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Your resume or CV got the attention you were aiming for. Congratulations! You’ve got an interview scheduled. Now what? The adage “only one chance to make your first impression” continues into the interview phase as well. There should be significant preparation and practice prior to the interview. The more prepared you are, the more likely your interview is to be successful. Your interview may be a phone interview, virtual or an in-person interview. The preparation should be similar for all.


Some employers choose to do a phone or virtual interview first. This can be helpful to them in narrowing their pool of applicants. It also minimizes their expenses, particularly for out of town candidates. Clarify with the employer when the interview is scheduled—the date, time, and if they are calling you or you are calling them. For virtual interviews, confirm or secure the ZOOM or Webex access that will be used. Always get their name and phone number. Confirm all of these details; it’s wise to even request a confirmation email. Be prepared and available to take your call 10 to 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time. It is best if you answer the call yourself and identify yourself when receiving the call. The advantage of a phone interview is that you may have some of your key materials directly in front of you to reference (i.e., job description, curriculum vitae). Have your questions ready and written down. It’s a good idea to have a pen and paper close by to take notes during the interview. Sometimes it is hard to remember your question as you are waiting for the interviewer to finish their comment. Be sure when scheduling the phone/virtual interview that you are in a private location with good cell phone reception (if not using a landline). If your interview is to be virtual, many of the same considerations should be given. Be sure your background is not distracting and if choosing a computer background for the interview, make sure it is professional. Remember to silence your phone for the virtual interview and be in an interrupted location with good wifi access. Be sure this location is one with limited distractions or opportunities for disruptions (i.e., pets, children, other phones ringing). It is a good idea to prepare for the phone interview the same way as you would for the in person—not in your pajamas. You will want to practice this interview as well. Record yourself during your practice interview noting if you talk too fast or too slow, use a lot of “ums,” or pause too many times. There is a fine balance between “dead air” and an appropriate pause for a response. You also don’t want to rush into responding to a question just to end the silence. Sometimes you may need to request that the statement or question be restated so you can give ...

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