

 

The Telephone Interview – 3 Tips to Success

September 12, 2012 by  
Filed under General

In today’s virtual world, many companies will opt for a phone interview before meeting their short list of candidates in person. Here are 3 tips to help you succeed at that step of the interview process.

#1. Make sure your voicemail message is professional. Here’s an example to use as a guideline: “Hi, you have reached Ellyn Enisman. Your call is important to me, so please leave your name and number and I will return your call as soon as possible.”

#2. Be Prepared! If an employer calls unexpectedly and asks if you have time to interview at that very moment, ask to reschedule. You want to have everything you need in front of you and be prepared. It is okay to say that you are not in a place where you can speak openly and ask to schedule a time and date that would be convenient for them.

#3. Set the Stage. Be sure you’re in a quiet place with no distractions. You’ll want to have a glass of water nearby and to sit at a desk and have your resume, interview prep notes and the job descriptions readily available to you at all times. Be sure to dress the part! Take the time to put on your business suit just as you would for an in-person interview. This will prepare you mentally and physically to be at your very best.

A word of caution: Be Fully Prepared! Ideally, you should have a file folder for each job you have applied to. In that file should be a copy of the job description and your four-column list of what they are looking for, how you match that skill, and scenarios to back up your answers. I cover this extensively in my book, Job Interview Skills 101 (in the section on preparing for the interview). Your resume should be out as well, along with a pen and blank paper. Any other information about the company should be taken out of the file and placed on the desk as well, in case you need to access it. Also, have your list of questions to ask the employer already prepared and at your fingertips. Ideally, a few sessions with a great Interview Coach will prepare you better than anything else for this step in your process. Making the time and investment in that coach could be the most important decision of your life.
Ellyn Small Enisman, LCSW, Certified Coach
Interview Coach
Author of the highly acclaimed book,Job Interview Skills 101
Ellyn@CollegeToCareerCoaching.com
845-323-3835


PS: To receive more great tips and advice on getting the interview and sidestepping some of the most classic mistakes, sign up for my newsletter at http://CollegeToCareerCoaching.com

 

Dress the Part

September 5, 2012 by  
Filed under General

So you’ve landed the interview for your dream job, with the celebrations aside – it’s time to prepare for the big day! Now you’re most likely an inch shy from being a nervous wreck and jitters are only natural. Still, with all those anxious feelings you cannot forget the lessons you have learned through Job Interview Skills 101.

In all the rush and excitement of preparing your defined responses to the key questions and making sure all you’re paperwork is in order; there is ONE huge aspect that many of us tend to let slip by! To some this may seem to be a very minute detail and until you read Ellyn’s book, I’m sure you may have been guilty of a few rules! (I know I was.)

But I am a big believer in showing up and showing up looking the part, is just as crucial as being on time!

First impressions are everything in life

Consider your interview as an audition for the lead role in a movie and you are the star!
On paper – your resume and portfolio will sell; your personality and charm will sell as well. But none of that can compare to your self esteem! If you look good, you will feel good and that is the total package!

Remember to keep professional but also remember to dress the part for the industry you will be interviewing with. You never want to be over the top, but you do not want to hide behind the seams of an ensemble that isn’t really you! Stay true to yourself and now that a company will not discriminate based upon your appearance. However it is much preferred your appearance not be a distraction or even worse, what you were remembered for!

Another phase of this process to keep in mind is head to toe maintenance for both males and females! Ask your mom, a friend or even ask the salesman! But you MUST have someone “proof read” your chosen ensemble and to answer any questions you might have. Upholding your personal sense of style is important to you, but also remember to keep along with the standards of what each industry requires. Some industries are very forgiving and will allow you to come in bold and making a statement; where others will prefer that you tone it down and keep the colors neutral or muted.

Remember that flashy is not always classy!  No matter the industry you will interview with, professionalism is the most imperative. You want to exude all aspects of confidence and appearance will be your starting point. It may be the easiest part of the interview process but success has to start somewhere! With a few helpful tips and reminders you should be well on your way to feeling like a million bucks and a few steps closer to your career!

 

Stephanie Badalamenti


PS: To receive more great tips and advice on getting the interview and sidestepping some of the most classic mistakes, sign up for my newsletter at http://CollegeToCareerCoaching.com