Sound Bites and Phone Interviews

Sound bites. In today’s information age, lots of communication is created and delivered in sound bites, averaging just a few seconds, roughly, the same time it takes to read a 117 character Twitter message. Sound bites can also be those memorable lines or slogans that jump out at you during a speech or presentation and they may well leave lasting impressions. Slogans are actually sound bites that might even affect what one buys....such as The Home Depot (“More saving, more doing.”) or McDonald's (“I’m lovin’ It’”).

In a phone interview, a sound bite can have the same effect since you must rely on your voice and spoken words to leave a favorable impression. Employers frequently use phone interviews to weed out a large pool of candidates down to a handful of finalists. A good sound bite about your values and your abilities may make the employer buy into you and your skills and lead to a face-to-face interview or even a job offer.

How can you craft a winning sound bite for a phone interview? Try this simple method:

1) Examine the job posting and highlight words and phrases that match your qualifications.

2) Think of a way to show you have what they want in a memorable phrase or simple sentence.

Example: You’re an experienced graphic designer, and the job posting calls for someone with your skills who can:
  • Work with clients in the hospitality industry
  • Effectively prioritize work
  • Plan resources to meet client commitments and deadlines
  • Balance multiple priorities.
Possible sound bites include:
  • “The hospitality industry by nature is very customer-service focused, and so am I. Like a hotel or restaurant, ‘I deliver service with a smile.’ “
  • “My goal with every project is to deliver something that makes the client say, ‘Wow!’ “
  • “I love what I do, and I’m at my most creative when I have to meet a deadline. So, for me, the words ‘deadline’ and ‘pressure’ don’t really belong next to each other.”
But you don’t have to stop at three! Prepare as many as you’d like, then practice saying them in front of someone as you prepare for the interview. Which ones go over well? Which ones sound too cheesy? Write down the good ones. Have them in front of you during the phone interview, and use one or two if they t into the conversation without sounding forced.

A well-placed, clever sound bite in your phone interview may be just what it takes to be memorable and earn an in-person interview.

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