4 Tips for Acing a Phone Interview

Acing phone interviews

In case you guys didn’t know, lately I have been on a rather manic job hunt. The desperation has set in. There have been tears, sweaty armpits, and a smattering of crushing disappointment. The post-grad job hunt is not a pretty thing. It takes patience, and courage, and perseverance and a willingness to sell your soul just a tiny bit- unless you happen to be in that lucky 2% who got a real, big girl job right out of university. In which case, go away, ’cause clearly you do not need this post’s help.

I just had my first phone interview this afternoon, so I’m not pretending to be an expert. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing most of the time, but I did learn a few things from both my experience and the experience of some of my closest friends who’ve recently been subjected to this experience. I figured I’d share what I got out of it all with you, since most job articles that I was perusing before my interview could only seem to say the painfully obvious. Pro-tip: If you already thought it was an okay idea to eat lunch while on the phone, nevermind during a professional interview for a job you presumably want (or you wouldn’t have applied for it), you may be beyond help. For those of us who already knew that, here’s what I learned:

1. Double check that your phone is fully charged, and make sure you have full signal strength. On the day of my interview, there was a planned power outage in my neighborhood for six hours. My phone didn’t get all the way charged during the night, and was dwindling in battery by the time the power did get turned back on- a mere half hour before the interview. I also had a hard time with the connection when I called someone else the day before, for the first time ever with my phone. I called my parents an hour before from the location I was going to be in just to make sure that I wouldn’t have the same connectivity issues again. It never hurts to double-check.

2. Phone interview promptness is not like face-to-face interview promptness. My interviewer was fifteen minutes late. I’ve had a friend whose interviewer forgot about them altogether and had to email to apologize. I’ve never heard of an interviewer being late for a real, in-person interview, but on the phone, it’s clearly more casual, at least in that way. Don’t sweat it. If they make you wait and you don’t put up a fuss about it, it just looks better on you anyway.

3. Cheat sheets are good, but you can’t anticipate everything. The awesome thing about phone interviews is that you can pre-script your responses to typical questions and sound like you’ve really got it together. I had a handful of interview questions that I was pretty sure might come up, and bullet-point responses, and it was really helpful as a jumping off point, and so that I didn’t get flustered or forget anything. Unfortunately, I didn’t anticipate everything. I got thrown questions like, “What kind of people can you work well with/not work well with?” and I got thrown off. “I work well with everyone!” didn’t feel like a full enough answer, so I mumbled something about liking to work with people who had good attitudes, and not liking to work with people who didn’t want to work. Or something. The cheat sheet really helped, but in the end, I still had to think on my feet.

4. Use the speakerphone. I have pretty good ears, but it’s not always easy to hear a stranger’s voice perfectly, especially if they’re talking on a meh-quality office phone. I find that the extra volume boost you get from putting the call on speaker really helps make sure that you don’t have to get the interviewer to repeat things.

Overall, despite a couple unexpected questions, I feel like the preliminary interview went well, and I’d definitely repeat my prep process all over again since it helped. Now, fingers crossed for the job! Do you have any phone interview tips/horror stories to share?

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My Hair Stylist Is a Cave Troll: Horror Stories from the Salon

Portrait - Photography - Redhead - Ginger - Pose Idea / Inspiration

 

The way some people feel about dentists is the way I feel about hair dressers. Sitting in the chair, my stomach twists into knots and my small talk skills disappear. I’ve had waist-length hair since I can remember, and it’s slowly become a part of my identity. I go in every year or so for a trim, and lately, for a change of colour from my natural golden brunette. Due to moving a lot, and a few mini hair disasters, I’ve never been able to find my hair’s soul mate, so I keep bouncing from salon to salon hoping for the best.

What I found this week was officially not the best.

Like so many hair disasters, and horror movies, it started out so innocently. There was me, the mirror and the stylist, and I thought what I wanted was simple and straight-forward. A few inches off to get rid of the split ends, and a renewal of the seriously faded natural ginger colour I had been rocking without touch-ups for the past year. I asked to see the stylist’s swatches, and picked out the one that looked the closest to what I wanted. The stylist seemed confident, told me to take off my glasses, and started the process.

