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- Prepare for a phone interview just as you would for a personal interview. Compile a list of your strengths, weaknesses, and accomplishments as well as a list of answers to typical interview questions.
- Be prepared to explain every job transition.
- Do your homework on the company in advance. Check their web site and social media sites (LinkedIn) for information or names of people who you may know. Jot down any information that will help with your interview.
- Keep your resume in clear view, on the top of your desk, or tape it to the wall near the phone, so it’s at your fingertips when you need to answer questions.
- Print out the job description and have that at your fingertips, with any pertinent information or questions highlighted.
- Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.
- Unless you’re sure your cell phone service is going to be perfect, consider using a landline rather than your cell phone to avoid a dropped call or static on the line.
During the Phone Interview
- Answer the phone with your name.
- Act as if you are in a face-to-face interview. Your professionalism will transmit through the phone.
- Don’t smoke, chew gum, eat, or drink.
- Focus on your language and voice.
- Smile. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice.
- Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
- Take your time – it’s perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to collect your thoughts.
- Give short, clear answers.
- Never say anything negative about current or former supervisors, co-workers or companies.
- Thank the interviewer for calling.
- Don’t hang up without asking for the next step plus contact information.
After the Interview
- Take notes about what you were asked and how you answered.
- Follow with a thank you, reiterating your interest in the job.
You have made it to the first step in the process of starting a new career.
At your first interview:
Remember that your only intent at an interview is to get a second interview or a job offer.
Here are some things that you may want to keep in mind.
Take extra copies of your resume. Take something to take notes on – a pad, portfolio anything that you can write down names and notes. Just be sure it is not too bulky.
Pressure interviews are a thing of the past. Companies want this to be a positive situation for both of you. Expect multiple interviews and expect to have more than one person interviewing you at the same time. You can expect both technical questions and questions of a more personal nature.
Do not get “up tight.” Check through the following information and remember – a little practice will go a long way in making you more comfortable in the interview. Most companies are not just interested in your current ability to fill a position, but also your ability to grow and develop within the organization.
Positive attitudes toward learning, certifications if applicable, taking additional courses, relocation, shift work, etc. will help.
Do not bring up money on the first interview. If asked, indicate what your current/last salary is/was and leave it at that. Handle benefits the same way. Focus on job performance, quality production, safety and teamwork.
Relax, do the best you can and everything will be fine.
One last thought, if at the end of the interviewing process, you have positive feelings about the organization, ask for the position. I know it may sound strange, but you will strengthen your position with them if you will say something to the effect, “I like what I have seen and heard today and I want to go to work for you.”
The interview is the single most important element in getting a job offer.
Communicating your skills, abilities and achievements during the interview is a key factor to securing a good position! All efforts in a career search campaign should focus on obtaining phone and personal interviews and successfully marketing yourself at every opportunity. While interviewing comes naturally to some, most people have to work at interviewing. It is a skill that can be learned and refined.
Key factors for successful interviewing:
- Researching the Organization.
It is very important to research and identify as much information as possible about the selected organization and the desired position. Obtain as much corporate literature including job descriptions and even an organizational chart to help in the preparation process. Information is power and the more information you have, the more powerful you can be in the interview.
- Reviewing Anticipated Questions.
To prepare yourself for any possible questions you may encounter during an interview, check out the list provided on this web site. This exercise will help you organize your thoughts and develop appropriate responses that will communicate enthusiasm and show the interviewer your interest in the position. Get “psyched up” for the interview and feel comfortable with your answers.
- Making a Professional Presentation.
You can make a favorable impression by dressing in accordance with the desired position and having the appropriate appearance.
- Body Language and Presentation.
In addition to having good responses to questions, you need to be aware of such things as posture and the non-verbal aspect of your presentation.
Elements you should incorporate into your interview techniques:
o Maintain good eye contact
o Always smile and be congenial
o Be positive about yourself, past employers and the future
o Make sure the interviewer knows you are excited about the position and the organization
Some things you should avoid in an interview:
o Answers that are too short
o More detail or information than is necessary
o Become frustrated or uneasy when asked stressful questions
o Making derogatory or negative statements about former employers or positions
o Discussions regarding politics, religion, company problems, and (during the first interview) salary
Information or benefits
While you may think you are fairly adept at interviewing, you will be better with practice. Generally it takes two or three interviews before you become comfortable with answers and you respond in a natural way. It is critical that you be well prepared and practice your interviewing skills prior to interviewing for any position that you really want! It is imperative that you present yourself in the best light possible, and to always maintain honesty and integrity. You should never misrepresent your skills, experience or educational background.
- Researching the Organization.
Congratulations on making it through the first round of personal interviews. The company would like to have you come in to meet again. This doesn’t mean you will be offered the position. It means they liked what they learned in the first interview and want to learn more.
Keep in mind that your first interview was a step in the door, now you need to lock yourself in.
Prepare for the interview
- Use the time between your first and second interviews to follow up on any sticking points your first interviewer(s) mentioned.
- Use the Internet to check for any news about the company or new job postings.
- Check social media sites for any changes with staff titles or new hires.
- Make sure your professional references are aware they will be receiving inquiries about you.
Know Your Audience
- If your first interview was with a hiring manager, you’ll likely find that the second interview is much more in-depth—you’ll probably meet with potential co-workers and managers, as well as key players in other departments.
- Check social media to be informed about your new interviewers.
- You’ll most likely be meeting with the big decision makers. Consider high-level problems that these more senior members may be thinking about and how you can help solve them.
