Phone Job-Interview Questions from Upcoming Grad


Curtis writes:
I’m a college senior graduating next month and I have a lot of questions related
to job-hunting and interviewing. I hope you’ll answer as many of these as you can.
Do you have any pointers about phone interviews?
Is it OK for the final question in an interview to be “When can I expect to hear
from you?” or something along those lines?
How do you respond if the interviewer asks “in 5-7 years where do you see
yourself?” And then in 10+ years?
Do you have any suggestions on getting rid of “um’s” and “well’s” when answering in an interview?
Finally what is (in your opinion) the most impressive quality for a student to possess in an interview?


The Career Doctor responds:
Phone interviews are tough!! A lot more companies are using them to screen candidates
because of costs so it’s good to get some practice with these. The key is trying to
establish rapport — which you do in person by making eye contact and smiling.
Over the phone you really need to use your tone of voice and strong vocabulary –
and be a little more proactive.
You should ALWAYS ask — in all interviews — about the next step. When will I know
about the next step how many more people are you interviewing when do you expect
to make a decision when should I call you to see about the next step etc. Use one of
these always. It helps you in your timetable (not that anyone really sticks to it) AND it
demonstrates you are interested.
The key to the “future” questions is to show ambition. Employers want to hire someone
who has a clear picture of their future and a clear understanding of how they want to
contribute to the organization. So the key is to show that you expect to be promoted
not because of time spent but because you are (will be) a valuable member of the team.
Ums and uhs are caused by habit. And the key is just working on breaking the habit.
We use them because we don’t like silence but silence is a million times better than
ums and uhs. It also helps to be prepared because the more you have what you want
to say in your head the more likely you will not need the fillers to compose your story/answer.
The best quality? Wow. Tough one. Because I believe the best quality is authenticity.
Don’t pretend to be someone you are not. Go in there and wow them as you. Be real.
Now this does not mean do not be prepared… I think the best interviews are ones
where the person seems real has great answers to my questions and makes good
eye contact and smiles shows enthusiasm has energy. And ask questions (because
that shows interest).
Get more interviewing advice and resources in this section of Quintessential Careers:
Guide to Job Interviewing Resources.