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Calling All Interviewees

Posted: March 30, 2015, 2:20 p.m.
by Sarah Parker.

For PR majors, spring means a lot more than sunshine and pretty flowers. It’s internship season. And you know what comes with internship season? Interviews. These brief conversations are stressful because you have limited time to make a stellar impression and land the job. Interviews can be even more daunting over the phone, when it’s more difficult to showcase your sparkling personality, professional attire and intentional eye contact. Here are some tips to help you enter your next phone interview with confidence.

Photo courtesy of David Marsh (Flickr)
Photo courtesy of David Marsh (Flickr)

Pick a good interview location
The location of your phone interview is critical because the wrong environment could result in embarrassing distractions. The last thing you want is for your roommate’s friend to burst into your house and yell “PARTY!”. Can you say awkward? U.S. News recommends to “always arrange to be in a quiet, well-lit room, free from distractions.” This setup will allow you to invest all of your focus on your interviewer. If an interruption does occur, explain, apologize and move on. Another U.S. News article noted that “making the call from a landline leaves less room for misinterpretation and cuts the odds of disconnection to a minimum.”

A unique advantage of interviewing by phone is that “[p]hone interviews are a lot like open-book tests: You can have all the information you need to know (about the company and the person conducting the interview right in front of you),” a Forbes article said. Take advantage of this freedom! Print out a page (or two, or three), with possible interview questions and your answers to them. However, don’t use this as a crutch. Make sure you know your notes backward and forward. This preparation will help you have eloquent, thoughtful responses that will wow your future employer. Additionally, phone interviews are typically shorter than in-person interviews; Being prepared will help you maximize your time and have clear, concise answers.

Watch your body language
Yes, you should focus on your body language during a phone interview. The interviewer may not see you gesturing or sitting up straight, but doing so will inject your voice with energy and enthusiasm. A CareerConfidential article (link) said that smiling — even during a phone interview — makes a difference: “It’s amazing what smiling does to the sound of your voice. You sound friendlier. You sound more relaxed. . .”

It may also be beneficial to walk around or stand up during a phone interview. A Forbes article said, “Standing knocks your energy level up a notch.” A Mashable article also said that “[Patty Wood, body language expert and author,] recommends getting up and walking while on a phone interview. Much like planting your feet, it helps ‘sync the left and right hemisphere’ of the brain, making your answers sharper.”

Finally, make sure you dress professionally: “Wearing business attire will pump you up for your phone interview — giving you confidence that you can conquer the world! You will feel more confident in your responses and it will come through during your interview,” a Business Insider article said.

If you are interested in learning more about body language and its importance, watch this Ted Talk.

Be yourself
Above everything, be yourself! This holds true for any interview, but without face-to-face contact, it’s even more important to let your personality shine through. The U.S. News article also said that interviewers are trained to pick up on traits such as “self-confidence, personality and ability to communicate effectively.” Regardless of your past experience, go in to the interview with confidence and trust in your abilities. “Don’t rush your answers, and keep an even tone in your voice. But at the same time, do show something of your personality.”


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    I am currently in the process of getting my last internship under my belt before graduation. I have actually had one phone interview before and although I got the job, I feel like the interview itself could have gone better. I was in my sorority house, probably the worst place possible to have an interview, even thought it was very last minute. Something that I am glad I did, however, is having my calendar in my had to discuss dates and times. If I did not have it out the interview could have gone very awkward. Of course someone should always bring their calendar to a face-to-face interview, but sometimes we may forget when it comes to that phone interview. I think the best tip here is being yourself. Having a killer resume is always going to help but your personality is something I find to be that “little extra something” that every employer is looking for.


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