Taking off my glasses is one of the worst parts of getting my hair done, since I am blinder than most bats. I can’t really see what the stylist is doing or how things are turning out until it’s all over with, so I just have to lay back and trust. Besides, they’re the professionals. They’re supposed to know what they’re doing better than I do after all those years of rigorous medical training they have to go through the eight months they spent in beauty school, right?

To be fair, the actual process wasn’t so bad. The stylist had this awful habit of taking my wet hair up from the roots and tossing it like my hair was a salad, which kind of hurt since my hair is long, and thus, pretty heavy when it’s wet. Still, I was only waiting about half an hour for the colour to do its thing, and the cut went smoothly. It was only two hours later when I put on my glasses again that I started to panic a little.

“Um, it’s a little dark. It’s too brown.” Were the words that came out of my mouth. The words in my head were more along the lines of “I said ginger. GINGER. Light. Natural. Ginger. Bright. Summery. Ginger. You’d better fix this.” My hair was a dark, flat, auburn. It would look really cute on some people, but as a girl who happens to be paler than pale, super dark hair colours just look awful. It was kind of something like:

When I wanted something like:

So, ya know. Not quite right, dude.

The stylist assured me that it was fine, they could lighten me up. At the beginning of the consultation, they’d said that they would darken whatever I wanted down a shade so that my colour wouldn’t be ruined after a few weeks out in the sun. They also said that they didn’t want me to be too flourescently orange. I guess that this first colour was their idea of protecting me. I’m not too upset at this point. They say they will fix it, that I will be bright and coppery and natural and gingery and all will be well. I send an annoyed text to my mother and sit back in the chair and wait for them to fix me.

When I get my glasses back again, the panic has fully set in.

 

 

That is what I got. Except… worse. Cause that lady is a model and professional people styled her hair and not cave trolls with blonde wigs and scissors.

The cave troll thing might be slightly unfair, but the way I look now is also slightly unfair, so, I think it evens out.

Now, I am trying not to cry and all I want to do is leap out of the chair and throw a little tantrum. The stylist won’t stop brushing my hair out for no apparent reason and it’s taking nearly every fibre of my being not to just jump up while she’s taking her sweet time and run on out of there. Somehow I sit, and eventually I stand, and I walk to the front. The owner comes over and I explain how hideous I feel. Everyone insists that I look pretty, but I don’t care because I now feel like a hag and I wish that head scarves were more in style.

I go back in two weeks to get it fixed, since with two attempts at colouring me, my hair might fall off if they tried it a third time. In the meanwhile, I am stuck feeling as if I’m wearing a bad wig and trying not to look in the mirror. I don’t really know what to tell the hair stylist when I go back. I have to let them fix it, since I paid (though at a discounted rate, and without a tip). I just don’t know how else to describe the hair I want! I pointed to a swatch totally unlike the one they put on my head, and I don’t know how much clearer I could have gotten than that. I have tried pictures before, but that didn’t work out so well the last time.

Maybe I’ll just scalp a Disney princess, make myself a wig, and be done with it all.

I’m disappointed, embarrassed, exasperated and a whole lot of other things. This hair disaster was just the icing on the cake after two major disasters happened already this month- one that’s completely life changing, too. My hair is my pride, and that pride is gone- though hopefully only for a few more weeks.

The point of sharing all of this with you is not just to rant about what the cave trolls have done to me, though. I think just about every girl has had at least one bad experience at the salon, and then we feel like this until the colour changes or it grows out. I know this isn’t anywhere near the worst that could have happened to me, and reading other horror stories on blogs/tumblr has helped ease my own hair pain, so maybe this will help ease yours. We can’t all have Disney princess hair all the time, but I still hold out hope for finding my hair’s soul mate in a stylist.

Join me for a rousing cover of “One Day My Prince Stylist Will Come”, anyone? Leave your hair horror stories in the comments!