Phone interview tips for job seekers

“Successful phone Interviews… Know what to say and how to say it. Avoid common mistakes and find out what interviewers look for…”

Job Interview Preparation Blog

Top 10 Interview Questions

These will still apply on the phone as well as in person.

However, a phone interview enables you to print out and have in front of you:

  • Your completed application form and CV- the same version your interviewer has
  • The job description and/or person specification
  • Your own notes and reminders of key things you want to get across, do not write out in full sentences, as you do not want to come across as reading a script- but keywords would be a good memory jogger
  • Questions you have prepared to ask the interviewer-

Questions are your primary tool of influence with an interviewer. They help you direct the conversation and assess if the company is right for you.

Tips for Phone Interviews

Eat a cough drop before you take the call to relax your voice.

Have water handy.

Have pen and paper ready to be able to take notes- your diary could also be helpful

Protect your environment: make sure you will not be disturbed- turn off the TV and iPod, settle the children, put the dog out of the room… turn your mobile off- in case it starts ringing while you are on the landline.

Show your interviewer that you respect their time and this potential role

Practice before the phone Interview:

  • Speaking slowly, fluently and enunciating words carefully. Record yourself into a recorder- apps widely available on smartphones
  • Replace aaaa and uuum and so no with pauses
  • Rehearse your answers to the common type of questions
  • Ask a friend or family member to conduct a mock phone interview with you- and ideally record it so you can go back and review it

How To Begin Fulfilling Your Needs Part 3

For many people this creates a feeling of fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being the odd one out and being criticized and ridiculed. Seth Godin has a very poignant explanation of this in his book Tribes. Fear has been a topic of many self-improvement books. It has been explained as a primal response to immediate threats, where the sympathetic nervous system puts the body into a state of super vigilance and literally makes decisions over your conscious mind. It is a primitive means of survival that is now all but defunct in our modern society. We no longer have the same kind of predators we once had that would kill us in an instant, unless you have a lot of type A enemies that own guns.

 

It has taken me many years of racking my brain to figure out even a vague example of what my ideal future can look like. I simply have too many interests and wandered in too many directions. My knowledge and experience I believe I can use to help others as well with this blog. It is important to me because the same people I wish to be in dialogue with are those that are constantly seeking improvement and learning as well.

 

So why is decision making so hard with people when they finally have decided what they really would like to spend their time on? My argument is that people think it is actually the decision that matters.

 

My argument is that the decision doesn’t matter.

 

It is how you treat and live with the decision that matters.

 

When you involve yourself with something, you can be in it from 0 to 100%. Sure, you made the decision and you were confident about it, but a little while after, it begins to falter and you begin questioning yourself. Or you started off at 50% (which is equal to blah, but I can live with it) and after a short time your commitment grew to 100%. This is an example for something like a job and how your interest in the job waxes and wanes as time goes on.

 

But the decision to do that said thing never really matters. People will universally dislike a piss poor janitor as much as a piss poor CEO. A non-interested person is not interesting and a super motivated janitor is somewhat bizarre but interesting nonetheless. My point is is that the follow up is what counts, what you do after some of the pressure is lifted. So the decision really doesn’t count.

 

Once you have it out of your mind that a decision can absolutely ruin your life, it’s time to start sticking to those decisions, because they are your portals to wherever you want to go. They are the trampolines – it’s up to you how far you want to jump. Decisions will always be followed by other decisions. If you have an active interest in your life and you follow your decisions, they will become more interesting and more important every time. This makes life really fun to live.

 

Wait, did I just say decisions really don’t matter? Of course they do! Every decision matters! You are entirely responsible for every decision you make. George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, Eminem, nor Lady Gaga can make you do anything. But it really doesn’t matter if you decide to be a doctor, a CEO, a janitor, or a teacher if those ideas are in line with your own idea of a quality life. You can find massive success with all of them. You must stand out, however.

 

This really isn’t a review of Seth Godin’s book Tribes, but as it is the most recent self-development book I’ve read, I have to say something about it. The main point of the book is that the real movers and shifters of today (and those that enjoy their lives the most) are the heretics, namely, those that are proactive enough to choose to be a leader, and for the purpose of helping others without searching for profit, change the world.

 

A reocurring theme I have found in blogging sites and now I am beginning to see in books like Tribes is the idea is that there are two kinds of successful people, those that succeed inventing their game, and those that succeed by phenomenally playing the preconceived game of life.

 

I am telling you right now that you are entirely capable of being successful in what really gives your heart pleasure while you may find difficulty being successful in something you are 50% involved in. This is the real challenge. Often the success of one’s life comes from an atypical source, which in the end becomes the stuff of legends. Unlikely success stories are the most inspiring.

 

Summarizing these three posts:

  1. Stop the noise in your life. Focus on what makes you happy. You can one day use it to help millions of people around the world, but you must be first calm and self-centered.
  2. Write down your goals and your dreams in life. Make mistakes in searching for them. Connections will begin popping up in unlikely places. This is a sign that you a progressing.
  3. Make the decision to be 100% committed to your decisions and if you cannot be happy with that, find something else. Act fearlessly, lean into your fears and you will find obstacles crumbling all around you. Every obstacle is an illusion, every fear an ancient ghost of our minds, pathetically out of date. Take control of your mind.

