I’m back on the job hunt.
My main motivation? Gettin’ paid, of course! As all you artists out there know, having a day job is pretty important. Especially when a couple of tiny humans depend on you for security and sustenance.
I wrote here about how I landed a gig at an ad agency and freelance work in one feast-y month last year. The agency work dwindled to famine rather soon, but I still have a steady freelance gig: blogging about Tennessee culture and millenial and retiree concerns for a local realtor. (If you’re interested, go here to check it out.)
This time around, I’m not pursuing extra freelance gigs. Instead, I’m searching out a full-time, guaranteed-pay-check situation. We just can’t afford to muddle around with a “maybe I’ll get paid this week, maybe not” lifestyle.
So, all this discussion leads me to an interesting phenomenon: a method of preliminary interview that uses technology to both add an extra step to the job-hunt process, and eliminates the hassle of too much human contact between employers and the masses. If you, too, are job searching, you know what I’m talking about. The phone/video interview.
On the one hand, this extra (or only, in many cases) interview step seems to set up another barrier, a hurdle to jump before you even get to set foot inside the fortress of employment. But, honestly, the more I’ve experienced these digital get-to-know-yas, the more I see their value. If they’re conducted the right way, it’s easier to discern whether the candidate is really right for the job, and whether the job is really right for them. It’s like a conversation before the date with the guy you met online.
I’m in that in-between generation, where I still know how to have a good conversation—with eye contact!—sharing the same airspace as another person. So, far from being freaked out at the thought of shaking new hands and making small talk, I enjoy the interactions for what they are. So I was a bit annoyed when I first realized I wouldn’t be having that experience much at all during this time around job hunting. I accept it though; an inevitable part of the world-wide communication that brings us all simultaneously closer together and pushes us further apart.
I do have a couple of tips, for you folks doing your own rounds of phone and video interviews. Read on, readers!
- Get dressed. Get your game face on. Most people recommend full professional dress, and I would, too, but if you’re a level up in this whole job hunt game, I’d say you can take the idea a step further: wear something that makes you feel confident and powerful. For me, that was a pair of shark’s tooth earrings my sister-in-law made. Fierce!
- For video interviews, find somewhere in your home (yes, your home! No noisy restaurants where you might feel self-conscious or lose your answers amid calls for double-frothed-something-lattes!) that looks good behind you. For example, we’re renovating an old farmhouse, so I discovered the stained and cracked ceiling hovering above my head at my desk made me look seedy. So I set up a whole new phone interview command center in the living room. The light was better there, anyway.
- Test run. Ask yourself questions and answer them. Do you get stuck? Are your answers lame? Practice!
- For video interviews, test run how you look. Take selfies in your chosen location. What will the interviewer see when they come online? If you can, recruit a friend to help you practice the video conversation.
Just like for any interview, it’s good form to send a thank-you email within 24 to 48 hours after. Even if you’re talking to a modern, fashionable company, observe the old-fashioned niceties. Nobody ever got passed over for being polite!