Friday, January 9, 2009

How to Prepare for a Phone Interview

I know my faithful readers -- all three of you -- have been waiting with bated breath to hear what happened after my hour-long job interview yesterday with Rosetta Stone.

First of all, I PREPARED for the interview, which I originally didn't plan on doing, since I wasn't all that sure I wanted the job. But I went online and I read this. And this.

The biggest thing I did was to actually take the advice of dressing up for the interview as if it were in person. I took a shower and put on a suit, makeup and high heels.

And you know what? It worked. Because every time I looked in the mirror, I saw someone who looked professional, which helped me sound more professional as I answered the questions.

One thing I didn't do was rehearse my answers enough. The articles I read said you should have four or five points you want to get across and keep telling the same stories about yourself over and over to illustrate those points. I wasn't that great at this -- especially since the interviewer spent a lot of time asking me about jobs I'd had 15 years ago.

Long story short, when we got to the end of the interview, the interviewer asked me if I had any questions. I said, "Yes, what is the salary range you're offering for this position?"

It turned out to be about half what I'm earning now.

So my takeaway from all this is:

1. Prepare for a phone interview just like you would prepare for an in-person job interview.

2. Companies should be up front about salaries. If Rosetta Stone had been open from the beginning about the kind of pay they were offering, that woman could have spent an hour interviewing someone who was a better match. As it was, she wasted her time. (My time wasn't wasted, however -- I got a blog post and a lot of new information about job interviewing out of the experience.)


Goody 2 Shoes said...

Yes, at least you got something out of the interview.

Joseph LeMay said...

I wouldn't have asked about the salary range unless it got to the point where they wanted you to come down there in person. In this case, of course, it wouldn't have worked out regardless, but if you get to the point where they've decided they want you, then they might be able to meet your salary requirements even if they're, say, $10,000 more than they budgeted. When something is expensive, a salesman will try to get the buyer to decide they want the product first before talking about price.

Joseph LeMay said...

I've also read that thing about stressing certain points about yourself during an interview like a politician does. Regardless of what question is actually being asked, you steer the conversation back to these strengths that you want to convey to the employer. I'm not sure about this approach. I've heard different hiring managers say that this approach would annoy them. I'm sure it would annoy me. I'm reminded of Jonathan Edwards who answered every question, no matter what it was, by telling us that his father worked in the mills.

Joan Novark said...

Joe, regarding your first comment: In this case, my salary requirements were about $50,000 more than they budgeted. So there was NO chance they were going to meet them. I'm glad I asked.

Writing jobs are all over the place when it comes to what employers are willing to pay. Again, I wish companies would share this information upfront, or at least give candidates a range.

outside voice said...

I agree...salaries should be posted with the job description (at least a range)!

Sorry it didn't work out. That means your dream job is still out there!! :)