Save the Date – Canada Israel Inclusion Mission 2020

July 6 – 13, 2020

Reena and Israel4all are excited to invite you to the
2020 Inclusion mission to Israel.

Join the second annual Canada Israel Inclusion mission.
The mission will acquaint Canadian disability service providers,
policy makers and persons living the experience with Israeli models of accessibility and service provision. In addition, participants will encounter Israel’s pluralistic society and develop relationships with people in their field from a different country. This will help further development of solutions including technology, policy and services for people with disabilities.

The 8-day itinerary enables us to connect with individuals, activists, non-profit organizations, companies and initiatives in the field of accessibility and inclusion in Israel. In addition, we will tour the magical country of Israel including accessible sites. We’ll travel from the green north to the southern desert and explore some of Israel’s gems like Nazareth and Jerusalem.

 

REGISTER TODAY

CIIM 2020 Save the date flyer

For more details –  Lorre Goldberg – lorre@israel4all.com

 2019 Canada-Israel Inclusion Mission participants on top of Massada

Employment Advice Column: Behavioural Interviews

Dear Joanna,

I’m following up from last month’s employment advice column on soft skills and the resume. You had mentioned that employers use behavioural questions in the job interview to assess the candidate’s soft skills that he or she put in the resume. Please can you explain this job interviewing technique, as well as how to respond to these types of questions if I’m asked them by an employer?

Signed:  Interview Challenges

t

Dear Interview,

The behavioural question is one of the hardest for candidates to respond to in the job interview. It’s similar to learning a script for a play!  Based on my research from  a few websites including https://www.job-hunt.org/job_interviews/smart-behavioral-interview-answers.shtml, and https://zety.com/blog/star-method-interview as well as insights from the Reena Supported Employment Service and Summer Employment Transition job coaches, including my job coaching experiences, I will present some tips of what you should know regarding the behavioural interview.

  • What is a Behavioural question? Typically these questions start with,  “Tell me about a time when you…” or “Describe how you have handled…” or “Give me an example of…” or even “Walk me through…”. Employers want to hear real life examples from your job, school and/or volunteering and how your skills meet the requirement of the position. They are trying to  understand how the candidate handles different, especially difficult, situations on the job. It’s based on the theory that an employees’ past behaviour on the job can predict his or her future behaviour at the workplace. And you are correct – it’s how the interviewer can determine your “soft skills” that you have claimed on your resume and/or LinkedIn profile. Some examples of soft skills that will be questioned could be: Problem-solving, initiative, judgement, handling stress, organizing, reliability, team work, to name a few.
  • Preparation. These answers require tons of preparation and practice before you attend the interview.  You need to explain different situations when you had to put these “soft skills” or abilities into action. It’s preparing “stories” about these experiences that can provide concrete answers to behavioral interview questions. You can’t answer with a simple yes or no. These questions are open-ended, so you can tell your story (or share) that presents you in the best light.
  • The STAR Method. This is the special and structured formula that you can use when you prepare, practice and finally respond to a behavioural interview question! It’s a storytelling style of explaining to the interviewer on how you handled specific work situations and challenges. The STAR format stands for SituationTaskActionResult:

Situation: An event, project, or challenge faced

Task: Your responsibilities and assignments for the situation

Action: Steps or procedure taken to relieve or rectify situation

Result: Results of actions taken.

  • Tell Stories. As I mentioned above, to answer behavioural questions, you need to provide examples of real work situations when you were successful — where you had a challenge and how you overcame that challenge. Be prepared, be positive, be brief and be truthful. Talk about your own experiences at work, volunteering and/or school.  And I recommend that you work with a job coach in a Reena supported employment program (or one in the community) to help you with this.

EXAMPLES: Here are two examples of countless responses to behavioural interview questions from a recent interview with a job seeker with RSES at Reena and  www.zety.com .

Interviewer: Tell me about a time when you made a mistake and how you handled it.

