Karen Bolda: The trials of job hunting

Avoid phone interviews if possible. It is worth it to drive, or even to fly if you really, really want the job. It is just much more difficult to make a memorable impression over the phone. Plus, people feel much more comfortable hiring someone they have actually met. Unfortunately phone interviews are sometimes unavoidable. Some companies even insist on them as a time-saver. Here are some tips on how to best handle a phone interview:

Try to avoid using a cell phone. If you absolutely must, make sure the signal is clear, you are in a quiet spot where you won't be disturbed (not driving!) and you are plugged into an outlet or have a freshly charged battery. Turn off call waiting! Interviewers can hear the little pause or an actual sound as a call comes in. Choose a place where you won't be disturbed and where you can speak freely. Whispering into the phone because you are at your current job isn't going to work. And last, don't eat, do laundry, write e-mails, or other distracting tasks while interviewing.

A phone interview does offer a few advantages. One advantage is that you can have notes in front of you reminding you of your qualities and your stories of strengths and weaknesses in front of you. Take advantage of it! Get everything you think you might need to refer to in front of you. Although you can wear whatever you want, I have found that getting out of your pajamas results in a more focused state of mind, so don't let yourself be too relaxed. Take a phone interview just as seriously as if you had to drive and meet them in person.

Even though it was a phone interview, you should still make that personal connection of sending a thank you card. I know there are fancy e-mail thank you cards with little jumping people, but the old fashioned thank you handwritten on a nice card is always the best way to go.

Karen Bolda, M.A., is a meeting facilitator and professional development trainer. She's lived in Ashland for 13 years where she operates her own consulting business. Contact her at (541) 890-1883, or karen@karenbolda.com.