phone interview

Phone Interview Tips You Can’t Ignore

phone interview

So, you finally decided to test the waters of today’s competitive job market. You’ve read the reports, there are more jobs than available people to fill them. You apply for a few jobs that piqued your interest and you finally get a phone interview scheduled. If it’s been a while since your last phone interview, here are a few tips to ensure you ace it and move onto the next round in the hiring process.

Remove all distractions

This may be obvious but remove all distractions from the room. Don’t just go in the other room. Try to go somewhere quiet where there will be no sudden barking from your furry friend or kids screaming in the background. Get your surroundings as quiet as possible. Turn of the tv, clear off any messes and eliminate anything else that could possibly distract you from your conversation.

And if you can, us a landline to ensure you have the best connection possible. If you don’t get great reception on your cell phone at home, go somewhere that does. The last thing you want is your call to drop in the middle of the interview.

Have a pen and paper handy

Make sure you have a pen and paper ready to take notes during your conversation. Jot down some thoughts during your call so you have talking points later in the hiring process. These notes may also come in handy when writing your thank you note after your phone call. And your next interview may not be for a couple of weeks, so don’t rely on your memory to remember everything you learned during your phone call.

Have a copy of your resume in front of you

It’s always a good idea to have a copy of your resume in front of you. Why? Because the hiring manager or HR professional will probably be asking you questions based on your resume. Even if you think you have it memorized, it’s best to have a copy of it at your disposal so you can refer it during your phone interview.

And if you’re in need of some tips for crafting a killer resume, here are a few to keep in mind.

Be humble

Always be polite, courteous, and humble throughout the phone interview. Employers aren’t just looking at your technical or hard skills; they’re looking for candidates that will be a good culture fit. If you’re rude or arrogant during your conversation, you’ll probably get passed on. Always be kind and be sure to thank whoever you are speaking to for the opportunity at the end of your conversation.

Follow up with a thank you note

Be sure to follow up your interview with a thank you note! Send a quick email to your interviewer shortly after your conversation. Thank them for their time and highlight something you enjoyed speaking with them about. Trust me, a thank you note will go a long way, even in this tight market.


You Got That Interview You Wanted – Now What?


You’ve been applying, and in today’s market, there is no shortage of jobs that could grab your attention. In fact, the latest JOLTS Report announced that 7.6 million job openings were created in January 2019. The company or the recruiter that brought you there has set up an interview with you. What should you do to prepare for the big day?

Here’s how to prep for your interview

I like to look at things in a goals/desired outcome scenario.

What is the goal of applying for a job? To receive an offer, right? To do this, it’s often best to break things down into steps. In most cases, the first interview will be one step and very rarely will you receive an offer after the first interview.

With that said, look at the goal of the first interview as having the purpose of getting to the next one. Do your research on the company, the people you’re meeting with, and be prepared to speak intelligently to the things you know that could make you a fit for the company in the interview.

Make the most of your time

A first interview is often only thirty minutes or an hour at most. Maximize that time by learning what your prospective employer is struggling with, or why they’re looking to fill the role and highlight what you have done in your career that relates to that. With introductions and pleasantries, a portion of your time will be used up.

Make the most of what you have by asking solid questions about what they’re looking for to see if you truly relate. It will make you a stronger candidate in the long-run. Or, may even help you realize that this isn’t the role for you after all.

Good luck! And if you need some help with that first interview, check out some of our guides to a successful interview.

Value during an Interview

Value – How to Demonstrate Your Value During an Interview

Value during an Interview

The interview is your chance to shine. And to make sure you hit it out of the park, there are a few things you need to focus on. You need confidence, experience, and you must bring value during an interview. However, you can demonstrate your value in different ways. And it can be the one thing you do that leaves the interviewers with a good lasting impression on why they should hire you.

Share Your Experience

Why will you be valuable? If you answer this question without having to be asked, you hit a point that is pertinent to why you’re there in the first place. They are not just looking for someone to fill an empty role. They’re looking for someone to bring value to their team and help them accomplish the things they need to accomplish. If you can show how your experience will get that done for them, your value will shine.

Ask questions

Ask questions about what they’re wanting you to accomplish if you receive this role. Make it about them and their needs and explain how you can accomplish that. Remembering that an interview is a two-way street to see if the job is also a fit for you and your abilities is important. In this job market, you have plenty of opportunities, so make sure you get down to what they are looking for and if you really can accomplish that for them, is important.

The best part about asking questions is you take the interview from a nervous/serious time to a more comfortable, friendly environment. And everyone will enjoy that.

