I really don’t like talking on the phone. Now that there’s email and texting, I’d much rather do that, but there are situations that you can’t get out of, like a phone interview. Phone interview’s are so nerve racking because you can’t look at the interviewer. I tend to rely on making eye contact and nodding to let the interviewer know that I’m paying attention when they’re talking. You can’t do that on the phone. Many times prospective employers will conduct a phone interview to weed out candidates, before they bring people in for an in-person interview. I believe this is especially true with academic libraries.
With all this said, I had a phone interview today for an internship at an art museum and my heart rate was at a probably unhealthy rate an hour beforehand. My life has been a bit cluttered and unorganized lately, so I almost forgot my phone today. Don’t do that. That’s very bad. Really, it’s best to be very prepared. I’ve only had one phone interview before this and it did not go over well. I got flustered and nervous. I stuttered, I said “um”, I rambled. To prevent the experiences of my last phone interview, what I did to help myself prepare for this one was to just write down some things I might say in response to typical interview questions . Most likely, they will ask you to tell them about yourself.
Think about nice, catchy things you want to say about yourself to someone like what your interests in librarianship is, where you work now, any relevant info that could spur on more questions about yourself. Unlike the in-person interview, you can at least have the cheat sheet in front of you to refer to, which I did, and that helped me stay calm tremendously. Another thing to keep in mind is where you are during the interview. You want a quiet place where you feel comfortable to talk on the phone. I was at work so I tried to figure out where would be the quietest place with phone reception.
Most of this is common sense, but my last reflection, which applies to interviews in general, is to use your librarian listening skills for key words in the questions. They can guide your answers and the manner in which you relate relevant experience. This is something I need to practice! Part of the internship that I interviewed for is working in archives, and related to that, I volunteered at the Internet Archive, which I had put on my resume. They asked me about my experience there and I completely related it to digital libraries because that’s what I associate it with, kind of missing an opportunity to relate that to museum archives. I might have accomplished that in a roundabout way, but it’s better to make those connections very clear. As far as the interview process goes, there are plenty of things I could use practice with; but it helps to prepare yourself as much as possible.