 

After deciding, act. There are no shortcuts. You will either die, or live that much better of a life.

 

P.S. – I don’t usually advertise other products on my site, but this one I really have to give a heads up to. The Nook has renewed my interest in voraciously devouring books in one day or less. I don’t even know why.

 

How to Begin Fulfilling Your Needs Part 2

In the last post, I decided to begin from when you have identified your needs. If you are like me, you have a whole page written down of needs, and that is no easy task to begin tackling! I also encourage you to go and write down ALL the different careers that you have considered in your life, keeping in mind what I’ve said before and will repeat again, that your career you. You are not a tax accountant, it is just what you do.

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Once you have all your needs and all of your careers written down in front of you, take a good look at them. Do you see any patterns? Does something jump out at you that you didn’t before? One thing this exercise does is that it lets you look at your mind from above, instead of being in your everyday cycles where sometimes you don’t know why you do certain things. This lets you not only see the cycles, but the big picture. All of your dreams on one page.

If you are like me, the answer wasn’t overly obvious. I have a “Leonardo da Vinci” personality which is on the opposite side of the spectrum from what they call a “Mozart” mind. My success comes from experience in numerous fields and I equally strive to be proficient in as much as I can and learn many different subjects. My career map looked like an utter mess until I came to realize that it was a blessing in disguise. If you have always stayed in a relatively unchanging sphere of jobs because you have always known what you wanted to do, cheers! Whichever personality you have or if you fall in between doesn’t matter as long as you can clearly look at your needs all at once.

Now comes the part when you must break the chains of society.

Suppose one of your needs is the feeling that you can provide for yourself with say, your own business. Unfortunately, you work two jobs and support a family and have hardly a spare moment to yourself. It is easy to say that “this path is not for me, I don’t have the time”. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to be a pilot, but you are almost legally blind and would never be accepted to fly in the first place. It’s easy to give in to society’s pressure that the career you want is just not for you. Or maybe you have no idea what you want and work day job to day job with no definite direction. Maybe your need for safety and comfort keeps you from going on the adventures you have dreamed of – also one of your needs. Society, in a way, likes confined minds. Confined minds follow tribes and are easy to faction, easy to categorize. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “for nonconformity the world whips you with its displeasure.”

These are very human dilemmas that I believe carry a lot of beauty. Reading a Roman dialog called De Amicitia written by Cicero, one of the characters asks what are the parameters of friendship and what is the role of friendship. If you listed “friendship” as one of your needs, you might want to pick up this dialog! One of the most striking parts is when one character states that virtue should never be sacrificed for a friend because virtue, by definition, is an open door to the right type of friends. Now suppose you want to be a judge in the Supreme Court, but you also want a ton a friends (which, chances are, you won’t have). Now what do you do? Instead of feeling overwhelmed, stand back and think about the beauty and the multi-dimensionality of life. These dilemmas are inborn in us as humans, but we all have the capacity to advance beyond them.

You can wallow in this cloud of needs for as long as you want, but if you want to advance through the door, you must do something courageous. You must risk it all or risk none. You are standing at the door, not knowing what is on the other side, but it is the only door. Advance or retreat?

How to Begin Fulfilling Your Needs Part 1

During the course of the day, we are all exposed to millions of potential influences. All of them call for your attention, for your valuable time. How do you know that it is something you should spend your time on? After all, time is more valuable than money!

When you engage in activities that are not part of your self-defined realm, you are engaging in people pleasing activities, ones that are all, in the end, completely selfish and dishonest.

How is doing things for others selfish? Isn’t that the opposite of what we were all taught in school? If you see someone collecting for cancer research, isn’t it the right thing to donate? If there is a friend or family member that you haven’t visited for a while and you feel guilty for not seeing them, isn’t it the right thing to go and visit them?

Not exactly.

When acts are committed altruistically with someone else in mind, you might not have even noticed, but after a while, you expect something in return! Expecting something in return after an act done is entirely selfish, and why should it not be? It is the principle of business. I make/do something for you and you give me money. The problem is is that you expected something in return when your contract never mentioned anything in return!

The same goes for dating and relationships. When a man buys a woman flowers and takes her out to a lovely dinner when he only expects to take her home for the night, is that not entirely dishonest? Logically, he should just say he is looking to take her home for the night and leave it at that! The social conditioning we have all grown up with, however, makes us uneasy to admit our own needs and in the end, we do acts that are manipulative and dishonest.

It is important to admit that you have your own needs. You need shelter, love, acceptance, money, etc. And there is nothing wrong with that. I encourage everyone to start their own journals. Writing things down on paper has a very powerful effect on the mind and your direction in life, as has been evidenced by my years of journaling. Once you have bought a journal, start the first entry by writing down your needs and maybe even write down the ones you have been neglecting. Next, start writing “How To” questions to yourself about how you are going to fulfill those needs. You are identifying the problem so that you can repair it.

Join me next time for when I explain what to do after you have identified your needs and your want to fulfill them.  How are employers looking for candidates?How to make sure that I come in in their search?