Show You are a Cultural Fit
- You’ll likely also meet with possible co-workers and managers to see if they approve of the hiring manager’s decision.
- Be your best self. You are looking at a place where you’ll be spending a lot of your time if you get the job. Look for hints about the company culture, and draw parallels to your working preferences or interests to demonstrate fit during the interview.
- Everyone who gets to the second interview will be at least as qualified as you. You need to show that you have what it takes to go above and beyond what your competition brings to the table.
Have your closing numbers ready
- In this interview, they may use a question about the salary you’re expecting to help narrow down their decision. If other benefits are important to you (paid time off, tuition reimbursement, annual review and bonus, etc.) make sure you have those numbers prepared.
- Ask for the next step, including their time frame for making a decision.
Be Ready for the Follow Up
- Ask each interviewer for a business card or email address.
- Send a thank you to each person individually.
- What are your short-range goals?
- What are your long-range goals?
- Why are you leaving your present position?
- What can you do for us that someone else cannot do?
- Why should we hire you?
- What is your philosophy of management?
- Do you prefer staff or line work? Why?
- What kind of salary are you worth?
- What are your five biggest accomplishments in your present or last job? In your career so far?
- How long would it take you to make a contribution to our firm?
- How long would you stay with us?
- What is your biggest strength? Biggest weakness?
- If you could start again, what would you do differently?
- Are you creative? Give an example.
- Are you a good manager? Give an example.
- How would you describe your personality?
- Have you helped increase sales? How?
- Have you helped reduce costs? How?
- What do your subordinates think of you?
- Have you fired people before?
- Have you hired people before? What do you look for?
- How do you feel about people from minority groups?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What other types of jobs are you considering? What companies?
- Tell us about yourself.
The resume is a critical marketing tool for any person seeking a new career opportunity. It is much more than the traditional summary of one’s experience and background. Today’s resume is the major sales tool that you will utilize to highlight your skills, areas of knowledge, significant accomplishments and the scope of your experience. It should be written in a way that is attractive to the reader, and so that the information is easily absorbed.
Important points to consider prior to writing a resume:
- The purpose of the resume is not to get the job but to get the interview. The resume should provide the reader with enough information that they will want to talk to you either by phone or in a personal interview, but not so much information that they won’t read it or won’t feel the need to contact you.
- While the resume may not need a “Career Objective,” it needs to be written towards a particular career goal or objective. The resume should contain critical information selected on the basis of being important to the career opportunity that you are seeking.
- The resume should be written in an outline format that can be quickly and easily read. It is very important to pick action words that the reader will find interesting and exciting.
- On length, the rule of thumb is that a resume should not be more than two pages. In general, if a person has less than ten years of professional experience, the resume should be kept to one page; if more than ten years, it can be a two-page resume.
- The resume should only contain very selected information. Ask yourself, “is this information critical to being considered for the position you are seeking?” If it is information that is not critical nor relevant to the job you are seeking, then it should be omitted.
- The resume should be entirely truthful. There should not be any misrepresentations on the resume relative to work experience or education. However, it is not necessary to include all of one’s background on the resume. It is selected information; irrelevant work history or education may be left off the resume.
Currently, the most popular format for a resume begins with a CAREER SUMMARY. Most individuals write a short paragraph summarizing their entire work experience and education. In addition, we advise individuals to list areas of skill and knowledge in an outline format that would be key to a potential employer.
The next part, PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE, contains your company’s name and your job title and a summary of the organization in terms of scope and size, followed by a summary of the responsibilities of the position.
Next would be a listing of significant accomplishments that you have had, presented in an outline format with action verbs. Typically, we want the accomplishments to be described in terms of activity and the result. They do not have to be written in complete sentences and they should be written in an outline format with dollars or percentages listed as often as possible. Most of the time, we recommend approximately three to six accomplishments per position. However, if an individual has had a position a particularly long time, they may want to put down more accomplishments. List more accomplishments for recent positions than for prior positions.
The Accomplishments Section is very critical to the resume. Most organizations that are seeking candidates today will base their decision on whom they want to interview according to the significant accomplishments which relate to the position they are trying to fill. Most employers and recruiting firms receive several hundred resumes and select those to interview who have made a significant impact in their prior positions. There should also be a variety of accomplishments and they should correspond with the highlighted area of skills and knowledge in the CAREER SUMMARY section.
The next key area on the resume is EDUCATION. In the Education area, list your most advanced degree first. Significant company-sponsored courses or seminars that you have attended that relate to their areas of knowledge and skills should also be included on the resume.
Other areas that can be included on a resume, if space allows, would include professional affiliations and community activities. A personal section can be included; however, the personal section should be limited to information relative to hobbies and interests, and willingness to relocate, and should exclude any areas that could be determined to be discriminatory.
Some other key tips to ensure that the resume is as effective as possible would include:
- Verify that all punctuation, spelling and grammar are correct.
- Print the resume on a high quality typewriter or laser printer to ensure that the copies are of an excellent quality.
- Place your name on the second page.
- Set the sides and top margins to have a minimum of 1/2 inch.
- Use bold type for the heading.
- Use a variety of action verbs to communicate the accomplishments.
- Make the overall appearance of the resume look professional and inviting to read.
One way of determining what should or should not be included in a resume is to review current job ads for specific terminology, key buzz words and action verbs that you will want to include in your resume.
Again, remember, the resume is not a history of your employment and education but a key marketing tool of very selected information that is written to appeal to the reader and create a need for more information.