Post # 1
As the title says, I have an interview for my first real adult job on phone. It’s a phone interview so that takes some of the stress, but I’m still so nervous! What do you all do to prepare for interviews? Any questions that I should ask?
Also, I’m taking a leave of absence from my Ph.d studies (you can read about that in my previous posts), so how do I address that if they ask. I’m leaving my studies because I want to get some real work experience, and I’ve been working in the same research lab since 2008 so I’m ready for a change. Any ideas on what I should say if they ask about that?
Post # 2
Regarding your putting your phd on hold, tell them exactly what you said above. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I wouldn’t say anything unless they ask about why you want to leave your phd, which they probably will.
Phone interviews are hard; you can’t wow them with your excellent handshake ;p. but seriously, they can’t see you, so make sure you are smiling while you talk. They can actually hear the positive sound in your voice if you smile.
Prepare a list of questions which they might ask you (you can find these on google), and practise answering them. It might help to write them down.
During the phone interview make sure you have a pen and paper in front of you so you can write down anything they might say (such as what is involved in the role, on what date they will let you know if you get the job or not, etc).
I know interviews are nerve-wrecking, but it really pays to be positive and not nervous. Even subconsciously the interviewer will pick up on how you’re feeling. I find the best way to relieve nerves is to practise beforehand, as I said. If you have a friend who can help out, get them to ask you some questions to test how well you respond, and they can tell you if you said “um” too much or mumbled or whatever. (Try not to say um or uhh. I remember in school one teacher made us play this game where we were given a topic such as trees or boxes which we had to talk about for 30sec or 1 minute without saying um or ahh and without extended pauses. It was hard but you learn not to do it).
Lastly, always have one or two questions to ask the interviewer. For example “what do you like most about your job” (if it’s not an HR person, but someone who actually works / has worked in the role you’re applying for, or similar). You could ask about social events run through the company (some big companies have sports teams for example) or how the company supports professional development of their staff (eg paying for professional accreditation memberships, sending staff to conferences, etc).
Hope that helps. Good luck!
Post # 3
Copperbird gave some great advice. I would also be prepared for more “HR” type questions and less actual job-related questions in a phone interview. In my experience, the initial phone interview is usually a screening by HR (who rarely actually know the job qualities) to make sure you are upbeat, positive, get salary requirements, etc. Good luck!
Post # 4
Have some resource materials organized in front of you. Don’t hesitate to take a breath and take some time to formulate a response. Employers would much rather have an employee who gives a thoughtful answer, rather than one who blurts something out.
Post # 5
PPs have given some great advice, but another important note – research the company and the job beforehand! You should at least know what the company does and generally what you would be doing if you went to work for them. Then come up with a thoughtful question to ask related to the information you find out (think company culture, recent major events like acquisitions, global perspective vs. local business, how your role might fit into the company’s goals, etc.). In general, you want to give off the impression that you’re interested in working for that company, in that position, not that you just want to find a job.
Post # 6
Wow, thanks everyone for the great tips! It definitely makes me feel a little bit better!
Post # 7
- Wedding: April 2012 - Chateau Briand
PPs have great tips! think of a few questions to ask towards the end of your interview, it shows real interear on your part. My go-to question is usually “how does a typical day in the position of _______ look like?” (obviously if that hasn’t already been addressed).
Post # 8
CanadianBride456: Hi there, we’re going through the same process. I’m currently working on my ph.d. but really lack ”real job” (not academia…) experience and I am now job hunting. This is how I will approach it with potential employers : I was a self-employed professional searcher working on my doctorate and that’s what I did these past years. Now, I feel ready for a change, I’d like to switch sectors and get experience in a new field, because I’m not afraid of challenges and I’m fully capable of learning. You shouldn’t answer about your ph.D. as though it was a failure or waste of time, but rather as a choice you once made and gathered professional skills while doing so. But you can now have new interests and want to develop new skills or switch sectors, and there’s nothing wrong with that ! I hope your interview went well, but I still wanted to answer this particular question because it was something that bugged me for a while, too ! 🙂