So you’ve submitted your resumé, cover letter, and letters of recommendation. You’re literally two steps away from having your dream summer internship when they ask you: Are you available for a phone interview in the near future? Cue panic, dread, and nausea. Take a few deep breaths and reevaluate the situation. You can do this.
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.
By no means should this conversation be rehearsed, but it definitely helps to have a few key phrases or ideas handy to better represent yourself over the phone. All they have to go by is your voice, enthusiasm, and intelligence! Make sure you choose your words wisely and cater to what your potential employer wants to hear. Count on being asked the stereotypical questions–Why are you interested in this job? What skills do you have?–and memorize how you want to answer them. Passion comes off most fervently when you’re not stumbling over your words.
Speak slowly and stay away from “like” and “um”
So, like, if you’re like me, you like um say lots of these filler words more often than you want to. This is great for talking to your friends and going to the mall…but adults pick up on it really fast. Be as professional as possible and try not to rely on fillers- get to the point! To be honest, I’ve been struggling with this one largely due to my New Jersey suburban upbringing. Speaking slowly and choosing your words with conviction are key to stopping yourself from overloading sentences with “like.”
Introduce yourself. Ask what to call your interviewer.
The person you are talking to has no information on who you are beyond your name and whatever’s in that cover letter of yours. Make sure they know your name, and you know there’s. Use that phrase: “May I call you Jack?” or wait for the interviewer to introduce themselves. If you can spot something that can be awkward, just be upfront and ask the question. Since there isn’t the luxury of taking social cues, be on your game and you can portray yourself as confident and on top of your game.
Pick an interview spot
No, the dining hall is not a good spot for a phone interview. Set out your notes, papers, maybe a picture of your parents and get ready for the phone to ring and put yourself up in a quiet, comfortable space. Perhaps sitting at a desk will better suit your need to be classy and collected. I’m personally a fan of pacing my dorm room, and sitting on my bed. Point being, find a space conducive to being the absolute best you can be on the phone.
Be (mostly) honest
So your interviewer asks: What did you do last Saturday night? That’s right. You studied. Yes, your interviewer went to college and probably assumes you’re living your life too. Nonetheless, keep it classy, keep it professional, and stay away from anything that marks you as incapable of doing the job. A lot of these things are extremely obvious, but they should be said just in case you were hoping to bond with your interviewer about frat life and your last hook up.
Don’t over think the phone call
Does it matter how many times you let the phone ring before you pick up? NO. Just pick up the phone, and say Hello, and ask how your interviewer is doing. Be calm. Breathe. Say what you’ve planned and roll with the punches. In only a few minutes, it’s all over! Be amazing! Be you.