This is behavioural interview question assesses your soft skills such as: honesty, taking ownership for your mistake, ability and interest to learn and improve as well as good customer service practice…..

Candidate’s Response: Using the STAR Method – For example:

Step 1 – Describe the SITUATION: Last year, I made a terrible mistake when I was working as a grocery clerk at a supermarket in my last job. While I was packing the groceries of the customer, I forgot one item.

Step 2 – Describe the TASK.  I was actually the one who discovered my mistake first.

Step 3 – Describe the ACTION. When I did, I mentioned this to the cashier and tried to look for the customer in the parking lot but couldn’t find her. Immediately, I told my supervisor what happened and she documented this.

Step 4 – Describe the RESULTS. The good news was that the customer did return looking for her item at the customer service desk clerk who returned it to her. What I learned from this mistake is to always double check after I pack the groceries for the customer to make sure that I haven’t missed any item. And I haven’t made that mistake again!

Interviewer: “Tell me about a time when you performed well under pressure.”

This is a behavioural question that is assessing your soft skills/abilities to handle stress and problem solving skills.

Candidate’s Response: Using the STAR Method – For example:

Step 1. Using the STAR method to answer this question, we’ll first start with describing the SITUATION:

One time, at my last job, when I was a receptionist at a law firm, my co-worker had a family emergency and needed to miss work for some time. Her tasks were left unfinished.

Step 2. Next, we’ll give them the TASK:

My supervisor instructed me to take care of the co-workers’ tasks in his absence and gave me a deadline. I had only two days to finish both my work as well as the co-worker.

Step 3. Then the ACTION taken to solve the problem:

I told the supervisor that I was happy to help out and asked him if he could help me write out all the tasks in order of priority.  The supervisor was help me decide the order of tasks to be done.

Step 4. And finally, the RESULTS of your actions:

With the list of tasks to be done, in priority, I was able to finish all of the workload on time and accurately. My supervisor appreciated my attitude and drive, as well as team work, and when the co-worker returned to work, he was grateful as well and helped me out when I was  away or needed his support.

——————————————–

Preparing responses for these type of complicated questions and knowing how to tell your stories so that you are clear and concise takes lots of practice. Try to keep the stories simple and definitely don’t do this alone. Reach out for help from job coaches.

 

Joanna

 

 

 

 

 

Pathways North Helps Make The World a Little Happier

Sending Holiday Cheer to Soldiers Deployed Overseas

After a random plea caught wind on social media, the individuals and staff at Reena’s “Pathways North Quest” group spent one cold dreary morning making the day brighter by drawing and writing to create twenty-one hand made cards.

A Canadian Armed Forces Twitter account @CAFinUS sent a tweet asking for holiday greetings.

Dear friends,
Many of us will spend the holidays with our families.
Many of us will not. You can send them a greeting at this address:
Any Canadian Armed Forces Member
PO Box 5004 Stn Forces
Belleville, ON
K8N 5W6
It would mean a lot if you did.
Yours,@CAFinUS

After seeing the post spread to Facebook, the idea was brought to the group.
Our individuals were so enthusiastic to get started they began as soon as they could get their hands on some paper so they could meet the December 9th deadline. Each card had a personal sentiment from the individual that created it, and many thanked the soldiers for their service, along with their holiday wishes.

There are currently approximately 2,100 soldiers deployed on 28 overseas missions, that means there are 2,100 individuals that may not get to spend the holidays with their loved ones.

The cards Pathways made will hopefully bring some of that Holiday Joy we all wish to capture, to some of the bravest people that serve our great Country. It is estimated the small group of dedicated Canadian Forces staff that are preparing the cards have processed around 15,000 cards and letters over the past week and coming from all over the world.

Our group was happy to participate in this experience which shows that despite our beliefs, religious or ethnic backgrounds, we can all do a little something to help make the world a little happier. Happy Holidays from Pathways North.

 

2020-2025 Strategic Plan Survey

We are looking for your input! 

