Biz Bits: How to ace a phone interview

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week

Paula M. Scott, director of Career Services at Brown Mackie College - Michigan City, shares advice she uses to prepare students for successful phone interviews with prospective employers. "The phone interview is a screening tool that helps employers narrow down the number of applicants," says Scott. "It's important to give a 100 percent effort because the next step - a face-to-face interview - depends on it."

-- Before the phone interview:

* Dress for the occasion.

* Use a landline; a cellphone may drop the call or distort an applicant's voice.

* Turn off call waiting; it's annoying.

* No background noise; no TV, no music, no kids, no barking dogs.

* Place your resume in front of you, along with the employment ad.

* Keep a pen, paper and calculator on hand; take notes.

-- During the phone interview:

* Ask the interviewer for the correct spelling of his/her name; verify the title.

* Smile as you speak; the interviewer will hear it.

* Stand as you speak; your voice will project better.

* Speak slowly; enunciate words and use proper grammar.

* Don't interrupt; it's not polite.

* Don't ramble; make your answers brief.

* Ask questions; this shows the interviewer you have interest in the job.

* Thank the interviewer; it's good common sense.

-- After the phone interview:

* Send a note of thanks; it shows gratitude and interest.

* Send it within 24 hours; either email or regular mail is appropriate.

- ARA

BBB Watch

Protecting your identity is important, and with free Wi-Fi nearly everywhere, many consumers don't realize the danger that comes with its use. The Better Business Bureau urges consumers to think ahead before surfing the Web on a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Wi-Fi hotpots such as coffee shops, libraries, airports, hotels and universities are all breeding grounds for hackers. According to the FTC, new hacking tools make hacking easy, even for users with limited technical know-how.

Steve J. Bernas of the BBB warns consumers against two popular security scams that can be associated with using an unsecure Internet connection. "Many consumers don't realize the repercussions that come from using a Wi-Fi hotspot. Phishing, a popular e-mailing scam, and smishing, a SMS texting scam, grow exponentially when hackers obtain access to personal information on the Web via an unsecure Wi-Fi network."

Consumers should be cautious before using a non-secure wireless network and before sending personal information via unencrypted websites. When surfing on a non-secure Internet connection, an individual's personal information, private documents, contacts, photos and even login information can be up for grabs.

For more information on security scams and to learn more about protecting your privacy online, visit www.bbb.org.

The List

According to Forbes, here are the richest people on the planet:

1. Carlos Slim Helu & family

2. Bill Gates

3. Warren Buffett

4. Bernard Arnault

5. Larry Ellison

Number to Know

$2.2 billion: Net loss of the U.S. Postal Service in the second quarter. USPS is trying to figure out how to save money, but it might be unable to pay its debt by September.

Tech Talk

Google is now in the cloud-based music service – the company recently announced Music Beta (the name likely will be changed). The service is similar to Amazon’s cloud service, and it will allow users to store up to 20,000 songs. If you want to try the system now, you need to request an invitation from http://music.google.com/about/

GateHouse News Service