Friday, June 5, 2009

Mailbag: The telephone can get your foot in the door


I just got an email from a ND who does preliminary phone interviews before flying people in. Any tips?

Well, this practice is becoming more common these days. Years ago you'd just fly in a whole bunch of people, but now the short list is a necessity with budgetary concerns.

Anyway, you wanted tips, so here goes:

-Be excited when you get the call. Let your voice show your enthusiasm for the career and some genuine interest in the position. Dead air is a killer on phone interviews, so make sure your conversation skills are up to par.

-Keep it friendly and somewhat casual. You want the ND to think you have a personality and a life away from the office.

-Have a list of questions to ask the ND, because at some point you'll hear, "Do you have any questions for me?" Two really good things to ask are, "Do you give regular feedback?" and "Tell me about did you get into the business?" NDs love to talk about themselves.

-Do a little research on the station and the market. Know a little about what's going on. You might say something like, "I see you've had a big story lately," and then mention something specific.

-Don't talk salary unless the ND brings it up. Never show your hand if you don't have to. And you don't want the ND to think you're more interested in money than the actual job. (Even though you might be.)


I've been filling in occasionally for the weather department and I've discovered I like it. Any suggestions for educational opportunities?

Well, I actually went through the Mississippi State program, which I believe you can now do online. It was an excellent program then and I still hear good things about it now.

You might even get your station to pay for some or all of it if you plan to stay there awhile.

Meanwhile, a good basic book with excellent graphics is the USA Today Weather Book.

Hey Grape,

What's playing on your iPod right now?

I don't have an iPod. I don't want an iPod.

Bobby Darin's greatest hits is on the record player, if that answers your question.

1 comment:

turdpolisher said...

Gonna have to disagree with the money part. I've been lured into enough ND offices when they couldn't afford me.

It's always a part of my phone call check list. It's always the last thing. I always couch it as I don't want to waste their time or their money by having them fly me out if there's no way I can accept the job.

It's also the most uncomfortable part of the conversation, but every one who has not been able to afford me has thanked me for being honest with them. And I've never had an offer rescinded because of it.