We are pleased to inform you that Reena’s strategic planning process for the years 2020-2025 continues, and we are excited about what the future holds. Thank you for being a great support for Reena throughout the years.

We want to ask for your support and input to help shape the future of Reena, and would like to invite you to complete an online survey, which is completely anonymous.

It should take about 10-15 minutes to complete. The survey will be available until Friday, December 13th at 5:00 pm, but ask that you complete the survey sooner in order to help us start the process.

www.surveymonkey.ca/r/ReenaStrategicPlan

Thank you in advance and we appreciate your time!

Survey Results Are In: Accessible Canada Act

On September 25, 2019, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and Reena ran an Education Update and Candidate Roundtable highlighting the unanimous passage of Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act (ACA).

We also conducted a survey, circulated by the two host organizations and Accessible Media Inc, trying to understand where education is needed on ACA and prioritize improvements to Bill c-81 both during and after the elections.

Analysis of the survey results could be found HERE 

We are providing the preliminary side-by-side analysis of the Accessible Canada Act Survey; both results shared at the 9/25 Candidates Forum, as well as the results generated from a second publicity push from Accessible Media Inc.

3 Major takeaways are:

  • More education is needed to explain ACA and to differentiate between Federal & Provincial responsibility
  • A consensus is developing as to the priorities of Bill C-81 improvements, and suggested approaches
  • There is a Canada-wide interest in improving the ACA / Bill C-81

Going forward, and independent of the results of the October 21, 2019 Federal election, insights generated from this survey will be relevant to the national effort to improve and strengthen Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act.


Additional Information

Panel of Experts Education Session Recording (45 min)

Candidates Roundtable (1 hour) 

Post Session Podcast – Original Air Date September 26, 2019 by Accessible Media Inc

Comparison of the positions of the six major federal political parties on achieving accessibility

AODA Alliance has been seeking election commitments on advancing the cause of “Accessibility” for over 6 million people with disabilities in Canada.

Summary of Federal Election Platforms – Issue by Issue Comparison


Have further questions regarding the above? please contact Fred Winegust, Government Relations, Reena – fwinegust@reena.org.

Please note… Neither Reena nor Holland Bloorview support or oppose any party or candidate in the upcoming Federal Election.

Holland Bloorview and Reena profile Bill C-81 during federal election

On September 25, 2019, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and Reena ran an Education Update and Candidate Roundtable highlighting the unanimous passage of Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act (ACA).

Left to right
Ian Prittie - Peoples Party Candidate – Don Valley West
Gary Gladstone - Liberal Party Candidate – Thornhill
Stewart Wong – Holland Bloorview – VP Communications
David Leopofsky – AODA Alliance - Volunteer Chair
Meenu Sikand – Holland Bloorview – Executive Lead – Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Rabia Kehdr – Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities - Founder
Gavy – Holland Bloorview – Children’s Ambassador
Sarah Climenhaga – Green Party Candidate – Toronto St. Pauls
Fred Winegust – Reena - Stakeholder Relations
Laurel MacDowell – NDP Candidate – Don Valley West
Absent – John Barlow – Conservative MP and Candidate - Foothills

The session educated the attendees on the importance of the ACA, its potential outcomes and provided an opportunity to hear directly from candidates on their parties’ implementation strategies if elected to government.

Prior to the evening Reena and Holland Bloorview conducted a survey among attendees, trying to understand the current knowledge and perceptions with regards to the implementation of the ACA.

Reena and Holland Bloorview have partnered with Accessible Media Inc (AMI) to take the survey to a national level, between October 2, 2019 and October 16, 2019.

Together, we are using this survey to determine if more education on the ACA is needed nationally.

Complete the Survey HERE.

AMI is a not-for-profit media company that entertains, informs and empowers Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. Operating three broadcast services, AMI-tv and AMI-audio in English and AMI-télé in French, AMI’s vision is to establish and support a voice for Canadians with disabilities, representing their interests, concerns and values through accessible media, reflection and portrayal.

