Practice phone interviews.
All of my clients practice phone interviews, not just live. You need to handle phone interviews differently than live interviews. The atmosphere is different – there is a danger of being too informal as you are typically in a more comfortable space. The medium is different – energy doesn’t travel well over the phone. The conversation is harder – you lose the visual cues so you have to listen more carefully in order to engage your interviewer. If my clients are up to it, we tape the interview – no way to argue with their own voice saying those jumbled, hesitant, off-target responses.
Practice with someone who can actually help you.
One client gave me an interview response he learned from a family member that had me burst out laughing. Turns out, as I expected, this person hadn’t been on the market for a decade, which explained the out-of-touch response. Before you take advice, think about where it’s coming from. If it’s a jobseeker, are they successful and do they work where you want to work? If it’s a recruiter, what is their agenda and why are they being so candid? (When I recruited I never gave candid feedback for liability reasons.) If it’s a coach, are they psychoanalyzing you or do they know what it takes to get someone hired? You want to get credible advice that you can actually use. You don’t want to practice bad (or laughable) interview techniques.
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Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career coach, writer, speaker, Gen Y expert and co-founder of SixFigureStart (www.sixfigurestart.com), a career coaching firm comprised of former Fortune 500 recruiters. Formerly in corporate HR and retained search, Caroline most recently headed University Relations for Time Inc and has also recruited for Accenture, Citibank, Disney ABC, and others. Caroline is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Professional Development at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs and posts at CNBC Executive Careers and Vault.com.
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