Culture Fit

You can show a tremendous amount of value if you prove that you would fit great with their culture. Nowadays, there are a lot of different working environments. Some that are great and some that are terrible. But depending on your working style you can be just fine in either. It just matters to you if you mesh well. And this is also a very valuable thing to companies. No matter their reputation, they are always trying to bring in good people that will help improve the culture. And if you can show that you’re that person, it will only help you.


Being an independent worker is something that a lot of companies are looking for. They want to know that you don’t need to be micromanaged to get your work done. They want to know that you have enough self-discipline to meet deadlines without needing constant help or oversight. Explain how you like to work and point out your independent tendencies.

If you can demonstrate your value during a job interview, you will definitely make a lasting impression on the interviewers. If you need more help preparing for your upcoming interview, we have tons of resources to help you nail that interview and land the job. Good luck!

JSG Spills Our Favorite Interview Questions

Our team talks to thousands of candidates day in and day out. It’s our job to have conversations with and evaluate hundreds of people for each position to get to the one or two candidates that will make an immediate impact into an organization. From this process, each one of our Account Executives has narrowed down a favorite interview question that really helps them get to know who they’re talking to. We’ve asked them to spill the beans and share those favorite interview questions (and some even gave the answers they look for!)


Jeremy Johnson: Can you do the job? Would you do the job? Will you relocate?

Ken Heller: Tell me about your background.

Jill Pittmann: What makes you passionate about mining?

Alex Price: Why did you join the mining industry?

Dana Belstler: Where do you see yourself going?

Jeremy Johnson: Explain your job in layman’s terms.


Lukas Winslow: What position have you carried with you?

Krista Portolesi: Why are you looking for a new opportunity?

Mike Muglia: What does your next opportunity look like?

Tracy Isakson: Doesn’t really have a specific question – asks a series of questions to really understand each candidate on a deeper level.


Michelle Smith: What do you like to do for hobbies?

Dallas Williams: What does relocation look like for you?

Tracey Smith: Why should I submit you?

A Foolproof Post-Interview Thank-You Note Template

A Foolproof Post-Interview Thank-You Note Template

A Foolproof Post-Interview Thank-You Note Template

Did you know that sending a timely and well-written thank-note after your interview is just as important as interviewing well in the first place? In fact, 80% of HR Managers say thank-you notes are helpful when reviewing candidates, but only 24% actually receive them!

It’s also best to send it as soon as possible after your interview. You want to add to your stellar first impression while you’re still on the Hiring Manager’s mind, which is why it’s ideal to have a template locked and loaded. That way, you can simply update it with relevant details from your interview before pressing “send” and sealing the deal.

Hi (Interviewer Name,)

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me today. I am extremely interested in the (Job Title) role, and I loved getting to hear more about (Company) and your team. I’m excited about the opportunity to (How you would add value in this role – be sure to list specific things you talked about during your interview!)

Please let me know if there’s any additional information I can provide. Thank you again for the opportunity, I look forward to hearing from you about next steps!

Pro Tip:

Add something of value that you specifically discussed during your interview. Ex: “I thought a bit more about the JSG blog and I think your audience would really respond well to a series about the best way to answer various interview questions.” This demonstrates that you are already envisioning yourself in the position and considering how you can add value.

The key is to keep it simple and express enthusiasm! It shows thoughtfulness when you reference specific points that were covered during your interview. If you were interviewed by multiple people, send them individually customized thank-you notes. In each one, reference their specific role or something you had in common. A great thank-you note will leave a lasting impression!

what's your greatest strength?

Interview Question: What’s Your Greatest Strength?

what's your greatest strength?

What is your greatest strength? This is probably one of the simplest questions you’ll be asked in an interview. However, many people struggle to answer this question effectively. It can be difficult to talk about ourselves and the interviewer is trying to take you out of your comfort zone.

Here’s what you need to know to effectively answer this question and nail your next interview!

Tie your strength into the job description

Generate a list of all the things you are good at. Even if you don’t think it’s a “real” strength, write it down. Only write down professional strengths. After all, this is an interview and no employer wants to hear that you’re great with animals or you are really good at playing tennis.

Now, review the job description and find where your strengths align with what the employer is looking for. This is the absolute best way to answer this question. Tailoring your answer to the job you are applying for will help illustrate to the interviewer that you are qualified for the position and that you’ve done your homework.

Be able to back your strengths up

The strength you choose to answer in your interview is not nearly as important as your reasoning for selecting that strength. You cannot expect your future employer to believe your answer without concrete evidence!