We would also like to provide all parties running in the October 21, 2019 Federal Election with a public perspective on how to improve the Accessible Canada Act.

Please take the time to complete this 5 to 7 minute survey by October 16, 2019.

 

 

EMPLOYMENT ADVICE COLUMN: WORKING WITH RECRUITERS

Dear Joanna,

I have applied countless times for a receptionist position with staffing agencies and recruitment companies. I have never received any response. Not even a phone call! I really don’t understand how they operate. Please could you explain how I can work effectively with recruiters in my field? I am part of a supported employment program for youth with developmental disabilities at Reena and my job coach suggested that I reach out to you with this question.

Signed: Recruiter Resistance

drawing of a person thinking about their career

Dear Resistance,

To help answer your question, I consulted with a leader in the industry, Raffi Toughlouian, Vice President at IFG – International Financial Group, as well as the job coaches from Reena’s Supported Employment Service (RSES) for youth with developmental disabilities. They have clarified some of the confusion around the role of recruiters in the job search process, and tips on how to work effectively with recruiters:

  • Understand the business. Recruiting firms may be known as placement/outplacement firms, search firms, “temp” agencies (for temporary work), or recruiting/consulting firms. The staff may be called recruiters or “head hunters.” They commonly field offers of work for many occupations. Some specialize in specific professionals especially IT, supply chain, administration, accounting/finance, architecture, financial services, healthcare, marketing, creative, information technology, engineering and executive positions. Fee structures vary for different companies – but in all cases, a recruiter is paid by the employer. THE AGENCY SHOULD NOT CHARGE YOU for work they do on your behalf. Remember that the recruiter is working for the employer. . Typically, on-site job coaching that is part of the supported employment programs is not allowed. There may be exceptions to this but I would check with the recruiter first. Off-site job coaching is an option for you to consider to help you with preparing for the interview and handling any on-the-job issues.
  • Be ready. Recruiting firms work quickly. You cannot bring in a job coach. Remember, the recruiter only makes money from their “client” (employer)” if you are placed. If the recruiter feels your resume and/or social media profiles meet the qualifications of their “client” (employer), you will be invited in to be interviewed and potentially tested for work that is technical or office related. This is usually done before the interview with the prospective employer. You can be recruited on LinkedIn. Your resume may be requested after an interview if at all.
  • Do your research. Often, successful recruiters specialize in one particular profession/area of expertise and are subject matter experts in those fields. Therefore, job-seekers should identify companies and positions they are specifically qualified for and seek out recruiters who work with them. This is especially true for upper management roles, as companies searching to fill these positions typically rely on an established relationship with a recruiter or recruiting firm. Note: You have the right to register with more than one search firm.
  • Build a partnership. When working with a recruiter, you are developing an important professional relationship. There has to be mutual respect between the candidate and the recruiter for this to be successful. If you are invited in for an interview and testing, you will be working with a recruiter, or a few recruiters, who are responsible for your file. Employers hire candidates who not only have the technical skills required to do the job, but candidates who they feel have a professional outlook that is compatible with the business culture. Same applies to recruiters. Follow up with them. They are your gatekeeper to your future boss. Be honest, state your employment conditions, salary expectations and what your goals are for your next role.
  • Be flexible to both permanent, part-time, contract and/or temporary assignments (refer to my case above). After you apply for jobs on the staffing agency’s site, follow up with the recruiter assigned to the job (usually at the bottom of the job posting) with a phone call to make sure he or she received your resume and application.

 

 To submit your questions and comments to this column IN CONFIDENCE, please email jsamuels@reena.org

ACCESSIBLE CANADA ACT: Candidates’ Forum

On Wednesday, September 25th at 7 pm, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and Reena are shining a spotlight on the passage of Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act (ACA), by hosting a Candidates’ Forum.  

This event will serve to educate participants about the importance of the act, its potential outcomes and provide an opportunity to hear directly from candidates on their parties’ ACA implementation strategies if elected to government.

