April 03, 2013

How to Prepare for a Phone Interview: Get Comfortable on the Phone

When it comes to interviews for an internship position there are generally two different common scenarios you'll encounter: a phone interview or an in-person interview. Both essentially have the same goal and can help to get you one step closer to getting an internship. However, phone interviews tend to come first and are more likely to catch you off guard - a good way to wind up nervous and flustered. So, here's some advice on how to deal and how to be prepared for a phone interview. This will probably be your first interview experience because according to CNN.com, companies often use phone interviews to help narrow down candidates. Here's part two of our tips on how to prepare for a phone interview, if you're looking for more help, check out part one here
By Holger.Ellgaard (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Be One with the Phone 
Let's face it, while we tend to have phones in our hands constantly today, it's pretty rare that we're actually talking on it (I don't mean via text). As a result, I know a number of people who have a sort-of phone-induced anxiety. After all, we can stay in touch with friends 24/7 without actually speaking a word and we can even shop and order food online without ever needing to call someone. Sorry to say, but if you're afraid of talking on the phone you're going to need to get over it. The phone is pretty important in business in general and several music professions require spending quite a bit of time on the phone (management and PR to name a few). Plus, it's a fairly important life and office skill still in most of the world- you can't hash out details or get answers quite as quickly by any other means. 

If you need to get comfortable on the phone here are some ideas for practice to help you get used to it. The goal is to work at it in a casual setting until you're no longer apprehensive about picking up or being on the phone. 
  • Put a ban on texting and social media for one week, make it so you need to call friends and vice versa and then actually do it
  • Call older family members to check in on a regular basis since they are less likely to rely on text and email 
  • Call when you want to order a pizza or other food rather than order online
  • Call companies to ask questions rather than Google it (for example does that cool local shop take credit card or just cash?)
  • Call companies to ask if they have an internship program rather than just look online
  • Call someone to ask for directions
  • Call your professor if you have a question about class or want to set up a meeting, some professors give out their phone number for questions but you've probably been ignoring it in favor of email
  • Ask a friend to do a mock phone interview with you where they call you and ask you some practice questions
  • Visit your school's career office and ask if you can set up a mock phone interview with them 
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