This is a sponsored post about the Success is Calling™ program. All of my thoughts and opinions are my own.
Do you remember your first interview?
I know my first “real” job was at a restaurant called Rustic Farm for a bus girl position. I can’t remember if I actually had an interview or if it was simply a matter of applying and having a pulse. It was one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had and certainly not worth the $2.50/hour I made. I lasted four months.
Even after graduating college, I can’t say that my interviewing skills were any more polished. While I spent time doing research and later as a teacher, I had a real awakening when I started to interview for positions in the travel industry. I made mistakes with what I wore (my budget was limited and so was my fashion sense) and didn’t know anything about what a real interview should look like.
One particular position stands out in my mind as a learning experience. I had been called in for a job interview at a travel agency. I wasn’t necessarily keen on working on the leisure side of travel since it was more of a sales and commission type of role. But I needed a job and I believed that any interview was good practice for the job I really wanted.
I walked in a met the owner of the agency. He gave off some creepy vibes to begin with but I was determined to do my best at 24 years old. The conversation seemed fairly normal with discussions about education and my recent move to North Carolina. Then he started asking me personal questions about me and my family. He asked about my parents and when I revealed that they were recently divorced, he asked about how I felt about that and specifically how I felt about my dad.
Yes, the ick factor just went up by about a mile.
During the interview, I had no idea that he wasn’t allowed to ask me those questions. And even if I did, I’m not sure how I would have handled them. I didn’t have the knowledge or the confidence to make the interview go in the direction I wanted.
In the end, I got a job at a corporate travel agency and was able to politely decline when Mr. Creepy Travel Agency Owner offered me a job.
Back then, I didn’t have google to prepare me for job interviews. I didn’t know what I should be prepared to answer and I didn’t know what I should be prepared to ask. And I really didn’t have any practical experience.
That’s a big part of why the Success is Calling program resonates with me. Because it’s something I could have used a few decades ago. In fact, when I attended the Success is Calling: An Afternoon of Empowerment luncheon a few weeks ago, I learned a few new things myself.
It was ShaVaughn Holloway, one of the program’s successes, that shared one of her first lessons learned. Success is Calling taught her the importance of dressing the part for the initial phone interview. Yes, phone interview.
What you wear makes a huge difference as to your state of mind when it comes to an interview, even a phone interview. If you are putting your best foot forward, it’s going to come through in your voice and in your confidence.
According to a recent survey conducted by TracFone, an interview candidate’s phone etiquette is increasingly critical to advancement in the interview process.
- 85% of hiring managers and working professionals say that first impressions made via phone interviews follow the applicant through the entire interview process.
- 82% of hiring managers use phone interviews to gauge a candidate’s confidence in their professional capabilities
- 82% of hiring managers say phone skills are key to landing and maintaining a job
At this point in my life, I’ve spent more time conducting interviews than I have as a interviewee and I can absolutely concur with everything their study revealed. In fact, I personally have been more likely to bring someone in for an interview that had a fantastic attitude and enthusiasm even if they weren’t the most qualified for a job.
(Apparently, I’m not alone. Almost 75% of HR managers and working professionals say a candidate can make up for less experience with good phone skills.)
The Success is Calling™ program is designed to help women understand exactly that. Created by TracFone® and Dress for Success® in 2015, the Success is Calling program helps women navigate the critical first step to employment – the phone interview. As a result of the success of this program in 2015, the majority of its 300 graduates landed a job.
Here’s how YOU can help empower women in the same way.
During the month of April, TracFone® donated 20 percent of its handset sales at Walmart, up to $525,000, to Dress for Success® to help empower women to build successful careers. As part of the Success is Calling™ program, TracFone® provides participants with a new smartphone and year of service to support them as they prepare to enter the workplace.
If you’re not familiar with TracFone®, they offers affordable phones from leading manufacturers, such as LG and Samsung, and airtime service plans starting as low as $19.99 for 90 days – an average cost of just $7 per month.*
*Based on 90-day/60-minute/$19.99 airtime service plan. A month equals 30 days.
In addition to supporting the program through the purchase of a TracFone from Walmart, you can help by joining in the conversation. Leave a comment with a valuable interviewing tip you’ve learned from your own experience (on either side of the desk) or by tweeting it with the hashtag #SuccessIsCalling.