The ACA passed unanimously by the House of Commons and received Royal Ascent on June 21, 2019. ACA legislation, once implemented, should ensure a barrier-free Canada in all areas of federal jurisdiction.

 

Please RSVP directly to rsolomon@hollandbloorview.ca

This 5-minute survey will inform the candidates of your opinions about A.C.A. – please consider completing it.

Reena Is In Compliance

The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services inspected (August 26 – September 5th) Reena for service-agency compliance with legislation and policy directives.  

Compliance is intended to provide assurances that adults with developmental disabilities are receiving quality standards of care, in a safe and secure environment. 

Reena is In Compliance!

Read Compliance letter HERE

Employment Advice Column: A Difficult Interview Question: “What happened at your last job”?

Sept 2019

Dear Joanna

I was fired from my job as a maintenance helper. As a job seekers with Autism, it took me a long time to finally get this job! After one year of hard work and being a dedicated employee, my manager suddenly told me that they were restructuring and either I continue on as a casual part time employee or I would be let go. I decided to quit as I was shocked and upset as I thought I was doing a great job. I had no indication to the contrary. I started to apply for jobs and have an interview next week. How do I respond to the interview question that is always asked: “What happened at your last job”?

Signed: Suddenly Fired

drawing of a person thinking about their career

Dear Suddenly,

I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you although it seems that the employer didn’t directly “fire you”. You were offered a “shift change” option which could be interpreted as being terminated. It’s a tricky situation. I appreciate you reaching out to me for advice for this very difficult interview question. I’ve consulted with the job coaches from the Reena Supported Employment Service and Summer Employment Transition supported employment programs for youth with developmental disabilities (including Intellectual and Autism), as well as some great advice from https://careersidekick.com/why-did-you-leave-your-last-job-answers/. They suggest the following ways in which to handle this challenging question at the job interview.

1. Remove the job from resume. You can consider doing this if you were at this company for a brief time or if it was a short-term contract. If you decide to remove the position from the resume, you will want to speak to the gap in time with confidence and transparency. Give consideration to highlighting other notable activities that would support your personal and professional growth; are you volunteering? did you enrol in a course? Engage in a self-study? Attend conferences or relevant events like job fairs? Volunteer? Travel? Learn a new language? The key is to make the gap relevant, valuable and active in both cyberspace and during the interview. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate how you continue to learn and grow in your career.

2. Add the job to resume. If you do decide to acknowledge this one-year experience on your resume, then be prepared to speak to it in concrete terms. First and foremost, it is important that your reason for leaving matches what your previous employer will say – if you decide to use your former boss as a reference. If you keep the experience in your resume, see if you can ask a former co-worker to be your reference or another supervisor from your former company. This might require a quick phone call to the human resources who sometimes can help you craft your story. Depending on the human resources team, this could be an opportunity to ask them if they will support your leaving story, within reason.

3. Job change. Sometimes, as in your case, you’re hired for a full time position and then it ends up that you are switched to casual. Also, I’ve known many situations when employees end up with doing a job that is nothing like the job description they were hired for. Your shift change is an acceptable reason for why you left your last job. You could respond to the question if asked: “I was hired for a full time maintenance helper position. My performance reviews and feedback from my boss were nothing but positive. But after one year, my position turned into casual; and I need full time work. This is a very convincing and acceptable answer, even if you left the position very soon after being hired. It make sense right?

4. Handling the interview. Do your homework in order to avoid a potentially awkward interview. Keep the response specific, short and transparent. Some examples include: Change in management, restructuring of roles, changed career path, skills were not being fully utilized and I need full time employment. Prepare (and practice) a positive response that can be discussed with ease. Don’t end with the leaving story. Emphasize your key learning, accomplishments and contributions to the department and the role in the year of employment. Do not try to hide from talking about the experience.

