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  • 5 Phone Interview Mistakes You Must Avoid

    [08.01.13]
    - Jason Bay

  • Mistake #3: Poor Attentio... Squirrel!

    During the years that I've been giving phone interviews, I've been shocked at how distracted people can get. I've had people stop in the middle of interviews to let their cats in, tend to their crying babies, and even put their phones down while they merged onto the freeway!

    Your brief time on the interview is too precious to waste. Focus your attention by making sure your environment is 100% distraction-free:

    • Tend to your pets before the call, and get them out of the room.
    • Make arrangements to have somebody watch your children while you're on the call.
    • Let your roommates know that you're on a call so they won't make noise or distract you. Better yet, do it when they're not around.
    • Make the call from somewhere quiet, safe and distraction-free. Definitely not while driving!

    Mistake #4: Missing or Unfocused Sales Pitch

    Any interview is your chance to give your sales pitch to a potential employer, and the phone interview is no exception. The last thing you want is to hang up the phone with a sense that you didn't convince them you're amazing and would be a great fit for their company!

    • Write down, on paper, the 3 major points of your sales pitch and have them in front of you during the call
    • At the start of the call, mention to the interviewer that there are 3 major points that you'd like to discuss
    • Have a clock in front of you so you can keep an eye on the time
    • Halfway through the call, if it doesn't seem like you'll get through all the points, then re-focus and try to move things along so you can get through everything

    You may not get through all of your points, especially if the hiring manager isn't a great interviewer and ends up doing most of the talking. But do your best to keep the conversation moving forward, and you'll do a lot better than if you were just winging it.

    Mistake #5: Clueless About the Company

    Fact: Companies want to hire people who are fans. Not just people who want a job or who are passionate about making games - people who want a job at this company and are passionate about making games at this company.

    You must convey your deep interest in their company in particular. So do your research. You have to know a lot about their company. You have to care about their games. You have to know what makes them special, and how you can personally contribute to make them even more special.

    • Google the company. Read about any recent news or exciting announcements. This might give you an opportunity to congratulate them on a recent release, or ask informed questions about their business activities.
    • Google the interviewer. If you can find out who's interviewing you, find out a little bit more about them. What other companies have they worked for? What games have they personally made? This will help you tailor your message.
    • Play their games! Not only will it help you decide whether you want to work there in the first place. It will also save your bacon if they ask you interview questions like "Which of our games are your favorite and why," or "In our game XYZ, what feature would you add to make it more fun?"

    Sound hard? It's a lot of work, but you can do it. You'll get better with practice. Nothing will guarantee two thumbs up like a well-produced and well-acted "movie trailer for You".

    Image: ponsulak/freedigitalphotos.net

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