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Sunday, January 08, 2006


I have a phone interview tomorrow. Anyone have any advice specific to this type of interview that they want to share?*

*I actually did have a phone interview last year, but it was for a position for which I'd already interviewed at the MLA: the chair of the search committee had had a last-minute family emergency, and so couldn't be at the conference; instead, the chair called all the candidates up a week or so later and asked exactly the same questions that the rest of the committee had already posed in person. So, no surprises.

link | posted by La Lecturess at 11:22 AM |


Blogger doukula commented at 11:58 AM~  

How many people will be on the other end? Might be corny, but I went to the department's web site and printed photos of the folks. Early in the phone call I said that I had their photos before me. It was a personal touch I think was silly and appreciated.

Good luck!

Anonymous New Kid on the Hallway commented at 12:21 PM~  

Finding a place where you're alone and quiet and won't be interrupted or distracted by stuff is a good idea. LDH loved the fact that he could interview in his bathrobe (in fact, he threatened to do phone interviews naked, although didn't), but some folks like to actually dress up to feel "on." I don't think I did either of those things.

They should introduce everyone who's on the phone, and make sure you catch their names - feel free to repeat names or something, just so you know who's talking when someone asks you a question.

I think the big thing is not to get flustered by the technology. You won't be able to read their voices very well, and there will be awkward gaps, because you'll finish an answer and they'll wait a sec to make sure you're done before they ask another question, and it's easy to think, "Oh no! I should say more! I must continue to talk!" Don't get sucked in - say what you want to say, and then stop; if they want more info, they'll ask for it.

And if you stumble or flub or something, feel free to say, "Wait a minute, let me try that answer again," or something along those lines (I did this in the interview that ultimately led to my first job). Or if you don't understand/hear something, just ask them to repeat it.

It's weird doing phone interviews on the other end as well - they're a bizarre beast. This is going to sound really corny, but the telemarketer stuff about how you sound different when smiling is really true - if it works for you, try smiling?

I'm not sure this has been much help...the big thing is really just not to freak about the technology, take it slow and speak clearly, and try not to get flustered?

Good luck!

Blogger Dr. Mon commented at 12:33 PM~  

Be enthusiastic.
Be personable.
Be brief.

Blogger ABDmom commented at 12:54 PM~  

OK, I had several phone interviews (and already know that I got two campus visits out of them), so I have to respond to this. :)

Do everything you can to put lots of energy into your voice. As NK said, smile--it truly will come across on the phone. Sit up, just as you would in person.

I ramble when I'm nervous, which I had to struggle against in all of interviews, but especially phone interviews. So I did my best to be concise and would then say, I'm happy to say more about that if you'd like, but I want to be conscious of our time (or something like that). Sometimes they did ask me to elaborate, sometimes not. It was a good way to keep myself in check from babbling.

Another non-babbling strategy I had was to jot down a reminder of the question to help me stay on track. This is the best thing about phone interviews: you can take notes and have your notes around you. I second the suggestion to print out what you can from the website, including pics--it will help it feel more personal. I didn't tell them I had their pics, but when relevant I would say things like, "Yes, I saw on your homepage that you were teaching that class," and I know that went over well.

Some of my phone interviewers were better at the process than others. They gave me lots of verbal response, allowed the conversation to digress a little bit from the questions, that sort of thing. I ended up laughing a lot in those interviews, and so did they. That's a good sign.

Others were more business-like and did not deviate from the script at all. It was difficult to not get that verbal feedback, but the key for me was to stay calm and to not start talking more to make up for the silence. I just kept with my "I can elaborate on that, if you'd like" strategy," and it worked for me.

That's all I can think of for now. If you have questions, please ask! I'm happy to help. abd_mom@yahoo.com

Blogger La Lecturess commented at 8:56 PM~  

Thanks, everyone! Those are all great suggestions, and really helpful. I'll let you know how it goes. . .

Blogger Terminaldegree commented at 2:47 AM~  

Good luck!

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