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So, I have my first phone interview for a part-time job lined up for next week. My story is that I'm a PA in the Navy, trained in the Navy, and have served for the last 13 years (PA for 3 of those). Before that, I waited tables and stuff like that - so it's been a long time since I've interviewed, and never for a "real job" before!


I'm staying on active duty, and the job I'm interviewing for is just to make a little extra money "moonlighting" on the weekends, so the pressure is pretty low, in the sense that I don't need the job at all, but nonetheless I'm a little nervous about being so rusty. I guess I'm pretty comfortable talking about my background and education, knowledge, skills, and abilities, etc., but I'm sort of dreading the potential "weird" questions that might throw me off balance or whatever. It's supposed to be a 30 minute interview, and I'm worried about filling much of it with "ummmm..." and dead air as I try to think of my biggest weakness or worst mistake or whatever else they pull out of their rear ends. 


Anyone have any advice? I know this is vague and that no one can offer me really specific advice, but are their current trends in interviewing that I should be aware of? Is there a specific way I should be prepping?



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Internet is full of the standard advice for biggest weakness, give an example of a time when you dealt with this or that, how you manage certain things like stress, etc.  I won't even bother.


The correct answer to most of these of course, is heroin.  It's also a superb analgesic, and it shows you have an open mind and know your stuff!


I'm in the middle of interview hell myself, and the ones that trip me up are like ... what is your favorite TV show - how do you get along with your siblings - what is your most prized material possession.  


These are stupid questions, especially since I haven't voluntarily watched TV in decades and am desperately trying to reduce the material crap in my life. 


I blanked out on the last book you read that inspired you question recently, and the only thing I could think of was Narcissus and Goldmund, which I barely remembered.  I got some blank stares.  Should have went with the Pat Tillman book; served me well in the past.  


Don't psych yourself out.  Take a moment to think if you have to.  Stall with...that's a good question...I've not been asked that...Good luck!

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My experiences with phone interviews has been pretty relaxed. Generally it's been a pre-screening interview with an HR rep. Mainly to weed out anyone who doesn't meet the minimum requirements the place is looking for. The person took copious notes about run of the mill interview questions because 1 or 2 of my answers came up casually during conversation at the actual interview as a launching point. I.E. "you mentioned X during your conversation with Carol. Tell us more about that" kind of stuff. You'll find a run down of telephone interview etiquette but my two pieces of advice would be: 

1.) Definitely make sure you're in a quiet and undisturbed area

2.) Don't be verbose. The tendency on a phone is to keep talking whereas in person you'd use social cues to stop talking once you see the listener isn't engaged any longer. Answer the question and give an example when fitting, but don't beat that poor horse to the ground.


Thanks for your continued service to the nation.

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Think of this as your first date


You don't go blabbing a ton of personal info about yourself, you point out your high points, you try not to talk about past relationships, and for the love of god, don't bad mouth anything or anyone....


Be upbeat and positive - no one wants to hire a party pooper


If you know for sure you can do the job be confident and comfortable, and don't take a low ball offer or S&&& work enviroment


Honestly the work should be easy - what you need to find out is how is the office, people, environment (do they expect you to write narcotics and abx for every cough -type questions)

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I am assuming you are applying for a position in the private sector (non military). You may be asked about your experience. Don't hesitate to present the many valued traits that military service men and women bring to the civilian workplace. Veterans are superb in working in teams, they are good communicators, they respect chain of command, they commit to the mission even when they may not agree in principle. Most importantly, veterans are reliable.


Sure, I know that some people will say you should be prepared for medical questions. I my opinion, you are already prepared for that. Don't overlook these basic reasons that people want to hire you. Trust, respect, reliability and competence. Veterans have those characteristics many times over.

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