Tips to Succeed on a Telephone Interview

As if interviewing for a job is not nerve-racking enough, we often have to do it twice with most first round interviews taking place over the phone. Interviewing over the phone has a whole different feel and can cause you to feel anxious for it’s own reasons, but there are also plenty of positives. This week, I am sharing my tips on how to succeed on your next telephone interview.

  1. Look the Part
    • Be dressed professionally, or however is most appropriate for the position. It will put you in the mood of that career opportunity and make you feel more in-touch with the opportunity you are pursuing.
    • Keep the desk or table you are sitting at neat. You do not want to have things cluttered around you or be distracted by other projects.
  2. Body Language – It still applies!
    • SMILE! 🙂 It will help to make you less tense during the conversation.
    • Talk with your hands. If you are someone who does this naturally, it can help you talk through interview questions and it will make you more engaged/lively in the conversation.
      • NOTE: In an interview or any professional interaction, be cautious of being too boisterous with your hand gestures. No one wants to feel like you’re jumping across the table at them or about to accidentally hit them.
    • Focus your eyes. Whether you look at a photo of the person you are speaking to, something directly in front of you, or your notes, try to focus your eyes and keep your head up. Looking around the room because you do not have a person to keep eye contact with can make you “space out” and lose track of the conversation or miss an important piece of information.
  3. Be Prepared
    • The great thing about a phone interview is you can keep your notes and research right near you!
      • Have a copy of your resume, the job description, and any other supporting material you submitted, printed out so you can reference it.
      • Keep the company’s or institution’s website open. You never know if you may have to look something up in a hurry.
      • Read the bios of the company’s leadership – This can help you to connect with them if they are your interviewers or it can help you impress the interviewer by being familiar with your employer’s background and showing your ability to connect on a personal level.
      • Know the mission and vision of the company and have a “plug” on how you can contribute to and enhance it.
      • If you know there are questions you are nervous to answer or think you may stumble over, prepare responses to them and write down bullet points to help you.
    • Prepare questions for your interviewer.
      • Honestly think about the things you want to know about the company, the work environment, the job itself, etc. and make sure you leave with a comprehensive understanding of the position.
      • Takes notes during the interview so you can look back at what you have discussed. If something pops up that you did not understand or did not get a full explanation of, go back to that topic and ask new questions.
  4. How do I end this call?!
    • After the interview is complete, ask about next steps.
      • It is perfectly acceptable to ask how the interview/candidate process works after this point.
      • If the interviewer asks you for additional information, be sure you know how to get it to the interviewer (email, website, in the mail, etc.).
    • Say thank you!
      • Tell your interviewer you appreciate him/her taking the time to interview you and for considering you for the position.
      • Actually say the words, “thank you.”
  5. Follow-Up
    • Send a thank-you note to your interviewer no later than 24 hours after the interviewer – the sooner the better. Express your gratitude and also restate your interest in the position.
    • If you do not hear from the interviewer by the date they say they will contact you, it is OK to follow-up with him/her; however, only do it once. Do not bombard the person on a daily basis trying to get information.

Overall, treat your telephone interview like an in-person interview. Give your interviewer your full, undivided attention, do all the prep work you normally would, and execute with confidence! Good luck on your phone interviews! Wishing you all much success and many second interviews and job offers!

Sparkle On,

Alexandra

Stockings.. To Wear or Not to Wear?

When planning a professional wardrobe, a commonly overlooked accessory (or to me, a basic) is hosiery. While some may think it is “old fashioned” to wear stockings, I find it gives you an extra touch of polish and finishes off a professional look. In a more casual office environment, stockings may not be necessary; however, in a strictly professional environment, I believe they are a must!

  1. You Can Never Go Wrong With Flesh-Toned Stockings!
    • These are a legitimate staple in my wardrobe year-round! Pair them with a pencil skirt or work dress to finish off your professional look!
    • Find a pair that matches your skin tone and stock up! Unfortunately, stockings do run or get a snag in them so make sure you have quite a few pairs.
      • Word to the Wise: Keep a pair in your desk drawer in case you get a run at work. Also, keep clear nail polish handy to prevent a slight snag from turning into a major run.
    • Depending on the time of year, you may need different colored stockings. Just like you have to change your foundation and/or bronzer depending on how much sun you are getting, you should do the same for your stockings. You do not want your legs to look dark and the rest of you to look pale in the middle of winter!
  2. Does the Time of Year of Make a Difference?
    • Personally, I wear flesh-toned or sheer black stockings year-round. They truly are a wardrobe staple for me and give a more professional feel.
    • During the Fall and Winter, it is extremely easy to incorporate stockings into your professional wardrobe. From the tights and boots look to simply wearing stockings to stay warm, you can always make them work with your outfit.
  3. Colored Tights or Tights with Designs?
    • I caution you to tread lightly in this area!
    • A little color is always a fun way to add some flare to your wardrobe, but ensure your look stays professional.
      • I do not recommend brightly colored tights or wearing colored tights (pink, purple, red, etc.) with a neutral (beige, navy, gray, or black) outfit.
      • Only wear colored tights if they match the color scheme of your outfit and do not stand out in a distracting way.
    • Keep the designs professional!
      • You should never be caught in fishnets at the office.
      • Be careful with lace tights, they may be too sexy for the office.
      • Tights with small polka dots – cute!
  4. Still Unsure If You Should Wear Stockings?
    • The best designator of if you should wear stockings is to look around the office and at your management. If other women are wearing hosiery, that is a good sign you should be too!
    • At the same time, if no one in your office wears hosiery, but you feel more comfortable and professional doing so, then you absolutely can wear stockings.
    • Personal Example: I work in a military settings. Female Service Members are required to wear stockings as part of their uniform anytime they wear a skirt. In order to match this professionalism, I always wear stockings when I wear a skirt or dress.

Overall, you want the stockings/tights you wear to enhance your professional appearance and not take away from it. If you have never worn stockings, give them a try! You may end up loving the way they finish off your professional look!

Sparkle On,

Alexandra