Ohio University Office of Career Services

Career Fair Follow-up: Preparing for a Phone Interview by Christy R

Following the career fair, many of you can expect to be taking the next step in the hiring process:  interviewing. This may start with a phone interview or an invitation to an on-site interview. Sometimes a recruiter will conduct a phone interview simply to ask a few clarifying questions in their attempt to narrow down the pool of job applicants. Other times they prefer to conduct an entire 60-minute interview over the phone.

When preparing for a phone interview, many of the techniques for face-to-face interviews still apply, but a few additional tips are helpful:

1. Be Ready.
You might not know beforehand the exact time the interviewer is going to call. Have your résumé and notes on the organization handy to refer to during the interview. This is one benefit a phone interview gives you—the opportunity to use a “cheat sheet” during the interview. Use this to your advantage!

2. Eliminate distractions.
Find a quiet place away from other people or noisy pets. Turn off call waiting. Close applications on your computer. If there are other people around you, be sure they know not to interrupt! Avoid chewing gum, eating, or smoking.

3. Speak out.
Standing up actually makes your voice stronger. Also, smile! Even though the person interviewing you cannot see you, your facial expression comes through in the tone of your voice. Enunciate your words clearly and avoid awkward fillers like “um,” “er,” “you know,” etc. One last suggestion: Nerves tend to dry up the voice, so taking occasional sips of water throughout the interview will keep your throat relaxed and open.

4. Give short answers.
It’s easy to talk too much when you’re nervous. Only talk enough to answer the question, then allow a moment of silence to let the interviewer know that it’s their turn to talk.

These tips can help give you a feeling of confidence when conducting an interview. For more tips on conducting a traditional interview, view our previous post, “Interview Etiquette: Tips To Successfully Navigate a Job Interview.” Also consider participating in our Mock Interview program where you can practice both face-to-face and telephone interviews, and receive valuable feedback from the interviewer. For more information about this program, and to sign up, visit www.ohio.edu/careers.

Cell phone manners matter! by Alyse K

Recently, as I escorted a potential candidate to the door at the end of her interview, she pulled out her cell phone and began searching through it.  I found this situation very disconcerting.  While she may have been simply checking the time, she could have been reading a text message, email, or checking for missed calls.  This gave me the troubling impression that she was not focused on our recent interview and was missing out on valuable time to converse with me about the position.

Checking our cell phone and carrying it with us has become almost like second nature.  It is important to remember that during an interview, these habits can cause employers to form negative impressions of a candidate who may be viewed as uninterested and distracted.

Here are some tips to remember when interviewing:

  • The interview begins well before you sit down at the desk with the interviewer.  Avoid using your cell phone while in the waiting room.  Take out a notebook, study your notes, or browse company information available in the waiting room.   Even if you are reading information about the company online or reading your notes on your phone, it can come across to an employer as though you are not focused on the interview at hand.
  • Never set your cell phone on the table top during an interview.  Leave your cell phone in the car.   Avoid temptation.  No phone call or text message will be important enough to interrupt an interview.
  • If you must bring your cell phone with you, make sure to turn it to silent.  It can be very distracting to have your cell phone ring in the middle of an interview—even if it is set to vibrate.

—Heather Pittman, Career Services Interim Assistant Director

Good luck on finals and have a safe and fun spring break! We’ll see you again spring quarter!

Ring back tones: Sign of Individuality or Unprofessionalism? by bbuxton

I know they seem cool and you LOVE that song, but in the professional world, ring back tones are a no-no.  My blog today is inspired by a recent experience.  I received an outreach request for a student organization and wanted to double check some of the information.  The president included his phone number like we request, so I opted to call.  The phone connected and the next thing I know I am being serenaded by the latest rock band.  I’m not sure who the band was, but I can tell you I did not “enjoy the music while my party was reached.”

Luckily for this young man, it was just me calling, but it could just as easily have been a potential employer (I believe he was a senior).  There are plenty of reactions an employer might have to listening to your ring back tone while they wait for you to answer, but seldom are they positive.  Ring back tones can easily be construed as rude, immature and unprofessional.
Although you may not have a ring back tone for your phone, they are just an example of the type things you should consider before beginning your job or internship search.

– Brittany Buxton, former Career Services Assistant Director