Say This, Not That! Phone Interview Edition

A phone interview is one of the most important opportunities to express your interest and qualifications for a position.  As a National Teaching Fellow, you’ll be communicating to students, teachers, school leaders, and staff.  Similar to any communication, whether it’s to a group of middle school students or friends from high school like Zack Morris, you will be required to present your professional and personal interest.

After the “Apply” button is clicked and your resume has been reviewed, you now have a chance to flex one of the most important muscles in the interview process: the phone interview.

Citizen Schools sat down with Director of Admissions Sarah Brown, Admissions Manager Nichole Montgomery-Boone and Admissions Manager Alex Madsen for what to say and what to leave off the line.

Say This:

Speak in a Professional manner.  How you present yourself over the phone is the first personal interaction the interviewer experiences.  Reply with “yes” or “no.”

Not That:

Words like “Yep,” “Yeah,” “Nope,” “Uh Huh” can be perceived as unprofessional.  You’re not speaking to a friend— you’re speaking to a potential employer.

Say This:

“Can I have a moment?”

Don’t answer a question right away if you are not sure of what to say.  Ask for a minute to think so that you’ll be more likely to have a better and more thoughtful response.  Just be sure to let the interviewer know that’s what you’re doing.

Also, be present in the interview and make certain you’re answering the question asked, not the question you think was asked.  Having answers prepared is helpful, but be ready to think about what the question is asking for.  Most importantly, do your homework and research.  The Citizen Schools model is unique and has many parts.

Not That:

“You know, I just don’t know.” Don’t answer a question right away if you are not certain.  You’re more likely to produce a more accurate and thoughtful response by taking a moment to think.

Say This:

Prepare your questions.  This is your time as much as it is the employer’s time to think about what you want to know.

Not That:

“What is the mission of Citizen Schools?”  Admissions Managers are happy to answer your questions, but are also very busy individuals.  When you ask questions that can easily be answered on the website, you could be considered unprepared for the interview.

Say This:

“Can you hear me OK?” Find a quiet place to chat.

Not That:

“I’m outside. If you hear cars going by, that’s why.”  Taking a call outside or in a noisy place makes it hard to hear.  Thus, the noise is a distraction to the answers you’ll be giving.

All in all, the phone interview is your chance to personally relay your passion for the Citizen Schools mission.  The next deadline is February 4, 2013.  Make sure you’re prepared and good luck!