Sound bites—those memorable lines or slogans that jump out at you during a speech or presentation—can leave lasting impressions. They can even compel people to buy products; just look at successful companies that thrive on slogans, such as The Home Depot ("More saving, more doing.") or Dunkin' Donuts ("America Runs on Dunkin'").
In a phone interview, a sound bite can have the same effect since you must rely on your voice to make a memorable impression. Most employers use phone interviews to weed a large field of qualified candidates down to a handful of finalists. A sound bite that summarizes your value can help the employer buy into you and your skills, and, in turn, lead to an in-person interview, maybe 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."
Voila! Three sound bites.
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 fit 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.
Have you ever impressed an interviewer with something you said? Tell us about it in a comment below.
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