Begin with directly answering the question, and then shift your answer into a brief story that illustrates your skill. This is your chance to show that you are a great fit for the role and that you align with company’s values.

For example, “I would say my greatest strengths are my communication and writing skills. Having worked as a marketing specialist for over three years, I have tons of experience with writing in different voices to captivate various target audiences. As a marketing manager, I will have the ability to effectively write blogs and generate press releases to effectively communicate with different audiences.”

An answer that followers with a story will help highlight your passion while also showcasing that your experience aligns with the job description.

Be honest

This is the most important part of answering this question. I promise it will not go well if you exaggerate your answer, or worse, even blatantly lie about your strength. If you are not honest about the strength that you provide, it may make or break your interview. They will likely ask you to elaborate on your answer, sparking up a conversation that you’re not equipped to have.

Exaggerating on this answer is never a good thing. Most interviewers will see you spinning in circles as you try to play it off in your interview. It’s best to be your authentic self and provide an honest strength that is tailored to the job. The interviewer is looking past canned answers for who you really are. So, don’t be afraid to answer questions truthfully.

Now that you’ve tackled this question, click here to learn how to answer the dreaded: “What’s your biggest weakness?

Nail your next interview

These Five Things Will Help You Nail Your Next Interview

Nail your next interview

The word “interview” may be scary to many candidates out there. I’ll be the first to admit that it used to scare me more than the word “exam.” However, I was able to get over my fear by having these five things in an interview. Trust me, once you master these five things during the interview, you might just be counting down the days until your next one.

A Smile

Picture this from your perspective. You walk into a room as an interviewee and the hiring manager is sitting there with a blank look on his face. He seems disinterested and unhappy right away. Now imagine if that was the way you looked. Not the best way to start off an interview.

As soon as you walk through the company’s doors, make sure you greet everyone you meet with a smile. Whether it’s the receptionist or the CEO, make sure your cheeks hurt at the end of the interview. Not only will it help you stay in a positive mindset, but it will also help you look interested and prepared for the interview, which may set you apart from other candidates.


Confidence and smiling go hand-in-hand, and when paired together, they make an unstoppable force. Before your interview, do your research and practice. Be confident in not only your interview answers when you’re asked a question, but be confident in knowing as much about the company as possible.

When talking about yourself, bring the hype! You’re obviously there for a reason, so take advantage of this time to talk about yourself. Talk about your accomplishments and what you’ve learned from your failures. This will show the company that you have 100% confidence in yourself for the position, which is surprisingly rare in a candidate.

Presentation Mastery

When I say presentation, I’m talking about the way you present yourself on the outside. This will take the most time out of all four, but trust me when I say it is SO worth it. Ever heard the phrase, “Look good, feel good, test good”? It’s something that gets thrown around as a joke, but it’s totally true! And it is 100% applicable to interviews. When you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, you’ll interview good.

Take the extra time on your hair and polish those shoes. Spend the night before your interview trying on different variations of your professional attire. Just like the interview itself, looking good for it takes some thought. Make sure you don’t skimp yourself on this one. Remember, it’s never a bad thing to be the best-dressed person in a room.


One of the most awkward things I have ever experienced was in my very first professional interview. The interviewer had finished asking me questions and asked me if I had any. All I said was “no.” As you can probably guess I didn’t get the job, but it was a HUGE learning experience.

Come to an interview loaded with questions. Have a few in your back pocket, and try to think of some questions based off of what your interviewer tells you. In most cases, there is usually never such a thing as too many questions, so fire away! Just make sure you keep them relevant to the interviewer, the company, and the position.


I know you’re thinking I’m crazy for saying this, but before you do, just think about it. When are you at your best? Is it when you’re doing something you love or something you despise? I’ll go out on a limb here and say it’s the former.

When you’re doing something fun, you’re being the best you that you can be, and at the end of the day, that’s what you want to show the company you’re interviewing with. If you have a little fun at your next interview, I’ll bet you will come out of it feeling much better. More of your personality will show, and it will help you enjoy the interview more – both of which can only harbor positive results.

Not too complicated, right? The next time you’re stressing out over an interview, stop and ask yourself if you do these things during one. Even if you don’t incorporate all five into your next interview, you can still have one or two. This will make your chances of a successful interview much better!

How To Answer "Why Are You Looking For A New Opportunity" In A Job Interview

How To Answer “Why Are You Looking For A New Opportunity?” In A Job Interview

How To Answer "Why Are You Looking For A New Opportunity" In A Job Interview

Congratulations… You’ve landed an interview! You’ve prepared yourself to talk about your skills, why you’re a great fit for the company and you’ve done your due diligence on your potential boss and their team.