5. Keep it positive! Never badmouth your last employer, especially if you have been fired. Beware of the language. This is a red flag for interviewers. Emphasize that the last job was an important learning opportunity for you and stress how much you like your work and career! Take responsibility, and don’t sound angry or bitter about this past experience. Don’t make it sound like money is the only thing you care about. You need to show the interviewer that you’re focused, ready to come in and help them if they hire you! Regardless of what happened in the past.

6. Keep your answers clear and direct especially if you were fired, laid off or quit. Don’t use vague words like “I was let go.” This will make the interviewer suspicious and open up a ton of possible follow up questions. Talk about your dedication to the job and that you take your career seriously. Show appreciation of your past jobs (even the last one!). Even though you might be leaving it for a better role elsewhere, it doesn’t mean you should hate on the role. In fact, you should point out the value of the job and the lessons you learnt in that role.

Wishing you lots of success in your next job interview and I’m sure you will be successful!

To submit your questions for this column IN CONFIDENCE, please email jsamuels@reena.org

Western York Region Ontario Health Team Telephone Town Hall

Join Reena for a special telephone town hall with members of the Western York Region Ontario Health Team.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019 7 to 8 p.m.

We want to hear from you so that we create a local health care system that works for you!


Communities in Richmond Hill, Vaughan and King will automatically receive a phone call on their residential line.
To register a different or mobile number, please visit
mackenziehealth.ca/townhall

What is an Ontario Health Team?
The Province of Ontario introduced Ontario Health Teams to improve the delivery of health care and social services in a way that reflects the local needs of communities.
The Western York Region Ontario Health Team includes acute care, home and community care, primary care, long-term and residential care, palliative and hospice care providers that serve Vaughan, Richmond Hill, King and nearby communities.

More details – https://forms.mackenziehealth.ca/Western-York-Region-Ontario-Health-Team-Telephone

Reena Achieved Accreditation

Mazel Tov! Congratulations!

FOCUS Accreditation

Reena is delighted to announce it achieved its first accreditation award for the period of August 2019 – August 2023. This is a substantial endeavour and we are very proud of the hard work our staff, volunteers and Board put forward, reaching this achievement!

Reaching an accreditation status is an affirmation of the valuable work we do, supporting individuals with developmental disabilities, in their communities.

FOCUS Accreditation looks at all aspects of how an organization provides services: from how people are supported, to the effectiveness of the operations, across 195 standards. During July 2019 the accreditation team observed how services were provided, reviewed data, and collected input from various people who have a stake in the services being provided. 

Reena achieved an overall score of 98.9%.

Reena elected to be accredited by an impartial third-party organization, FOCUS Accreditation, to help us learn more about ourselves and to demonstrate our commitment to accountability and quality, as it relates to improving the lives of the people we support.

Reena would like to thank again its staff for the hard work and efforts they have put forward, in assisting us in reaching this momentous moment. We would also like to recognize the FOCUS accreditation review committee, as they clearly model the standards they measure.

We are pleased to join over 60 other agencies as an accredited agency.

FOCUS is an accreditation agency, developed in Canada, for Canada’s community of human services sector. 

Reena and Chai-Tikvah Join Hands – Again


Subscribing to the well known proverb, “two heads are better than one,” Reena – which provides housing and support services to community members with developmental disabilities, and Chai Tikvah – an organization that provides supportive housing and other counseling supports for adults living with mental illness – are putting their heads, and hearts, together for those they serve.

The merger between the two agencies, which is also something of a homecoming as Chai Tikvah was originally launched out of Reena in 1981, is designed to secure and grow the preeminent mental health services that Chai-Tikvah provides, while strengthening Reena’s capacity to support individuals they serve.

The synergy created by this move should know no bounds and countless benefits as both organizations share very similar beliefs as they both operate within a framework of Jewish culture and values.

The integration is scheduled to take place on October 1st 2019 when Ministry of Health funding will be moved to Reena.


“We are very excited by what lies ahead; excited for the many individuals in our community living with developmental disabilities and mental illness who will benefit from this merger,” says Bryan Keshen, President & CEO of Reena. “Working with Chai-Tikvah will allow Reena to further develop a continuum of care across health and social services. Reena serves many clients with mental health needs, and this integration will create a platform for Reena to expand these services over time.

