The Sapient Ape

Life as an employed MBA grad during an economic recovery. DISCLAIMER: Everything written here is fiction.

Interviewing 101 – Part 1?

So today I had another phone interview — probably my 40th since I started this process oh so long ago (what was it — late 2007?).

You learn something new every time (at least that’s the theory, right?).  Today I learned that sometimes interviewers are nervous too.  Maybe they aren’t as comfortable talking for a long time on the phone, or maybe they just aren’t a good speaker.  I mean don’t get me wrong — there were no real fuck-up moments on the other end, but my interviewer’s voice sounded a bit pinched (although maybe it was the pain she felt from being 8 months pregnant).   Knowing that actually helped me relax.  Although, in the end, I did fuck up one of the questions a bit.

But phone interviewing for me is the easiest type of interview I come across.  Which is strange, because I consider myself a face-to-face type of person.  

Phone Etiquette

I guess my phone bullshit mode is easier to fake than my RL bullshit mode.  I just make my voice sing and dance.  Besides, I’ve made about 150 calls already this week at this new temp job (not to mention all the calls I made during the campaign) — I’m getting better and better at it.  Its amazing the little things that can affect people’s moods on the phone — a well-placed polite chuckle here, a “mm-hmm” there — those inane comments that I used to so despise really go a long way towards making people feel like you care. 

The secret when listening to someone else talk is to let them know you’re listening without overbearing on their conversation.   As an aggressive individual, my problem has always been cutting people off, or trying to speak before they are finished.  I seem to be getting better at this, but still struggle with it occassionally.  You come across as overbearing and know-it-all-ish , which in my case, is the truth, but they don’t have to know that until later!  Patience, which is probably one of my weaknesses, is really key.  Even if you want to say something, its best to let the other person go on until they run out of steam.  Then they’ll be ready to listen to your bs for at least 2-3 minutes.

Small Talk

“Ohh you’re pregnant?  So is my sister, bla bla bla!” 

Does that really help?  I think it does to a certain extent — any kind of personalized relationship or rapport you can build with the interviewer is of course going to be a point in your favor, no matter how minor — as long as its not forced.  The thing to remember is that you’re not competing against yourself, but against other candidates.  You have to be more memorable and more impressive than they are. 

In the End

Don’t follow too much of my advice… it hasn’t gotten me a job so far!


Filed under: Interviews, , , ,

7 Responses

  1. Fly says:

    A few years ago…I heard a sermon by this 5%er. He made a point about observing what you are doing when you are having a discussion, or better yet, an argument with another. How often do you listen? How often are you thinking of what you are going to say in response? How often do you do neither?

    I tried it and found that most of the time, I was either thinking of a rebuttal or not paying attention to what the person was saying.

    What I’ve come to realize and what I think you have stumbled on as well, is that often times it’s not just a matter of what the person says that is important. But it’s also important to listen to how they are saying it, and sometimes what they are not saying.

    This is something that I at least can’t do while multi-tasking. This is something that often slows down my interviews, but allows me to provide better quality answers. I’m probably not as smart as you, so you might be better at this. But I found that active listening is helping in all aspects of my life.

    Anyway, don’t mean to hi-jack your blog. Good luck with the hunt.


  2. mishaali says:

    please… feel free to comment away… that’s what blogs are for, right?

  3. mishaali says:

    btw — whats a 5%er? link it.

  4. I’ll link to your if you link to mine

  5. Fly says:

    Fly is in no way associated with the NOI. Nor do I advocate the views of any organized entity. I just think the irony makes it worth mentioning the source of the previously posted wisedom.

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