The interview is going great until… curve ball… the interviewer asks ‘Why are you looking for a new opportunity?’

You think.. ‘Is this a trick question? Should I really tell them about my horrible boss or how I dread going into work every day?’

The short answer is no, definitely NOT!

This question can be awkward and uncomfortable. This is not the time to speak badly about your current job or your boss even though it seems like the easy way out. The best way to answer this question is to talk about what you’re looking for in an opportunity, rather than what you’re looking to avoid. You can easily speak to this if you’ve done enough due diligence on the company and speak to what draws you to that specific position. *Pro tip- you can also talk about what you will bring to their team and how you plan to bring value.

For example: “I am looking for a new opportunity because I can’t stand working for my boss. He micromanages me and it’s hard for me to work in an environment like that. There isn’t any room for growth and I don’t see a future for me there.”

vs.: “I am looking for a company that I can bring value to and I feel as though my skills would be an asset to your team. The opportunity to grow and advance in a company is very important to me”

Tell them what you’re looking for, not why you’re leaving.

If the career or job change is specifically about money- avoid using this as an answer. It will automatically make the interviewer assume that you’ll leave their company for the next best thing. It will also show that you don’t necessarily want to work for the company specifically, but your motive is strictly about money. Again, this is where your due diligence really comes into play.

The main tip here is to never throw your current employer under the bus and never speak negatively about your current situation. Think of it as an opportunity to show what you know about the company, why you want to work for them and what you can bring to the table!

5 Things You Should Never Say In An Interview

5 Things You Should Never Say In An Interview

5 Things You Should Never Say In An Interview

It’s no secret that interviews are nerve-wracking and there will always be an occasional slip-up that makes you writhe in agony when you think about it later that night. In an attempt to avoid those regrettable moments, we’ve come up with 5 of the most common things you should never say in an interview.

  1. What are the benefits?

It is understandable that you’re curious about the benefits of a potential job, but the interview is not the time or place to broach the subject. Instead, do your own research on their website or Glassdoor.

  1. My salary is ______ … but negotiable

By throwing in the “negotiable” part, you’re selling yourself short. Make sure to do your research before the interview about the cost of living, along with average salaries for your title and experience. That way, when the salary question comes up, you can give a firm and consistent answer.

  1. Dissing your current or previous employer

It can be difficult to dodge this, especially when asked why you’re looking for a new position. Keep the focus on the future that you want to create for your career, and how this company you’re interviewing with can help contribute to those goals.

  1. Politics or religion

Steer clear of politics and religion or any other polarizing topics, even if they relate to your work history. You don’t want to be judged based on things that won’t affect your job performance. You don’t have control over your interviewer’s political or religious affiliations.

  1. “That commute really sucked!”

One of the first things that the interviewer will probably ask is “did you find us okay?” You would be surprised at how many candidates launch into complaints about the commute or the office.

In the end, if you even think it might be inappropriate, steer clear! During interviews, it pays to be the best version of yourself and tread lightly.

These Are The 3 Things You Need To Research About A Company Before You Interview

3 Things You Need To Research About A Company Before You Interview

These Are The 3 Things You Need To Research About A Company Before You Interview

Recently, I’ve heard job seekers complaining that they keep getting interviews but don’t receive any offers. You might ask, how is that possible? Does this mean there are no jobs to be had? According to a recent report we have more openings than ever before, but it’s tougher to find talented candidates.

Many candidates are great interviewers and have used their interviewing skills to land their jobs in the past, but a great personality is not going to cut it in today’s job market. One must realize that we live in the world of information at your fingertips and employers want to be “wowed” in the interview. Not dazzled with fancy words and flashing sales pitches, but by a thoughtful candidate that took the time to do some homework.

An employer wants to know that you took the time to know who they are and what makes them tick.  Too many times candidates decide to “wing it” when it comes to first impressions. We suggest to our candidates that they take responsibility for the interview.

Research the following three areas before an interview

  • The company website, look through the pages, learn about the mission and the products and the leadership.
  • Find them on Social Media and see if they are involved in their community or if they have videos that give insight into their culture.
  • Find any news articles about them recently. Keep an eye out for awards or major announcements. Google is your friend.

Spending a weekend or a few hours learning about the company you are interviewing with will do a few things. It will set you apart from the competition and it will impress your potential boss, but most importantly it will excite you about the opportunity. Excitement is contagious and the employer will be excited about you!