Mastering Phone Interviews

So, you’ve scored your first interview with a reporter. Woohoo! I know that feeling. It’s exhilarating the first minute; the next is filled with panic. Don’t worry. It’s time to get serious and start preparing.

  • Do your homework. Check out the reporter. What beat do they cover? What’s their style? What companies have they covered in your industry?
  • Nail down the key messages you want to get across. Put together your talking points. What are your three main points and supporting facts?
  • Consider all questions you may be asked. What’s the worst-case scenario question? Make sure to do a mock interview with a teammate to help you get comfortable.
  • Stand up during the interview. It sounds odd, and people walking by might chuckle, but it helps you get focused. You’re less likely to go off on a tangent in this power stance.
  • Nix distractions. Shut down your computer and turn off your phone. The less distractions, the easier it is to deliver a clear, concise message. Speaking of phones, use a landline instead of your cell phone if possible.
  • Don’t market yourself through the interview. Journalists despise this, and being overly promotional may ruin your chances of getting interview No. 2.
  • If you don’t know the answer, don’t guess. Be frank and tell the reporter you’ll get back to them with the information.
  • Remember, there is no such thing as “off the record.” End of story.
  • Post-interview, feel free to thank the journalist via email. But don’t send them gifts. They’re not allowed to accept them, and they’ll just wind up in a closet somewhere.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be prepared for a knock-out interview. Go get ‘em!

Pay cuts and lay-offs affecting you?

If you are one of the thousands of Americans that has been laid off due to the recession, don’t fret! Your personal brand can handle it.

You may view this as shameful, but it’s just part of life. Simply move on. Here’s how. First, don’t take it personally; this is business. Companies around the country are laying off employees, and thousands of people are having to pick up and dust themselves off. Just shake it off and start gathering as many references as possible—and take samples of your work with you. Next, stay positive and focused, and don’t waste time. Then, enter each interview with confidence, being quick and honest about your termination with potential employers.

Remember, being fired may seem like the end of the world when it happens, but it can also turn into an opportunity to move onto something bigger and better.