Recently I had a live phone interview. This blog is a follow up to a previous post of mine entitled Professional Résumé, Interview, and Portfolio Design for Success. The position I am applying for is a summer job for a month as a resident assistant (RA), through a joint effort of the state of Pennsylvania and an academic institution. I completed the application through the state Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and have since had an interview to hopefully receive the job. The program is housed at a college for a month. The program for which I would be an RA is for high school students from across the state of Pennsylvania who have various types of visual impairment, blindness, and/or deafblindness. They attend the program to receive training and skills in post-secondary settings.
My anticipation of the interview was high because of not knowing the questions, as well as my concerns about possible communication barriers over the phone. I made the effort to research some interview questions regarding the position of resident assistants, but was unable to find specifics about the particular program. The greater worry was any miscommunication over the phone, partly due to my deafblindness and also possible technical issues. I made certain my iPhone was fully charged the night before and all my accessible functions were on. I was unsure how formal the interview process would be concerning the position, so I mentally rehearsed key words and phrases in preparation for any questions.
Overall the interview went smoothly without any technical problems on the phone. I felt that communication was fairly clear with no misunderstandings from either party. The duration was roughly 45 to 30 minutes, and included different discussions and questioning. We started with introduction of one another, and progressed to further descriptions of the job and my interest and availability in the program. The second section of the interview was important to my success because it consisted of five different questions. My answering those questions would eventually determine if I would be hired or not. I felt confident in my responses, and she seemed satisfied with my performance over the phone.
Overall I felt the interview went very well for its being my first live one. One thing that helped to make it successful was to clarify certain questions before I gave my response, so that I could be sure I understood the expectations. There were three questions I was unsure how to answer, and I had to pause slightly to be sure I was able to give an appropriate reply. The first one was how well I communicate with others and how I would describe my communication skills. The second and third were scenarios of behavioral observations of students and how I would react as an RA. In my first response I said that my communication skills are great, and I explained that I believe that maintaining open communication is important. In both scenarios I said I would take a firm, but not forceful approach to resolving the matters, based on what I had observed. In addition I explained I would attempt to resolve the situation on my level as an RA before involving higher management.
One thing I have learned is that it is okay to pause to think, and it is important to regain control to answer the question clearly and effectively. She did not further question my responses, so I hope that means that she was pleased with them. I am unsure how to interpret those reactions, as they could be either good or bad fortune. I did follow up with a thank you email, thanking her for her time and the great opportunity. I learned a lot during this interview and I encourage others to do as many interviews as you can, as the experience can be really helpful in building your confidence and enabling to get a job you are interested.
Editor's Note: We're happy to report that Hunter got the job! Congratulations, Hunter!