You’ve made it to the phone interview? Congrats! They cut out the most applicants through the online screening so you should be very proud you made it this far… I don’t know about you guys, but I absolutely hate talking on the phone. I have this weird phone anxiety that makes me feel 10000x blessed that you can order takeout online and skip the phone step altogether. (In person, I’m totally fine! It’s just something about not being able to ~see~ the person I’m talking to or something… Which in theory should actually make things easier? But I guess not?)
ANYWAY. Imagine how far my face fell when I found out that there would be a phone interview portion… Now, the whole point of me writing how freaked out I was before the interview is to be spiteful and put you in the same mindset. Contrary! I’m trying to show you that, even for someone like me, the interview wasn’t that bad.
In fact, here are some pros for phone interviews: (feel free to add your own in the comments!)
- The interviewer can’t see you sweating
- You can wear your comfiest clothes
- You can have the interview practically anywhere! Even in bed (just don’t fall asleep)
- You can have a reference sheet in front of you
- The interviewer can’t see the look of terror in your eyes
You’ll arrange a time and date for your interview in the confirmation call. I set mines up for 12 PM EST (they are in Utah, I believe, so 12 Eastern is the earliest you can set it up). I thought that they would call exactly at 12 because that’s what I read from a bunch of different people online. So, when a few minutes passed and they still didn’t call me, I was freaking out. Did I get the time wrong? Did I get the day wrong? But they called me at like 12:03 and everything was okay.
Now, just because I have done a bunch of phone interviews in the past does not mean I’m good at them at all! But I do have some helpful pointers for you:
- Prepare a list of questions you think they’ll ask in advanced. (Or look online… I know there are a few forums that share some of the questions that were asked)
- Practice your speaking before hand. Make sure you’re not speaking too quickly/softly
- Don’t ramble
All that aside, the questions are really straightforward. Like, if you asked yourself “If I were to interview someone for a job in Japan, what would I ask them?” type of questions. You’ll have the standard, “Why do you want to work in Japan?” “Why do you want to teach?” “Do you have any experience teaching?” etc etc. They won’t throw you any curve balls or try to trick you. However, you may have a stoic interviewer which may make things seem like they aren’t going so hot, but just remember that they’re just recording your answers. They won’t be the ones making the final decision.
And speaking of recording your answers! After you answer each question, there will be a 5-10 second pause afterwards. Don’t get freaked out and think that this is your interviewer trying to get more out of you, or feel like you didn’t answer properly and they interviewer is waiting for the correct answer. I don’t know about you, but I don’t type fast enough to record every word that’s being said, as it’s being said! They need a few seconds to pick through your answer and type down the meat of it. Just remember that and try not to ramble! The silence can be awkward and tempting to fill with more words, but use it as a time to compose yourself!
That’s basically it! It took about 15 minutes for me, but allot a half hour just in case you have any questions at the end that you need answered, or you give longer answers. Generally, your interviewer will tell you right then whether or not they want to invite you to the in-person interview (at least this is what I read from a bunch of blogs and saw on a few vlogs). This didn’t happen to me. They didn’t say anything about the in-person interview/seminar or anything. I was freaking out because it seemed like everyone got the word right then and there! But a week later they called me saying that I passed and inviting me to the in-person interview, so don’t fuss over it if you don’t get your answer right then and there. (I personally think it had to do with the fact that I was applying with my SO. He had his phone interview later in the week, a few days after I scheduled mine. His recruiter Rachelle told him on the phone that they would like him to come to interview in person That same day, I got a call from my recruiter Sara saying that they’d like me to attend also… Whatever, I’m not entirely sure how they do it…)