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Old 03-18-2020, 10:49 AM   #1
monster
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I'm terrified

Dear Monster,

Thank you for your interest in ...... We were extremely impressed with your qualifications and experience and would like to invite you to interview by phone. I will be conducting the screening phone interviews. The interview should take about 20 minutes.



This was about an hour ago and I'm still shaking. I was literally hitting rock bottom when the email came in. I have never done a phone interview before. I've barely done a job interview before.

The last job interview I did (for the place that just went bankrupt) had a make-or-break question "what are you passionate about?" I learned later that it was company policy not to hire you if you couldn't answer that seemingly innocent and out-of-the-blue question fairly quickly.

So, I'm going to reread my cover letter and application, write down some words of pith in case I go completely blank (I hate talking on the phone at the best of times) and was wondering if you guys knew of any "surprise" questions/topics today's HR people like to ask? I looked up the interviewer, they are the HR person for this department.

Please be gentle with me, it's been pretty rough and I'm pretty fragile right now
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Old 03-18-2020, 11:05 AM   #2
glatt
 
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That's great news monster!

Sorry you're terrified. I would be too.
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Old 03-18-2020, 11:07 AM   #3
Undertoad
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Quote:
I learned later that it was company policy not to hire you if you couldn't answer that seemingly innocent and out-of-the-blue question fairly quickly.
Apparently you did it though, so you can do these kinds of things!

I think, for a phone interview, the secret is to get yourself into the right frame of mind a half hour before it begins. Sit down with a list of a bunch of interviewy questions, and answer them out loud. Say the answers with confidence and energy.

This will get your brain into the habit of answering these kinds of things, and refresh your mind on some things you might like to say, and how you might like to say them.

Here's an old radio trick. When you are on the phone, you should actually smile. People can "hear" the smile. Some old radio deejays would grin like maniacs when they were on the mic, if the format was right for it. People want to be around others who are happy.
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Old 03-18-2020, 11:10 AM   #4
limey
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Oh gosh, yes, UT is right about the smile. Never mind how false you feel it looks, it projects happy (= confident) down the phone line. Honestly!
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Old 03-18-2020, 11:23 AM   #5
Clodfobble
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Undertoad's advice about smiling is good! Also have a small cup of water handy in case your throat goes dry with nervousness. I find it helpful to walk around while I'm on important phone calls, but others may find it better to sit.

Some surprise-style questions I've had in interviews:

1.) "What is your biggest weakness?" (The correct answer is always a negative trait that isn't really, like "I'm too neurotic and want to make sure everything is done perfectly.")

2.) A project manager set up a hypothetical scenario in which a different manager had told me to stop working on what this project manager had me working on (not an uncommon scenario in that industry, unfortunately,) and I was young and fumbled badly around my answer of what I would do in that situation. Nowadays I'd know how to keep it generically positive without promising anything, like "At the end of the day, I have to do what my boss tells me to do, but as an individual I take prior commitments seriously, so I'd like to think I'd find a way to get both tasks done in a timely manner."

3.) "Tell me about a time when you failed, and what you learned." Usually paired with something like "Tell me about a time you accomplished something you were proud of." It's a good idea to come up with a few anecdotes of both flavors beforehand--and they don't necessarily have to be things that happened on the job; your experience organizing swim teams and successful gift card fundraisers very much count as useful skills, too.
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Old 03-18-2020, 12:21 PM   #6
Griff
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You got this!
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Old 03-18-2020, 12:24 PM   #7
xoxoxoBruce
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Shiiittt, you can do this. I have every confidence in your ability to blow their socks off. When It's over you'll pick your performance all apart, but they won't, they'll be impressed. You go girl.
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Old 03-18-2020, 04:21 PM   #8
Gravdigr
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You've spoken on a telephone before, yes?

Don't overthink it.

You'll do fine.
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Old 03-18-2020, 04:23 PM   #9
monster
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hmm well it's done. Thanks for the prep advice, those questions were asked. I have no idea how it went, I'll hear next week if I made it to the next round which will be a video conference panel interview
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Old 03-18-2020, 04:29 PM   #10
fargon
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Yay!!! Monster.
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Old 03-18-2020, 04:46 PM   #11
Clodfobble
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You made it through. Even if it doesn't work out, now you know you can do it, and the next one will be easier.

Fingers crossed for you.
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Old 03-18-2020, 05:53 PM   #12
Hopalong48
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Put a mirror in front of the phone so that you can see your self smiling, it will help.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
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Old 03-18-2020, 05:54 PM   #13
monster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopalong48 View Post
Put a mirror in front of the phone so that you can see your self smiling, it will help.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
oh holy fuck no!
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Old 03-18-2020, 06:58 PM   #14
BigV
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Hi monster

I saw this earlier this morning and all your other friends chimed in with great advice.

Here's my two cents:

The company, they *want* you to be the one.

I have found it helpful to understand the perspective of the employer. They have a pressing need, a need they can't resolve with outsourcing, with spreading the work across other current employees, hiring another person is their last resort. They may not be actually desperate, but they need you, and they would really like you right now.

They picked you for the position/interview because they think, based on what they've seen about you to this point, likely your resume and your application, maybe a recommendation from someone they know/trust, that you're the shortest path to their solution. Might not be though, right? You might not be the right person, so they're being reasonable, prudent, by interviewing you to find out more about who you are.

THEY interview all the time, you and me, not so much, amirite? So for them, they're accustomed to it, they think they know what they want from your answers so they're cool, but hopeful. ... Here's what I want to convey. I've had nerve wracking phone interviews recently too. Stakes are high for me too. I'm nervous. But doing the things that dissipate that nervousness is important. It will make a difference in how you're perceived over the phone.

Just be yourself.

hahaha.. easier said than done, I know. But you are the expert on you. They want you, well, they want to know that the you you are is going to be able to do the work they need done. But you read the job description, you're a grown-ass woman, you absolutely know how to get shit done. As your relaxed, confident answers convey the technical skill they're looking for, they'll learn about the person you are. That's really the unknown part for them, and you are the best person to sell that to them.

You're gonna crush it.
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Old 03-18-2020, 06:59 PM   #15
BigV
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wow, sooooooo late between composing and posting.

I'm a little too beat down to be embarrassed, but I should be.

congrats
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