“The synergy between the two agencies will allow Chai-Tikvah to utilize Reena’s expertise in supportive housing solutions, government relations and size of management to strengthen its agency and focus on service delivery,” says Rochelle Goldman-Brown, Executive Director, Chai Tikvah Foundation. “Both organizations believe that the shared vision will support the creation of an integrated approach to service, that will be well positioned for future success and increased supports for community. This coming together of two vital community organizations is truly a win-win for all.”

Employment Advice Column: Acing the Telephone Interview

Dear Joanna,

I never liked talking on the phone to friends or family. I prefer the face to face or through texting or apps. As a person on the spectrum and it’s so much easier to communicate this way!  However, I have applied for a job in an office,  and am scheduled for a pre-screening interview on the phone! I’m so nervous to chat with the interviewer. How do I handle this type of interview?

Signed: Chatter Fear

drawing of a person thinking about their career

Dear Chatter,

The job coaches who help our youth with developmental disabilities in our supported employment programs (RSES and SET) agree that the telephone interviews can definitely be intimidating! It’s a quick way for employers to pre-screen and decide whether or not to move to the next steps in the hiring process – the face-to-face. I completely understand your concerns as one of the challenges of phone interviews is the lack of body language which can count for over 55 percent of the total message communicated (www.brainhunter.com).

During the phone interview, recruiters may review your resume (and it may be the first time!) and look for accuracy, gaps and clarification of your experience and skills. Also, they can check for professionalism, voice, language, tone, vocabulary and personality! This can be quite overwhelming. But if you prepare, the phone call can be a lot easier for you. Here are some tips from our leading job coaches on how to prepare for the telephone interview from recruiters as well as www.targetjobs.col.uk:

  1. Research the company and review the job description
  2. Make sure to confirm a date and time for the phone interview with the employer. And double check that you have a working phone line.
  3. Find a quiet location without any noise or other distractions like music, the TV, crowds of people. Do not call in public areas like restaurants or cafes. Have a glass of water just in case your mouth goes dry but don’t eat or drink while talking on the phone. Shut off all your other phones other than the one that is used for the interview.
  4. Bring a pen, paper, laptop, a copy of your resume, the job description and any notes that you have taken in your research. Take notes during the interview that you can refer back to later on (especially if you are invited for the in person interview).
  5. Ask a friend or relative and/or your job coach to help you rehearse for the interview. They’ll give you feedback on how you across on the phone. You can record yourself so you can listen to see if you are speaking too quickly or too quietly in order to improve.
  6. Request accommodations in advance – before the telephone interview. Discuss this with the job coach from your employment program. If you would like the job coach to attend the interview, you may or may not need to advise the interviewer. But if you require an afternoon time slot for the interview or if you need a special phone with higher volume, discuss this with the interviewer in advance.
  7. Write out the responses to the most commonly asked phone interview questions (like a script): “Why do you want to work for us”, “What are your salary expectations”, “Tell me about your experiences, your education, and your skills that will help you with the job”, “What do you know about our company”, “What are your short term and long term goals”, “On a scale of 1 – 10, how would you rank your skill level with (fill in the blank).
  8. Prepare questions to ask the employer. But remember – this is not the time for a discussion about the details of the job like salary, training and start dates. If you progress to the next stage, you will have a chance to understand the company better.
  9. Be professional. Answer the phone professionally – “Good morning, Joanna Samuels speaking” is an example. Address the interviewer as Miss, Mrs., or Mr. unless invited to use his or her first name. Be polite. Be enthusiastic. But don’t start chatting like you are talking to a friend. Listen carefully is important.
  10. The interviewer can hear it through the phone.

 

 

To submit your questions for this column IN CONFIDENCE, please email Joanna Samuels, Reena’s Employment Resource Supervisor at jsamuels@reena.org