Conquering Phone Interviews

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Alexander Graham Bell changed the course of history when he invented the telephone. Can you imagine what life would be like without Blackberrys, iPhones, Droids? The horror! None of us would have social lives.

Not only did Mr. Bell help to forever change the speed at which gossip and news can travel, he also paved the way for businesses and other corporations to utilize every possible hiring technique. Those of you who attend school on the opposite side of the country from home know better than anyone how stressful it can be going back and forth. The same concept applies for interviews. It is such a hassle and not to mention costly for companies and potential employees alike to have the interviewee travel beyond state lines for an internship interview that might last 30 minutes, an hour tops.  Interviews for a “real life” job tend to be a bit more serious and require you to travel wherever their headquarters may be but when it comes to internship interviews, most of the time a simple phone interview will do.

Like everything in life, there are pros and cons to phone interviews. One of the pros is that unlike a face to face interview, you can rock anything from your birthday suit to last year’s Halloween costume and your potential employer will never be the wiser. On the other hand, face-to-face impressions tend to be the most influential. After all, words are just words; visible confidence can get you far.

Regardless, if you’re like me and one of the internships you applied for requests a phone interview, be prepared for anything. Let’s just get the obvious out of the way: make sure your phone is charged. Nothing could be more embarrassing than having your cell die in the middle of an important interview. Irresponsible anyone? Never sleep through your appointment either. When they call you better pick up. Make sure that when you do, you are in a remote enough (and static-free) location where some random sound bite from the jerk of a frat boy walking by isn’t overheard through the sound waves.

Our voice boxes are beautiful things that serve as vital tools especially in these situations. With that being said, please make sure you don’t party so hard the night before that the next day your voice is hoarse and you sound like a wild boar. It’s one thing if they can’t see that you look like a hot mess, it’s another if they can hear it. If you’re like me and one of those people who tend to talk too fast (personally I blame it on the Puerto Rican side of my family) make sure that you take it down a few notches during your interview. The key is annunciation. Clear, crisp answers are the next most important thing when you can’t knock them dead with your killer outfit.

Phone interviews require charm so bust out every last ounce of dazzling social skills you have. Avoid any embarrassing occurrences (i.e. being Mr. Fratty McFrat, or missing the call). Make sure your voice is ready to go and always articulate your answers the best you can (no eating either, no one likes somebody who talks with their mouth full). It’s almost the end of the semester and you’re probably stressing on how to ace your final paper, which killer end of the year parties to go to, and packing up your room (or apartment) to head home for the summer. In the midst of all the craziness, always remember that any interview (phone, Skype, or face-to-face) is a vital step toward your future career, so put enough effort into it to not screw up big time. Remember, Alexander invented the phone to be our friend: utilize it.

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Junior > English > Cornell University

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